Do's and Don'ts of Giving Red Envelope this Chinese New Year 2024

Do's and Don'ts of Giving Red Envelope this Chinese New Year 2024
It’s that time of the year again when splashes of red and gold seem to adorn every street in Manila and Melbourne in preparation for Chinese New Year. 

Stands are popping up left and right selling everything from little token dragon accessories, to Chinese calligraphy banners to gifts such as tea, sweets, and of course: a red lucky envelope (aka ang pao, hong bao, or lai see, as most say). Read on to learn all the dos and don'ts when it comes to receiving red packets.

To some, giving and receiving ang pao may be second nature, but to others, especially those new to Chinese culture, it can be a source of stress as there is a certain ang pao code of conduct that should be respected.

Do's and Don'ts of Giving Red Envelope this Chinese New Year 2024
Image: Angela Roma/pexels.com 

To help you avoid any social faux pas, we have put together a quick do’s and don’ts list to ensure that you breeze through Chinese New Year gaffe-free.

1. Do not give or receive ang pao with just one hand.

2. Do hold the red envelope with two hands when giving and receiving.

3. Do not have your children give ang pao to anyone.

4. Do follow the big-to-small or senior-to-junior rule. For example: parents to kids, bosses to employees, and married couples to single, younger relatives.

5. Do not give multiple notes in one packet.

6. Do give either a single bill or two packets with one bill each.

7. Do not give increments of four or odd numbers.

8. Do keep the amount to even numbers. The number 4 is considered an unlucky number as it sounds like the Chinese word for “death”.

9. Do not give coins or crumpled-up notes.

10. Do give a crisp bill fresh from the bank. We suggest going to the bank a few days early to avoid last-minute queues.

11. Do not check the amount in front of the receiver before giving it to him/her.

12. Do have the different denominations housed in differently designed packets. Ang pao amounts will vary depending on how well you are acquainted with the receiver so staying organized will make it easy for you to know exactly how much you are giving.

13. Do not open your ang pao in front of the person giving it to you.

14. Do wait until he or she leaves to open your packet. Opening it in front of them will make you seem too eager to see how much you received.

15. Do not give your ang pao after the Chinese New Year celebrations.

16. Do start giving ang pao on the first day of the Lunar New Year (9th of February) and finish on the 15th day.

17. Do choose the unique design customized ang pao if you want to be extra, to give a lasting impression. You are encouraging the receiving to keep the envelope and reuse it for the next Chinese New Year!

18. For practical reasons, DO choose to give virtual ang pao to your family using online gift cards - perfect for those who don't carry cash anymore. 

Do's and Don'ts of Giving Red Envelope this Chinese New Year 2024

These 18 Ang Pao rules should keep you in everyone’s good graces. While most of the ang pao you find will be red, the most auspicious color, feel free to have fun with the more colorful envelopes available.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

* This story was originally published in January 2020 and updated in February 2024.


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  1. Thanks for sharing dos and don'ts ito pla un , learnings na nman ito about ang pao ❤️😍


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