The Chinese have a custom of using Red Packets (with money inside) as a gift for special occasions. A Red Packet is a rectangular (sometimes square) paper envelope usually red in color, and often with auspicious wordings or pictures printed on it. The Red Packet (红包：hóng bāo) is also sometimes known as Ang Pow/Ang Pao or (利是: lì shì) (or pronounced as ‘Lai See’ in Cantonese).
During Chinese New Year， the elders will give Red Packets to the unmarried younger folks as part of the festive celebration customs. Read more about Chinese New Year Customs. Red Packets are also given on wedding dinners to the married couple, and sometimes as gifts on birthdays.
The act of giving Red Packets is a joyous one. It symbolizes the sharing of happiness and the giving of well-wishes.
The Red Packet originated from 压岁钱 yā suì qián which were copper coin threaded together with a red string in the Qing Dynasty. As printing became more common, simple red envelopes were printed with auspicious Chinese phrases. Today, the customs of giving and receiving Red Packets are still practiced. The designs on these little red envelopes get more and more fanciful and innovative every year.
Current Designs of Red Packets
Nowadays, Red Packets don’t have to conform to only red-coloured envelopes and bold golden writings.
Brands on Red Packets
Chinese New Year being the biggest festive season for the Chinese, many brands and companies see this as an opportunity to do a little marketing, providing their self-designed Red Packets for their customers.
Festive with No boundaries
Chinese New Year is celebrated regardless of religion or race.
Roaring Tigers on Envelopes
Very often, Chinese Zodiac animals appear on Red Packet designs. Below we will feature some red packets of the Chinese Zodiac animal – Tiger.
Cute Cartoon Designs
Since most of the Red Packets are given to the younger generations during Chinese New Year, many Red Packets are designed with colourful and cute characters to appeal to them.
Animated Ang Pow
The creativity of Red Packet Designs are limitless! Look at these animated Red Packets in action.
Unique Red Packet Designs
It is simply impossible to show you all the fancy and interesting Red Packet designs out there. For both kids and adults each year, one of the fun comes from seeing and collecting new and unique Red Packets.
Here are some not so traditional designs:
Culture of Chinese wishes you a Happy New Year! May you receive lots of Red Packets this festive season!