The Power of Red Envelopes: 3 TaboosJan 22, 2023
As we hop into the Year of the Rabbit, let's discover some taboos about 红包 hóng bāo "red envelopes," a staple of Chinese New Year celebrations.红包 is a traditional way of giving money during the Chinese New Year, and it's not just any old envelope – it's red! That's because red is a symbol of good luck and is said to keep evil spirits at bay.
Now, let me take you on a little history lesson. The origins of 红包 can be traced back to the Han dynasty (202 BCE – 9 AD). Back then, elders would fill these envelopes with coins and give them to the young ones as a sign of good luck. But as time went on, things evolved, and people started filling these envelopes with paper money. There are some taboos you should know about when it comes to giving 红包.
1️⃣ Avoid 4
You should avoid giving amounts of money that contain the number four. This is because 四 sì "four" sounds similar to 死 sǐ "death," which is unlucky. So, avoid giving $140 or $400 – they're a no-no!
2️⃣ Keep It Even
Another thing to keep in mind is that even amounts of money are luckier than odd amounts. It's considered unlucky to give an odd amount of money in Chinese culture, so stick to even amounts such as $200 or $220.
3️⃣ Avoid 8
Lastly, don't give amounts that contain the number eight, which is usually considered a lucky number in Chinese culture. But wait for it, 八 bā "eight" sounds like 掰 bāi "bye", which could be interpreted as a negative symbol of never seeing the other person again. So, let's avoid giving $88 or $888 since we don't want anyone thinking we're saying goodbye forever!
红包 is a wonderful way to spread happiness and blessings during the Chinese New Year festivities. By taking note of these taboos, we can ensure that the gift of money is given with positive vibes and good luck. So, let's give our red envelopes with confidence and a nod to Chinese cultural traditions. Have fun and enjoy the season!
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