The annual Chinese New Year is just around the corner and for mums and dads especially, it’s time to whip out the red packets (aka Hong Bao) and frantically-stuff-your-hard-earned-money in. But really, jokes aside, giving out Hong baos is considered an important tradition in many Asian cultures and households. Your children might be familiar with this practice and would eagerly await the extra pocket money, year after year.
Hongbao Receiver No More: Basic Rules For The Married To Giving Red Packets
Well, so now you have become a hongbao giver instead of a receiver! With so many rules and customs to follow, it can be confusing especially for newlyweds who are handing out red packets for the first time ever. But don’t stress just yet, we’re here to help!
- Is there a minimum amount?
While the saying goes “it’s the thought that counts”, and that it’s not wrong to give a $2 red packet, a hierarchy still exists in terms of how much you should pack in a red packet for various people. (We will share it below)
But as a rule of thumb, do avoid giving $4 and amounts with odd numbers such as $5 and $7 as they are considered to be inauspicious.
It is encouraged to give even-number amounts as good things are seen to come in pairs—signifying good luck. While $4 is an even number, it is an exception. You are advised to avoid it because the word “four” sounds like “death” in its Chinese character.
And always remember: go with what you are comfortable with giving without having to empty your own pockets!
- Look at marital status, not age
It can be tricky when it comes to giving red packets to those who are older than you. But always remember, it’s about the marital status, not age.
If you are married, you are expected to give red packets to those unmarried, even if they are years beyond your own. These include your unmarried uncles and aunties, even siblings.
On the contrary, this rule does not apply to giving red packets to your own parents and/or in-laws as it is a display of filial piety, and to thank them for raising you.
- Who else should/can I give?
While not necessary, husbands can opt to give their wife an ang bao to show appreciation, and vice versa. The amount however, varies, because it is well tricky and… you can’t put a price on love, right?
And for those who work tirelessly even on important occasions, such as our migrant workers, cleaners, maids and maids of relatives, you can also offer a red packet as a token of appreciation.
Chinese New Year Ang Bao Rates 2020 by ‘Hierarchy’
While a $2 or even $6 red packet might cut it for a friend’s child, it is not what you would expect to give to your own nephews and nieces.
Do note that there is no one-size-fits-all guide as every family’s tradition and situation is different.
Here is a general guide to Ang Bao rates 2020 before you start stuffing in the cash!
- Parents, in-laws and grandparents
It is common practice to give higher amounts of ang baos to parents and grandparents out of respect, closeness and gratitude.
Average amount: $88 – $288
- Your children / grandchildren
When giving your children ang baos, the amount varies from individual—some parents think that giving too much would spoil the child. To each his own.
Average amount: $10 – $100
- Unmarried siblings
While some think it is unnecessary to give their older siblings ang bao, it is all about the thought, and if you are able to afford it.
Average amount: $60 – $100
- Cousins, nephews and nieces
Here, it really depends on how close you are with your cousins or even nephews and nieces. While the average amount is between $10 to $30, we have witnessed some who give $50 to even the thousands.
Average amount: $10 – $30
- Your friend’s children / other not-so-close people
It is considered okay to give even a $2 ang bao to your friend’s children or random kids. If you think that is too little, or if it is a matter of “saving face”, consider giving $6 onwards—avoid the $4 red packet.
Average amount: $2 – $8 (avoid $4)
- Maid / public workers
While it is not necessary to send an ang bao their way, it is a nice gesture to thank them for their efforts—and could perhaps brighten your own day too!
Average amount: $6 – $10
We hope that this guide on Ang bao rates 2020 will help you better plan on CNY red packet expenses. Here at theAsianparent, we wish everyone a very prosperous Lunar New Year!
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