Giving Ang Pow although looks very routine in the Chinese community however there is certain tips and rules in Ang Pow giving to be understand to prevent awkward or misunderstanding situation.
No white Envelopes
Don’t use white color envelopes to deliver as Ang Pow in occasion of celebration. Colors have different meanings in every culture and ethnics, some might take white color as meaning of purity however the white color envelopes in Chinese culture is meant for occasions of bereavement and condolence. It is known as pak kum envelopes or bó jīn 帛金, which contains cash and was given to bereaved families at funerals to help pay for funeral expenses.
Giving Ang Pow with Auspicious Number Amount
In Chinese culture, Even numbers are considered more auspicious as odd numbers denote loneliness.
The Number 2 can be a favorable number in Chinese as “good things always comes in pair”.
Numbers such as 8,88,188,888 etc contains number 8 in which the pronunciation of eight in Chinese, bā (八) have similarity as the pronunciation as fā (發), which means “fortune”, or “prosperity”. Hence, it is always favourable to give Ang Pow money amount with such numbers.
The Number 9 have the pronunciation of jiŭ (九) in Chinese, which have same pronunciation as jiǔ (久), which means “Long Lasting” or “longevity”.
However, try to avoid number 4 such as 4, 44, 444 or any other combination with number of 4. Number 4 have the pronunciation of sì (四) in Chinese, which almost similar to pronunciation of sǐ (死) in Chinese, which means “death”. Anyways, Ang Pow is given based on giver’s afford, is not a must to give Ang Pow with a specific cash amount.
Get to Bank early
It is favorable to place newly printed banknotes in Ang Pow during Chinese new year as it denotes a new beginning. Although most banks will ensure they have sufficient supplies of brand new banknotes in their banks prior to the festive seasons, however demand can be overwhelming, and may run out of brand new banknotes weeks before the festive seasons, especially banknotes with lower denomination, such as 1,2,5,10,20 notes.
Get to bank early for brand new banknotes, and get hold to some brand new empty Ang Pow, which usually distributed by certain banks for free at these time.
When to Open those Envelopes
Like Christmas presents will have a note “don’t open until Christmas” while Birthday present have a note “don’t open until birthday”, there is no specific day when to open an Ang Pow. However Ang Pow still consider a monetary gift, hence unlike other non monetary present, it is still considered rude to open in front of everyone while receiving. It may create Awkward situation as Ang Pow is given based on own effort, and give impression to others that one is stingy or showoff based on the amount.
The main Aim of receiving an Ang Pow is not to earn Money, but receive a blessing from others. Once receiving an Ang Pow, try to keep it in pocket until visitors is not around, or just let it surprise you while opening it after new year.
Always remember, out of courtesy, avoid opening the Ang Pow in front of the relatives or visitors.
Coins ? anyone ?
There is no expected amount to give for an Ang Pow. It is given based on your best financial effort. However sometimes it is to avoid giving coins in Ang Pow, as people can be judgemental on amount given. The amount might be easily judged by the weight of coin filled Ang Pow before it is open.
Other Ang Pow occasions
When invited for a special occasions, such as wedding or wedding reception of a Chinese couple, it is part of the etiquette to give Ang Pow as a blessing and help up the newly wedded couple. The amount will depends on the giver effort and financial standing. The amount should not to appears too stingy or too showing off.
However, in some wedding of the wealthy origins, the head of the ceremony may clearly stat that no need to give Ang Pow. Hence some will practice the etiquette of give Ang Pow unless specify not to, to prevent awkwardness.