I remember when I was younger I would get so super excited when I received a little red envelope. There was always only one fabulous thing inside…CASH! I didn’t realize then, what the significance was I just knew that a lot of envelopes meant a lot of money. In my mind all good things came in little red packages.
There is a lot of symbolism in Asian culture and as I got older I started wondering what the significance was behind the little red envelopes. Red is a symbol of good luck and is a color that is indicative to warding off evil spirits. The red envelopes come in a different sizes and hundreds of different designs. There is also a sense of anonymity when using red envelopes. The amount is secret and when you have a bunch of them so is who the envelope came from eliminating any monetary comparisons amongst family members. It totally eliminates who gave who what and how much? It’s appropriate and represents good fortune to give new crisp bills. Because numerology is so important with Asian culture you want to avoid giving an amount that has the number 4 in it and give amounts that have an 8 in the equasion.
Here are a few questions I received about red envelopes?
Does it have to be a red envelope? I’m a bit Americanized and want to know if I can use a plain envelope? I would stick with tradition especially if you are Asian. Seriously you can get like 50 little red envelopes in Chinatown for $1.00. Asians are super resourceful so ask your relatives….THEY KNOW!
I’m going to a Vietnamese wedding and the family said just give a red envelope, do I do this instead of a gift? Yes. The red envelope replaces the gift and is generally preferred. People that aren’t familiar with this tradition have a tendency to underestimate the meaning of giving money. As meaningful as it would be to the giver to go and personally pick out a gift the gesture of a red envelope will have more meaning to the bride and groom. It’s easier for everyone involved and believe me, money is much more meaningful than another toaster or a gift card to an expensive store that the bride and groom don’t frequent anyways.
I don’t want to offend anyone so how much do I put in a red envelope? If this isn’t wedding related but for a special occasion then I would start at $25.00 if this envelope is for someone under 18. If this is for a wedding I would start at $50. If the couple is family or super close friends than I would definitely double up. Also here’s a tip. If you are giving $100 just remember that a crisp single bill looks better than 5 $20 dollar bills.
Do I put anything else in the envelope besides money? Cash is generally all their is room for.
How simple it would be if everyone got on board with giving little red envelopes. If you have a question you would like answered please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org