Red packets are often associated with Chinese culture. Hongbao or Ang Pao as they are traditionally called, these red envelopes are commonly used by Chinese people in various major life occasions. Giving out red packets is more than just for the sake of handing it out to the intended receivers. It is an art in itself, which also involves understanding the right way of giving it to someone in a more empathic and social way.
When are these red packets usually given?
There are many red packet printing companies in Singapore. It is more in demand as a gift, especially during major Chinese occasions. Among these said occasions where red packets or enveloped are distributed include Chinese New Year, birthdays, or weddings. Sometimes, these red packets are also given when visiting a sick friend or relative, or when attending a funeral.
At first look, a red packet has really nothing special in terms of its usual design. It is simply an envelope where you put money inside and given to its intended recipient. These packets are usually red, which symbolizes good fortune and luck among Chinese people. However, there are also packets with different colors (e.g., white) that are given depending on the occasion (e.g., funerals).
Ang Paos as collectors’ items
Apparently, there are so-called Ang Pao collectors who are mostly online. In fact, there are available Ang Paos with various assortments of colors other than red. These unconventional Ang Paos make them a good collector’s item. For one thing, a lot of Ang Paos being sold feature various patterns and designs that are way beyond the usual packets.
Some manufacturers use fancy materials, including leather, satin, and other types of paper in making these envelopes. On the other hand, some even use a complicated process, including UV treatment and embroidery among a few. A luxury brand even requests to customize their packets like adding crystal embellishments as part of their branding.
This modern twist on these traditional envelopes is also used as corporate giveaways. Among customers include Singapore-based banks and other types of businesses. Having said that, a lot of companies, especially those based in areas with Chinese background, use Ang Paos/hongbao as a corporate giveaway to their customers.
The art of giving and receiving
As mentioned, giving and receiving these traditional money envelopes is an art. Even how you literally give and receive these envelopes requires a proper way of doing it. For one, the envelope, or any gifts for that matter, should be presented using both hands. Likewise, the recipient should receive the gift with both hands as well.
Once you receive a red envelope during special occasions, you are expected not to open it in front of the person who gave it. During weddings, you can open the envelope the moment you receive it, count the amount, and record it on the gift register. Apparently, this is also a part of wedding traditions among the Chinese.
Red packets have been around for so many years, thanks to our Chinese friends. It is commonly used to give out money in a somehow ceremonial way. However, times have changed – and so how people perceive these traditional envelopes. For one, these items have already become a collectors’ item and also used as corporate giveaways.
Nevertheless, these traditional envelopes will be here to stay and continuously be part of our lives, whether you have Chinese lineage or none.