Red Pocket Etiquette for Lunar New Year

Bamboo bowls, bamboo plates, Celebration, Lunar new year, Traditions -

Red Pocket Etiquette for Lunar New Year

Happy Year of the Tiger!

I’m sure we all felt a little disappointed with the start of 2022 so with the Lunar New Year, we get another go at this for a fresh start. I hope you all got your cleaning done yesterday. Now’s the time to celebrate, eat some New Year’s food and for us married folks to give out red pockets. As much as I miss being on the receiving end, it’s always so nice to be able to bring some joy when we’re giving out red pockets to the little ones and those not so little ones fully enjoying single life. And like many things with Lunar New Year, there’s specific ways of doing things, or traditions to follow, including how we give and receive red pockets.

Close up of tiger themed red pockets in a child's hands.


Red Pocket Etiquette 

Give 1 pair of red pockets to each child (or anyone not married that’s younger than you), in Chinese culture happy celebrations use even numbers. That’s why we don’t give out individual red pockets. Odd numbers are usually reserved for somber events like funerals. In the red pocket should also be a new bill and not an old bill or a coin.

When you hand the red pockets out, you should also use both hands and say an auspicious saying. A popular one is “Gong Hei Fat Choi” which translates to “Wish You Good Fortune” or more literally “Hope You Get Rich”. (If you haven’t watched Ronny Chieng’s Netflix special that explains this, you need to watch it now. It's so hilarious because it’s so true.) The receiver should also respond with an auspicious saying instead of saying a standard thank you and receive the red pockets with both hands. And this gets repeated with everyone you see for the New Year’s celebration. 

Alright, time to go spread some joy with my stack of red pockets!

xx Heidi (signature)

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