Hong Bao红包 : 压岁钱 yāsuì qián

A red envelope or red packet (word by word, it is Hong Bao in Mandarin 红包). It is a monetary gift which is given during holidays or special occasions and of course, the Chinese New Year. The word 压岁钱 yā suì qián means "money warding off evil spirits", and was believed to protect the elderly from sickness and death.

Red envelopes are mainly presented at social and family gatherings such as Chinese weddings. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. The amount of money contained in the envelope usually ends with an even digit, in accordance with Chinese beliefs; for instance 88 and 168 are both lucky numbers.

During Chinese New Year, hong bao are typically given to the unmarried by the married, regardless of age. Traditionally, the red envelope is not supposed to be opened until the Chinese New Year festivities are over; otherwise, bad luck would befall the recipient for the whole year.

This is Singapore's largest hongbao lantern ever made and is displayed at the HarbourFront Centre, North Atrium. This 20 feet, nine-layer lantern is made entirely from hongbaos. 
Photo Credit: Neo (


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