The Chinese New Year ang pao tradition favors lucky numbers in 2024

Photo courtesy of The HK HUB

As Chinese New Year approaches, a common exchange red envelopesknown as ang fellbecomes the focal point holidays.

These monetary gifts, which are traditionally given to children and younger family members, symbolize good luck and serve to ward off evil spirits.

The art of giving ang pao is steeped in tradition and superstition, with certain numbers believed to bring more luck than others. In Chinese culture, the number four is avoided because it sounds similar to the word for death. Therefore, it is considered inauspicious to include amounts like 400 or 4000 baht in these red packets. Instead, auspicious numbers signifying luck and prosperity are encouraged.

The numbers six and eight are particularly lucky in Chinese tradition. Six (六, liù) represents refinement and is thought to ensure that life runs smoothly, while eight (八, bā) resembles the word for wealth and is believed to bring financial success. Therefore amounts like 600, 2000 or 8000 baht are considered extremely favorable. Even combinations of these numbers, such as 16 or 36, are acceptable because they contain a lucky six.

As for physical currency, it is customary to give new, clean notes. In Thailand, the 100 baht note is preferred because it is the only denomination that is red in color, which is in keeping with the theme of happiness and prosperity associated with the color. Older, crumpled bills or coins are not usually used for ang pao.

When choosing an envelope, it is also important to take into account the zodiac animal of the year. For 2024, the year of the dragon, envelopes with the image of this creature are considered the most appropriate. This not only increases the auspiciousness of the gift, but also reflects the giver’s thoughtfulness and good manners, Sanook reported.

Although the act of giving ang pao is filled with cultural meaning, it is important to remember that the value of these gifts should not cause financial strain. The spirit of Chinese New Year focuses on family unity and honoring ancestors rather than the monetary value of gifts exchanged. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to adjust the amounts given according to your own financial situation, ensuring that the holiday remains a joyous occasion for all involved.

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