We’re very excited to partner with Copaperie Hong Kong this week. Copaperie is a fine social stationery brand recently launched in Hong Kong.
To celebrate the grand opening of its online shop, four collections of stylish red envelopes are available at www.copaperie.com. SweetP readers can use discount code “lovesweetp” to receive an exclusive 20% off any purchase above HK$300 between now and Jan 27, 2014.
Red Envelopes Etiquette for Chinese New Year
by Chloe Suen
With Chinese New Year fast approaching, newspaper stands around Hong Kong are decorated with splashes of bold color from shiny cash envelopes in red, gold, or purple. The festival is a rare occasion for all the cosmopolites to embrace the city’s traditional side and hand out some cash. So, what is really behind this multi-million dollars tradition?
Shown here: Copaperie Hong Kong’s cash envelope “Papi” in collection “Berlin”.
The ritual of giving cash sealed in red envelopes (lai see in Cantonese and hóng bāo in Mandarin) is an important part of Chinese culture. It originated as a way to protect younglings from evil spirits and has now evolved into a way to wish others good fortune in in a new year. Local practices vary ever slightly and Hong Kong has its own etiquette when it comes to red envelopes giving; here are some tips for SweetP readers in Hong Kong:
The ritual of giving red envelopes occurs during the first 15 days of Chinese New Year (for 2014, the Year of the Horse, it goes from January 31 to February 14). They are given by those with seniority, regardless of marital status, to younger loved ones and subordinates. Those who are married are expected to give to children and singletons in general. Staff at places of service usually expect red envelopes from customers as gratuity.
Shown here: “Cape Town” & “Damascus” collections
TIPS FOR THE MARRIEDS AND THE PARENTS
You are expected to give red envelopes to anyone you come across during the first 15 days of Chinese New Year. It is customary to give two red envelopes together to symbolize your union, especially if the receiving party knows both of you. Educate your children not to ask for red envelopes directly and not to open them in front of the givers.
Give red envelopes to people’s children even if they are absent.
TIPS FOR THE SINGLETONS
Give red envelopes to children of loved ones and to subordinates at work. When given red envelopes, it is auspicious to receive it joyously even if it makes you feel like a kid!
Shown here: 1) Athens collection; 2) berlin collection
Red envelopes are traditionally red in color and decorated with auspicious writing and symbol. In recent years, they come in other auspicious colors such as gold, yellow (historically used only by the kings), and purple (historically used by the royal court and the wealthy). Modern red envelopes come in all colors and size, so try new things! Never use unlucky colors such as black, grey, and white. Never use regular envelopes.
The amount of money you put in a red envelope is a personal choice. Traditionally, you give a higher amount to those you are close to. You can set a standard amount (let say $20 or $50) and prepare a big pile using one style of cash envelope; then prepare some more in higher amounts using different envelopes for easy identification. It is customary to use new bank notes. Do not give coins, amount ending in odd number, or any amount containing “4”.
There are always exceptions to the rules and different family traditions. When in doubt, just keep in mind that red envelopes bring good luck to both the givers and the receivers, so the more the merrier! Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Hey Fat Choy!
About Copaperie Hong Kong
Bold color, playful patterns, and luxurious paper are the essence of Copaperie Hong Kong. Launched in Hong Kong in 2013, the brand offers an exquisite line of social stationery designed for the modern and culturally inspired individual with unparalleled taste, a love for tradition, and no room for boredom.