So, we all know that ang bao is red. It contains money. It is thin. Kids love it. Adults love it when they receive it, but hate it when they have to give them out.
What else do you know about this red packet that we’ve been using so often?
The colour of the packet means good luck
There’s a reason for it being red (to those companies making ang baos that aren’t ang—take note!): it means good luck and will ward off evil spirits. And no, gold isn’t a substitute for red, nor does it make you huat arh.
It should always end with an even digit
It can be 2 cents, 20 cents, 2 dollars, 20 dollars or 200 dollars, but never end it in odd number. Odd-numbered money gifts are traditionally associated with funerals instead.
Ang bao started out as a cloth
In the past, people thread coins with a red string, but as printing becomes mainstream, it becomes cheaper to just use a red packet.
It’s not just used in Chinese culture
In Cambodia and Vietnam, they used ang baos as well. In Korea and Japan, they use a white packet instead. Peh bao?
Ang bao shouldn’t have the digit 4
Because 4 means “death” in Mandarin.
Green envelope is an adapted from ang bao
Malay Muslims in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia uses the green envelope, which is adapted from the Chinese culture. After all, we’re a multicultural country!
In Cambodia, it can contain a cheque
Wah…how cool is that?
New notes are preferred over old notes
No one knows why, but it’s just a tradition. Now you know why there’re long queues in banks nowadays, eh?
You can now send an electronic ang bao
Launched by DBS and known as digital Ang Bao, it’s like a typical bank transfer…with a fancy name.
The reason why coins should not be given is…
…that the receiver will be able to gauge how much it contains. No kidding.