Filipinos have adapted the Chinese tradition of giving out angpaos or red envelopes during the holiday season.
As the Chinese Lunar New Year approaches, do you know what to do with the angpaos you got?
Angpao or ampao?
According to Bahay Tsinoy, a museum dedicated to promote Chinese-Filipino culture, the proper term for the red envelope is Ang pao as it literally means red packet in Hokkein.
Ampao, on the other hand, is another Hokkien term that refers to hollow or puffed rice crispies.
Based on Chinese tradition, giving out angpaos during festivities, especially on New Year’s Day, is considered lucky. It signifies the transfer of wealth from generations to generations.
Today, angpaos are given as token of gratitude, love, and appreciation.
Angpao and the Chinese New Year
When gifting money during the Chinese New Year, it is advisable to be handed out inside an angpao. Red means luck, happiness and prosperity.
Giving money in white envelopes is considered a jinx as in Chinese custom, exchanging white envelopes with money are done in funerals.
The bills placed inside an angpao must be clean and crisp and in even number. The amount should not include 4 as its pronunciation in Chinese sounds like the word death. 8 and 9 are considered lucky.
The Cantonese and Hokkien Chinese gives out angpaos in pairs in the belief that good things come in pairs.
What to do after
Some believes that throwing the angpaos you received means throwing away luck.
It is better kept inside your wallet or the places where you keep your money as it attracts good fortune.
It is also best to recycle your angpaos or give it to other people like sharing your best wished and good luck to others.