|Source: Gift Something blog post. Survey results for monetary gifts during Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. Values are in Hong Kong dollars.|
Gift Something, a one-stop premium online retailer in Hong Kong, has conducted an online survey to find out more about the custom of gifting red envelopes (Editor's note: called angpow or red packets in Singapore, and lai see or red pockets in Hong Kong) during Chinese New Year. Traditionally, these are handed out to single people for luck by married family members during the first 15 days of the lunar year, but may also be given by employers to employees and to people who have provided services year-round such as security guards.
Gift Something has found that the tradition remains strong throughout Asia, noting that 98% of respondents participated in gifting red envelopes to others, most notably to children, immediate family members and close friends. The remaining 2% still keep up the festive tradition of extending blessings and well wishes to others as well as receiving red envelopes; however, they do not gift red envelopes to others as it is not customary for them to do so before marriage.
The survey also found that expatriates of non-Chinese heritage living in Asia also participate in gifting red envelopes during Chinese New Year. Gift Something added that individuals of Chinese heritage gift red envelopes with higher denominations than those of non-Chinese heritage, and the younger generation within this group receives almost five times more red envelopes from their elders.
Parents in Hong Kong gift red envelopes with an average value of HK$100 to HK$200 to their own children and grandchildren. Close and immediate family and friends are most likely to receive up to HK$50 in their red envelopes. The most common value, however, is HK$20. A majority of Gift Something's respondents give small denomination red envelopes to relatives, family friends, young adults and children. Whilst it is customary to gift red envelopes to the younger generation, the survey found that 10% of respondents also gifted red envelopes the other way round, to their elders.
The custom of gifting red envelopes has evolved throughout the years with this gesture being extended to security personnel in Hong Kong. Nearly all (92%) respondents gave red envelopes to the security personnel of their buildings, a quarter of whom gifting as much as HK$100 or more to each of the security staff.
Despite being in full-time employment, almost a quarter of respondents have never received a red envelope from their peers or superiors during Chinese New Year. However, the majority of the remaining 75% of respondents who receive a lucky red envelope during the festive season are gifted on average HK$100 from their superiors.
In Singapore, Westgate mall has also shared information in a similar layout on Facebook, crediting mustsharenews.com on the graphic. Westgate's guide is family-oriented however.
|Source: Westgate Facebook page, credited to mustsharenews.com. Values are in Singapore dollars.|
At the time of writing, HK$1 = S$0.182594, or S$1 = HK$5.4766.