Chinese New Year ang pao tradition favors lucky numbers in 2024

Photo courtesy of The HK HUB

As Chinese New Year approaches, the customary exchange of red envelopes, known as ang pao, becomes a focal point of the festivities.

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

The art of giving ang pao is steeped in tradition and superstition, with certain numbers believed to bring more fortune than others. In Chinese culture, the number four is avoided as it sounds similar to the word for death. Therefore, it’s considered inauspicious to include amounts like 400 or 4,000 baht in these red packets. Instead, auspicious numbers that signify good luck and prosperity are encouraged.

The numbers six and eight are particularly lucky in Chinese tradition. Six (六, liù) represents smoothness 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. Hence, amounts like 600, 2,000, or 8,000 baht are considered extremely favourable. Even combinations of these numbers, such as 16 or 36, are acceptable since they contain the lucky six.

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In terms of the physical currency, it is customary to give new, crisp banknotes. In Thailand, the 100 baht note is preferred as it is the only denomination that is red, aligning with the theme of luck and prosperity associated with the colour. Older, crumpled bills or coins are typically not used for ang pao.

When selecting an envelope, it is also essential to consider the zodiac animal of the year. For 2024, the Year of the Dragon, envelopes featuring this creature are deemed most appropriate. This not only enhances the auspiciousness of the gift but also reflects the giver’s attentiveness and good manners, reported Sanook.

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

China NewsThailand News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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