Monday, February 04, 2008

Ang Paw: Chinese New Year

Chinese society, a red envelope or red pocket, called Ang Pao or Ang Paw is a monetary gift which is given during holidays or special occasions. Red envelopes are often presented at social and family gatherings such as Chinese weding or on holidays such as Chinese New Year. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck. The money amount contained usually begins with an even digit, as odd numbered money gifts are associated with funerals. At weddings, the amount offered is usually intended to cover the cost of the attendees as well as help the newly married couple.
During Chinese New Year, red envelopes are typically given to the unmarried by the married, regardless of age. The new year of Chinese is coming and the best thing which unforgettable is Ang Paw or Te Ear. Present youth always hopes and are happy with some a mount of money in Ang Paw. Chinese people are very fond of red color, as a saying said ‘to be dying for only red’. According Chinese’s believe, the red is a symbol of good luck, happiness, prosperity and harmony for Chinese. Ang Paw is delivered with best wishes from the elders to younger. The money amount in Ang Paw both makes young children happy and is the most important gift which reflects, traditionally, the best wishes and as symbol of good luck for the elders. Ang Paw can be presented in the day of Chinese New Year or “Saen Chen”, when relatives gather together. The gift is well kept as worships in or under the pillowcase, or somewhere else, especially near the bed of young while they are sleeping in New Year time. Gift in Ang Paw can be money or cheque, and more or less according to the charity of the donors.
The tradition of Ang Paw delivery traditionally descended from one generation to other generations for long time ago. Ang Paw will not be given to some one in family who has got job, but he/she has to, in return, deliver it his/her parents or/and their younger.
There are no clear literary sources from which to date the origin of the red envelope tradition. In China, during the Qing Dynasty, elders would tie coins together with red string. These were called yāsuì qián (traditional Chinese: 壓歲錢), meaning "pressed money", and were believed to protect the elderly from sickness and death. The yāsuì qián were replaced by red envelopes when printing presses became more common after the establishment of the Republic of China in 1911. Red envelopes are also referred to as yāsuì qián.
The legend related to Ang Paw is to be said one upon a time there was an evil named Suy, “One horn phantom” or “Beysac Snaeng Mouy” or Sov Suy “Blooded Hunger phantom” lived beneath the sea. The phantom always appeared at sea bank to mistreat young children in the night of the end of a year. He used his hands magically touch on the young children’s head. Then the young victims became sick, or stupid. The villagers were afraid of him so in the night of the end of every year, they always lighted the lights for protecting their children from him for all night. The arrangement of protecting Suy, Since then, became a custom which they always do in the night before new year come. Another legend is that there was a couple, Koun relative, enjoyed their child with coins. When the children fell asleep they packed the coins in a red paper and kept it near child’s pillow. Eventually, Suy entered their house intended to mistreat the child. The light from coins in the red pack reflected Suy’s eyes, then he run away.

Source: Kohsantepheap, Kiwidpedia


Anonymous said...

Good legend, what is it from? Have you the book?

Anonymous said...

Red color is good for chinese people but in football or in sport game, red color is not good. Yellow and Red ticket, repectively, are for punishing some one doing wrong with sport dicipline.

Anonymous said...

Dear Norea,

The text is, unofficially, translated from an article of Kohsantepheap Newspaper released on . If you need to be clear with its source, you should contact Kohsantepheap.