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Hongbao – lucky money

On the Chinese New Year’s Eve or anytime during the spring festival holidays, the aged would give Chinese kids money, known as lucky money, which is put in small, red packets called Hongbao in Chinese language with Hong for red the color and Bao for packet. In southern China, not only Chinese kids or Chinese teens can be presented with Hongbao, but also young adults as long as they are not married.

The lucky money in the Hongbao is called Ya Sui Qian. Ya means suppress; one Chinese character with pronunciation of Sui means devils; Qian is the word for money in Chinese language. To put together, Ya Sui Qian means the thing that can suppress devils and maintain kids in peace and safety for a whole year.

In some southern area, particularly in Guangdong province, Hongbao is called Lishi. And there is a saying that kids would say when asking for a Hongbao, Gong Xi Fa Cai Hongbao Na lai, wish you make plenty of money in the new year and please hand me a Hongbao.

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