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Red Envelope, Oranges, and Couplet Traditions

Most holidays celebrated around the world have traditions associated with them, whether it be stockings hung by the fireplace at Christmas, baskets filled with candies given at Easter, or, during the Chinese New Year, the gifts that are made of red packets, packages of tangerines and oranges, and the best wishes couplets.

Red packets, called hong bao in Chinese, are a customary gift to children and unmarried friends, and usually contain a small monetary gift. If you'd like to introduce the tradition in your own home, you can use a simple red envelope of your choice, or simply use this envelope template, which is pre-printed with the Chinese character for Good Luck.

Tangerines and oranges are another traditional New Year's gift and symbolize wealth, good luck, and abundant happiness; tangerines that still bear leaves signify that the relationship between you and the giver is secure. You can present tangerines and oranges on a tray or in a bag; we wrapped ours with mesh and secured the package with raffia. Best-wishes couplets provide hopeful messages for the new year, written on both sides of a piece paper in exquisite calligraphy, and are traditionally hung on recipient's front door.

Comments (1)

  • MrsCoulsen 22 Oct, 2011

    Thanks for the great template - I'm busy sticking these together & i'll be using them on Clipper 11-12 trip in the middle of the ocean Leg 5 on the Chinese boat Qingdao!
    We'll take some pictures - sure they will be on the Crew diaries after 23/1/12!