Red envelopes or 红包, (hóng bāo) in Chinese, are always given during special occasions such as birthdays and Spring Festival.
These contain money and are given most commonly to other family members as gifts. As the youngest generation of the family, kids will receive a lot of red envelopes from their parents, grandparents, and other family members. With the added bonus of not having to give any back.
Unfortunately, they might not get to choose what to do with the money, most of the red envelopes are kept by the parents for future use. Plus, in China, it’s rude to open a red envelope in front of the person who gifted it to you, so children must wait until they get home to open their presents.
The red envelopes will contain new money. Old bills can’t be used since New Year celebrates getting rid of the new and ushering in the new. But in the end, it’s not the money that is important but the meaning behind the red envelope. You might have wondered why they are red. In China, red is considered a good color to emphasize happiness and blessing for the new upcoming year. Every time you give someone a red envelope you are wishing them the best for the year to come.