Got a question about hongbao-giving?

Got a question about hongbao-giving?
PHOTO: Video screengrab

Some look forward to it, others dread it.

The giving and receiving of hongbao or red packets is a big part of the Chinese New Year tradition.

Hongbao is traditionally given by married couples to their parents and children, and other single adults as a token of good fortune and blessing during the festive celebrations.

In this episode of askST, The Straits Times Lifestyle correspondent Bryna Singh explains the proper etiquette for hongbao-giving.

An often-asked question is the amount that one should put in a red packet.

Dr Kang Ger-Wen, 43, course chair for Chinese Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Humanities & Social Sciences, said there is no fixed amount as hongbao symbolises a blessing.

Give within your means, as it should not become a source of financial stress.

Think of it as a gesture, rather than a transaction, said Dr Lim Lee Ching, 42, vice-dean at the School of Human Development & Social Services at SIM University.

For newlyweds, it is convention that they do not need to give hongbao in their first year of marriage.

Should a younger sibling who is married give hongbao to an older sibling who is single?

These experts say there is no rule on this but generally, it is not a must to give hongbao to those who are able to earn a living for themselves.

There are also no rules on the age limit for a person to get hongbao from relatives. This is really up to the giver and receiver, and the nature of their relationship.

The 13-part askST video series features ST journalists answering questions sent in by readers.

on SPH Brightcove


This article was first published on January 17, 2017.
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