Chinese New Year is right around the corner again!
For most of us, the prospect of meeting our relatives and extended families again is really exciting, but also slightly burdensome.
We’re forced to greet the endless questions of: “When are you getting a girlfriend/boyfriend/married/having kids/getting a car/house/start earning more”, with meek smiles and nods as our older relatives ramble on and on.
And for newly married couples, or young adults that have baby nieces and nephews suddenly springing out everywhere – there is another dilemma: Ang Bao giving – who to give to, and how much to give?
To assuage your concerns, SingaporeGo has compiled a definitive Give Ang Bao Guide – 2018 Edition.
When should I start giving Ang Baos?
Typically, you stop receiving and start giving out Ang Baos when you get married.
In the first year of marriage, most families would not expect the newlywed couple to give out Ang Baos.
However, it really depends on your family practice and precedent set by older relatives – did your older brother give out ang baos the first year he got married? If he did, then you probably should, too.
For the bachelors and spinsters amongst us with baby cousins/ nieces and nephews, giving the kids ang baos is good practice as it symbolizes giving them good luck.
Is there a minimum amount to give?
For working, married adults, a minimum amount of $6 or $8 is recommended, for the younger children in your extended families.
Giving $2 ang paos to acquaintances’ children/ children you don’t know well is usually socially acceptable as well.
What are the auspicious/ inauspicious amounts to give?
Amounts in ang baos should always be in pairs or even numbers, to symbolize ‘good things come in pairs’.
Generally, it is better to avoid giving ang baos with $4 inside, or any number with 4 – $14, $24, $40, etc. Because four, or 四 (si) – sounds like ‘death’ 死(si).
However, less traditional families might not have such a practice. Once again, knowing your angbao recipient – is he/she young or old, traditional or modern – is important in deciding your ang bao amount.
Giving amounts ending with eight – $8, $18, $28, etc., symbolises giving good luck because eight, or 八(ba) sounds like 发(fa). Your older relatives might really appreciate these little efforts in choosing an auspicious number too.
Ang Bao Rates
For married couples and older singles, these are the ang bao rates we recommend.
However, you should give according to your ability as well – your parents wouldn’t be at ease if they knew you gave them a huge amount of money and have nothing left to yourself.
PARENTS 👴 👵
They raised you – filial piety is always important.
YOUNGER SIBLINGS👨⚕️ 👩🎓
Usually you’d only give your younger siblings ang paos if you’re married but they are not.
A token sum of $20-50 might be a good idea to show that you still care for them, and are ‘wishing them good luck’.
However, to give or not really depends on your family’s usual practice.
OWN CHILDREN 👨👩👧👦
We suggest giving your own children smaller amounts when they are younger, but gradually increase it as they get older.
More importantly, is to have a fixed practice for all your children and not show favouritism.
If your children are still young, you might want to help them save up their ang bao money in a bank account for them first, and pass it to them when they are older.
Children like to compare their ang bao money with their peers a lot. An amount of $50 is probably safest, because that is approximately the average amount given to kids these days.
YOUNGER COUSINS👱♂️ 👱♀️
For unmarried younger cousins, depending on how close you are to them, you could consider giving them a small token sum as well.
NIECES AND NEPHEWS👶
Rate: $8 – 28
Depending on how cute they are. Nah we’re joking, but it really depends on how close you are as well as how much your other siblings are giving.
HUSBAND AND WIFE 💑
Some husbands practice giving their stay-home wives a big ang bao during CNY, and nowadays the converse is also true.
However, this really depends on the two of you – whether you both are alright with not giving each other anything or want some other type of gift to celebrate CNY.
Is there an age limit to receiving ang baos?
There is an unspoken rule in some families that if you’re above ~30 years old but still unmarried, you shouldn’t receive ang baos anymore.
However, if no one says anything, just be thick-skinned and get all the ang baos you can get.
Must I use new banknotes for ang baos?
It is good practice to use new banknotes in ang baos, though certainly not necessary.
However, this year, you can simply head down to your nearest community centre to get new banknotes! They give out free red packet paper there as well.