Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Is Ang Pao?

Don’t know what is an angpao? It’s called Red Packet when translated to English, and Chinese adults usually put some money inside and distribute them to their children and relatives (a generation smaller than they are). However, an unmarried adult is not, erm, ‘qualified’ to distribute angpao.

I would still remember last year’s Chinese New Year festival when all of my extended family relatives, approximately 100 of them, swarmed to one of my relative’s bungalow to celebrate this unique festival. The entire house was so crowded that I nearly got squeezed into a pancake. We children went on a crazy goosechase after all married adults to get as much angpao money as possible.

The money in those angpaos is called ya-tsui-chian. Actually the very first meaning of ya-tsui-chian means money that would suppress those evil-spirits, but now it has evolved as money that would keep children young. It goes:

压祟钱 – money that suppresses evil spirits

Then it evolves into:

压岁钱 – money that keep children young

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