Chinese Red Envelopes

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
A photo of five different red envelopes
A photo of five different red envelopes

     Chinese New Year is a time of celebration and festivities. There are many activities to enjoy, such as the lion dance, dragon dance, eating dumplings, and lighting lanterns. However, in my opinion, the best activity is the receiving of red envelopes. Red envelopes, also known as red packets, are a tradition in East and Southeast Asia. Inside contains money, and they are given to others during special occasions and holidays such as Chinese New Year, weddings, and the birth or graduation of a family member. 
     My mother immigrated from Malaysia and landed in Boston while my father came over from China, arriving in New York. My family’s story is unique since they originated from two different places with very different backgrounds. However, this did not prevent them from getting married. The story of my parents connects to other family stories as they both sought a place where freedom is indivisible. 
     Since my mom and dad came from Malaysia and China respectively, they both celebrate Chinese New Year. During this time, my parents would hand me two red envelopes, one from each parent. Each packet would contain one hundred dollars, adding up to a total of two hundred dollars. In Chinese culture, the color red is known to bring happiness and good fortune. If two red envelopes can bring out the wildest dreams of a kid, then I would agree that the color red does do its job. The packets are also my only source of income, so collecting them brings euphoria. However, the joyfulness won't last forever due to reality and its rules.  

Place(s): Malaysia, China, East and Southeast Asia, Boston, New York

– IY

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant