Relationship: Im/migrant

Red envelopes are traditionally given to the unmarried, children and elders. Ordinarily containing money, they represent; fortune, luck and success. Giving an envelope to your elders is seen as a gesture of kindness and a sign of respect. My family is especially strict when the matter regards our culture. Despite being bought up in an atheist household, we follow the yearly Chinese traditions. Most of these traditions revolve around respect, lineage, fortune and honour. These subjects are mentioned in almost all cultural and traditional events because they are widely believed to truly bring luck, this connects to how I chose the red envelopes as my personal object. At the beginning of every year, at my birthday, at every big event; I would always receive an envelope from a relative. Even at my departure I was sent off holding a red envelope. I received my first and last envelope from my late great grandpa, clueless, but to my defense I was 4 years old. I always wondered why this object held so much value that even when they were at death's door, they would hand me an envelope. I had never thought of why nor of the sentimental value when receiving an envelope, and rather, just thought of what I could buy next with the amount contained. I saw it as a treat; not a matter so deep to affect someone's last moments. Red envelopes were like my hellos and goodbyes but in a formal manner, they traveled with me through life and through my worsts and bests. 

Place(s): China, New York
Year: 2014

– WY

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant