Red Envelope

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This is an example of a traditional red envelope. Money is put inside these red envelopes and given out on holidays and other special occasions. Throughout my life, my parents and family friends have given me red envelopes, a.k.a. "lucky money", for my birthday and holidays like Chinese/Lunar New Year. I never really thought much of it - I was more concerned with the free money. Of course, my parents ended up putting all the money away to help pay for college, but it still felt nice to get money for doing nothing. Years ago, I finally one day asked about the significance of the red envelope. I learned that the red, being an important symbol of luck in Chinese culture, made the red envelope as much about the wishing of luck upon the recipient as much as it was about giving a monetary gift. My parents obviously didn't bring boxes of these red envelopes to America over two decades ago, and a few of the ones I've received have had the HSBC logo on them. I found it interesting that this tradition was so intrinsic to Chinese culture that a bank offered red envelopes to help keep the tradition alive. Now, I still get red envelopes with U.S. dollars in them. I see this as a symbol of my parents' assimilation to American society while still maintaining an important Chinese tradition.

Year: 2016

– Dylan Pan

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