Red Envelopes & Traditions In Chinese Culture

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According to Chinese traditions and culture, red envelopes are very symbolic and meaningful. These traditions say that, whenever they are given as a gift, red envelopes are a wish of prosperity, good luck and happiness to the person who receives them. This symbolism is not only due to the red envelopes’ traditions but also to the color red which is a very auspicious symbol of happiness by itself.

One way in which red envelopes can be used to attract prosperity without receiving them as a gift is by placing two coins in one of them and then placing this on the doorway frame. You can also use this object as a meaningful present to give whenever you wish to send good thoughts, prosperity and happiness to another person.

Red envelopes are also used by Chinese and feng shui masters in their teaching practices. According to this tradition, whenever a master transmits information and knowledge to an apprentice, the apprentice must give him a red envelope back to the master. This envelope can be empty but according to the most ancient traditions, it should contain coins, small gold ingots or precious gifts. Every time the master or feng shui expert gives his trainee a new piece of advice, he must receive a red envelope as a transaction.

The tradition of exchanging pieces of advice for red envelopes responds to several reasons and explanations. First of all, it is a way to demonstrate that the apprentice asked for the piece of advice he received and is thankful for it. Besides, this honors the way in which advice and knowledge is transmitted through time and different generations.

Whenever a Chinese master transmits information to another person, this might bring him bad luck depending on how such knowledge changes the other person’s life. This way, the tradition of transacting red envelopes for pieces of advice also mean to protect the master from any bad luck that teaching his knowledge could bring him. Therefore, this tradition of exchanging red envelopes for pieces of advice has many different explanations and very important foundations which many Chinese masters follow and his apprentices should respect as well.