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Fatter red envelopes miss point of tradition


13:27, February 22, 2013


Key Words: Hongbao; Yasuiqian; traditional red envelope; traditional Chinese custom; Spring Festival
>> Traditional red envelopes get a personal touch in China
>> Hongbao places financial burden on New Year celebration

An online survey shows that red envelopes containing cash, which are given as gifts during Chinese Spring Festival, were much larger than usual this year, a worrying sign that the "hongbao" tradition is on the wrong track.

According to the survey by web portal, 38.9 percent of the children polled received red packets containing between 2,000 to 5,000 yuan (US$320-$802) this year from their parents. The vast majority agreed they were given much more than in the past.

In one episode that stirred the nation, a 10-year-old boy visited a supermarket in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, and overheard four of his peers discussing how much money they had received this year. The boy joined the conversation and boasted that he had gotten a handsome 4,000 yuan (US$641).

2013 Spring Festival Special

That was a mistake. The other four children became so envious and frustrated that they physically assaulted him.

The incident served as a wake-up call for many Chinese parents who are unsure of how to handle lucky money doled out during New Year. Experts say it is necessary for parents to tell their kids how to use the cash gifts responsibly in order to develop their ability to handle personal finances.

One girl in her 20s recently became a shining example on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter: she managed to save up 200,000 yuan (US$32,080) in red-envelope cash over the years, enough for a down payment on a local studio apartment.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:DuMingming、Ye Xin)

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