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GUIDE: Different ways to give and receive ang paos during Chinese New Year

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Jan 20, 2023 11:19 am

The time to comemmorate the new year by Chinese Filipinos has come once again, and if there's one custom that everyone is familiar with, it's the giving and receiving of ang paos or red envelopes containing money.

While on the surface, it may seem easy to just give the small packet to the hands of your friends and relatives, there's actually an etiquette to be followed for the proper giving and receiving of ang paos. Here is everything you need to know about the do's and don'ts.

Who can give and who can receive?

Obviously, children are not burdened by the obligation to give ang paos during special occasions such as Chinese New Year. In fact, it is deemed insulting to let them give the ang paos to the elderly. Instead, that responsibility goes to the elders, specifically to married persons or those who have reached the golden years in their life.

Ang paos are usually bestowed on young folks like children and unmarried relatives so as to serve as a symbol of good luck and well wishes. 

If you're concerned about the amount of money that you have to put in the envelopes, there isn't exactly a strict rate that should be followed, so it is entirely up to you on how generous or stingy you can be.

However, you must also take note that any figure with the number four in it is considered disrespectful as Chinese tradition states that it is associated with death and misfortune. The number eight, meanwhile, is perceived as lucky, so people commonly put money with a denomination of eight (P800, P8,000, and so on).

Rules to follow

As mentioned, the act of giving and receiving ang paos is a tricky business, and if you're not prepared, you may come off as disrespectful and ignorant.

First off, you cannot use just one hand when giving and receiving the envelopes—you must always use two as it is a sign of courtesy, and you can hand your monetary gifts the moment that you arrive at your host's home and greet them.

For the money itself, it is seen more positively if you can give crisp and clean bills that have just been freshly spewed out by the ATM rather than crumpled ones that are one touch away from being torn apart.

While receiving money may render you excited and impatient about opening it, you must first wait until the person who gave it to you leaves or is out of sight. Opening the envelope right in front of them is considered impolite and it may leave a bad impression.

Other ways to send ang paos

If it seems that you cannot give your ang paos personally, then the internet is here to save the day as you can now send your monetary gifts online through GCash, PayMaya, and more.

For GCash, once you open you account, you can simply select Send then look for "Send Pamasko." There, you will have the opportunity to select a theme based on various occasions such as Christmas, Mother's Day and, of course, Chinese New Year.

You can choose between putting equal amounts of money in each of the envelopes you give or in random amounts. Afterwards, input the amount you wish to send and your recipient’s mobile number.

For PayMaya users, sending your digital ang paos is also easy. All you have to do is to click on "Send Money," add the mobile number of the recipient along with the amount for your digital ang pao and hit send.

You can also use Grab to give your monetary gift through its GrabPay feature. Once you have credits available in you digital wallet, you can tap "Pay" and choose how to send your ang pao via your friend or relative's phone number or their in-app QR code. Afterwards, enter your desired amount, add a heartwarming note if you want to, and slide to confirm your transfer.