Chinese lucky money is money that is traditionally given in red packages to young people during Chinese New Year. These red envelopes are called Hung Bao, and they are usually decorated with symbols of wealth and luck.
The amount of lucky money contained in the packages depends on the finances of the giver, the occasion, and the age of the recipient. The closeness of the relationship between the giver and the recipient also affects the amount of cash given. During Chinese New Year, older children usually receive more money in their red envelopes than younger children.
Lucky money given at weddings is often enough for the couple to buy a pleasant gift. At many Chinese weddings, the red envelopes are handed to the bride and groom but are not opened until later, as it is usually considered rude to open the money package in front of the giver. The bride and groom may take the envelope and thank the giver. Often, a relative or friend will be in charge of keeping the Hung Bao envelopes and this person may write the name of the giver on each red package so the wedding couple knows who gave each gift.
Red envelopes are used for Chinese lucky money as the Chinese consider red the color of luck and happiness. Most of the envelopes sold for the use of Hung Bao have Chinese symbols of luck and happiness on the outside. Some of these envelopes are very elegant and fancy with embossed gold designs on a rich red background.
Chinese lucky money may be given in the form of coins, bills or even a check. Children may use theirs to buy small toys and candy, while older children may use it for school supplies or even save some for tuition. Some employers give employees envelopes as a bonus or gift for Chinese New Year. All Hung Bao given in red envelopes is considered to work against evil.