As 2019 draws near, Chinese New Year will be just around the corner before we know it. Ang paos (Chinese: hong bao), or red packets, are one of the first things that come to mind when preparing for Chinese New Year celebrations. For the youngsters, it’s time to go ang pao hunting and for parents, it’s the time to get busy with spring cleaning and spread happiness in the form of giving ang pao.

And for corporate owners, it’s a crucial time to show their generosity and reinforce their brand visibility during this auspicious occasion. They can do so through providing customised red packets for their customers. In Singapore itself, the Chinese New Year tradition has long been rooted in the country and the people as it’s a big occasion to celebrate another year according to the Chinese Lunar calendar.


Everything has a meaning


The Chinese give money in red envelopes because red symbolizes luck, wealth and happiness. It’s considered a lucky colour in Chinese culture and that is why it is common to see red clothes, shoes, decorations during Chinese New Year.

Another auspicious colour in Chinese culture is yellow or gold. These are the colours of royalty, wisdom and resembles the precious metal, gold. Hence, it is not uncommon to see a red packet in yellow or gold.

The story of giving out money in red envelopes began with the story of an elderly couple and the Eight Immortals. They had a son who was terrorised by a demon named Sui. During New Year’s Eve, the parents wrapped eight coins with red paper under the son’s pillow to ward off the demon. Little did they know that the Eight Immortals were disguised as the eight coins to protect their child.

Later, the term 压岁钱 ya sui qian which means lucky money to ward off evil spirits is coined as the character 岁 (Sui) has similar pronunciation as 祟 (Sui), the monster's name.





How much is appropriate?


The amount that you give is truly up to you, however, it is important to avoid a figure that is deemed unlucky. An example would be the number 4 (四, Sì) which is associated with the word death (死, sǐ). You might also notice how some buildings owned by Chinese do not have floors with the number 4 on them.

The number 4 aside, even numbers such as 2, 6 and 8 are known to be luckier than odd numbers. Take the number 2 for example - Everything in pairs symbolises good luck, as amplified by the tradition to offer each other a pair of oranges during Chinese New Year. 8 is the most auspicious number because of the shape (twin ‘o’ placed vertically) and also the fact that eight (八, bā) sounds similar to the word ‘grow’ (发, fā).

Hence, it would be best to give an amount that has the number 8 in it. Other numbers that you can consider are 6 and 9. The number 6 is pronounced as ‘liu’, which rhymes with the word flow in Chinese. It means everything will go smoothly while number 9 sounds similar to the word ‘longevity’ (久, jiǔ). 

liondance design

Giving red packets to elders?


Red packets are usually given to singles and children, hoping for them to receive wealth and luck as well as finding the right partner in life.

On the other hand, adults can also give red packets to the elders to show appreciation and respect to them. It is common to have exchanges of red packets between family members, especially, between parents and their grown-up children.



Giving red packets to non-family members?


Giving out red packets is not just limited to your family members. It is a good custom to give ang paos to people that you want to show appreciation to.

Raffles greet card group



Year of Pig (2019). What does it mean?


We are welcoming the year of the pig in the upcoming Chinese New Year on 5th February 2019.

People born in the year of pig can expect better luck in 2019. We predict the red packets that use cute piglets’ illustrations will stand out the most among other designs. It’s always good to find out about upcoming trends before deciding on the ang bao design to buy or mass print.

Singtel 5 group


Avoid these colours!


The colour white is used during funerals. It is the symbol of purity as well as the colour of mourning. Using this colour can be deemed as unlucky for a red packet.


Make it count!


People will be busy counting the money they get from the red packets. If you are a business owner, you may want to consider printing customised red packet envelopes for your customers who will in turn use it to give money to their family and friends. It would be a bonus if the people who received the red packets like your design and decide to keep it as a souvenir. That would be an effective way to improve people’s impression of your company!

The key here is to customize the red packets for your customers. The recent trend of ang pao designs is gearing towards simplistic designs. A minimalist, elegant and sophisticated look is the preferred design. The most important design elements of red packets are the choice of paper, the shade of red as well as embroidery and stamps on the paper.




There are two types of paper you can choose from. One has a matte finish that doesn’t reflect light and gives off a rather elegant feel to it (matte, satin matte). The other type is a shiny, sleek finish that reflects light and usually enhances the golden stamps on it (satin, gloss). The trend today is leaning more towards the matte effect.

The paper has to be thick and not flimsy when used. This gives off a luxurious impression and helps maintain the shape of the money inside. It’s also better to print red packets that are long, rather than in square. It’s the custom to insert new bills into the packets and folding them would defeat the purpose.

If you are looking to set your red packet apart from the usual designs, do consider using materials of the past such as felt and embroidery to instil a distinctive feel to it.
Another way to stand out from other red packet designs is to use a unique shade from the vast arrays of red which range from pinkish to purple-red. Instead of printing red packets in vibrant yellow, golden stamps are preferred for a more luxurious look. But don’t let this stop you from using yellow if you are feeling adventurous!
Lastly, it is important to incorporate your company logo into the red packet design! On one hand, your company logo should not get in the way of the red packet design. On the other, it should be positioned in such a way that it is easy to spot.




Prepare soon!


Chinese New Year is fast approaching and every established company is looking into customising red packets for their customers. Visit our website for gorgeous designs and high-quality printing or embroidery service today!