Gift giving is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon that permeates national and cultural boundaries. Gift giving highlights the significance of relationship between the giver and the receiver. I see gift giving as the selection of a gesture that hopefully will translate and transfer the evaluation of both material and sentimental objects that were needed to maintain a social relationship. Gift giving could be examined under different categories, including family member to family member, friend-to-friend, business-to-business, group-to-group, or nation-to-nation.
For the Chinese culture, giving gift and give the right and appropriate gift is emphases heavily. And the Chinese do not usually accepts a gift, invitation or favor when it is first presented, and will politely refuse two or three times to reflect modesty.They give different types of gift, but money is the one gift they give to others very often. The amount of money they give to individual is determined by the occasion, connection/relationship, economic background, and age. For example, as a kid, you will always receive a red envelop from parents, grandparents, and close relatives on the New Year. The amount of money that is in the red envelop is varies from family to family based on the family income. However, when children grow up, the amount of money they give to the elders should be a fair amount, most time a lot more than what they will receive as kids. Red envelop is also one of the gifts given to the married couple when the guests attend their wedding ceremony. And of course, closer your relationship to the bride and the groom, the more money is expected. But for all occasions, certain amounts of money are to be avoided. Any amount with a four is best avoided because the pronounciation sounds similar to the pronounce of word death in chinese, 四 (sì, four) and 死 (sǐ, death). Other than the number four, most even numbers are better than odd number. Amount with a three, six, eight and nine is very popular to put in a red envelop.
Learning the “rules” and the tradition of giving money in Chinese culture. What is your opinion on giving people money as a gift? If you were to receive red envelop from your parents, how much would you expect per envelop? If you were to live in China for years, will you try to adopt the cultures by giving people envelop? And how much would you give in terms of the number?
Chinese Culture: Chinese Gift-Giving Etiquette by Lauren Mack
If you want to read more about gift giving in the Chinese culture, please visit the following websites.