Monday, February 15, 2010

The Story Behind Your Ang Pow

So how is your Chinese New Year folks? How's your business? Opps! I mean have you been receiving lots of ang pow this year? For kids and teens, one of the coolest thing about Chinese New Year is that they can get tonnes of red packets. Do you agree? But do you know the story behind the red packet? Chinese New Year is NEVER complete without the red ang pow (红包) and surely there's more than meets the eye about this generous tradition. Let us find out who is the genius that started this brilliant practice. We all owe him you know! Haha :D

~The Legend of Ang Pow~

Legends has it that the origin of ang pow dates way back to the Sung Dynasty in China. So here's what happened. You see at that time, there was this enormous demon which terrorized a village called Chang-Chieu. Many warriors from near and afar did everything in their might to bring the demon to its knees but to no avail. The demon was too powerful for any of them.

The "Nian" demon-->年兽

Suddenly, a young orphan (appeared out of no where), armed with a mystical sword inherited from his ancestors dueled with the demon and killed it. The villagers of hang-Chieu were of course overjoyed and the elders immediately presented the brave young man a red packet filled with money to thank him for his courage.

Our saviour?

Since then, the ang pow or red packet has become one of the most important part of traditional Chinese customs. Super awesome right? So we gotta thank the young man, because if not for him we will not be receiving ang pow right now. LOL :D

Ang Pow-The Rad Packet With Moolah$$$

In the early days, ang pow is just a simple red envelope with money enclosed in it. But over time, we try to make it look more fancy. Our ang pow are decorated with lucky symbols with the most common one is "fu" (福) which means happiness. These symbols are meant to convey blessings and prosperity for the recipient. So the more ang pow we receive, the better it is for us. :p

In Mandarin these red packets are often referred as Hong Bao (红包). In other dialects, we called them Ang Pao (Hokkien) and Lai See (Cantonese). many names huh! Usually the red packets are red in colour as it represents blessings and prosperity in our Chinese culture. However we do have golden ang pow too. So why we Chinese are so damn into RED? Simple, it is because red can ward off inauspicious chi and negative energy. So our ang pow are red because are they are considered as "yang" energy.

Well, that's all for our history lesson today. Now you know the story behind ang pow right? So don't forget to insist for more ang pow this Chinese New Year ok. The more and pow you have, the more blessings you will get and of course more money! :)

Who wants more Ang Pow?