Chinese New Year Lai See time again!
Here is a little bit on lai see 利是 and some tips to whom to give it too and how.
Chinese New Year Lai see
About lai see
Lai see, the little red packets you are seeing everywhere are a part of the tradition during the Chinese New Year. The red colour is to ward evil spirits off, but you will find lai see in a range a colour in Hong Kong. Giving lai see to someone means you are wishing them prosperity and good fortune in the coming year.
Where to get them
You might have already been given some empty lai see packets at shop when you purchase items. Lai see are also available for sale in stationary shops, supermarkets, and little pop up shop that sell on that.
Getting your lai see ready
Only put notes in lai see and no coins. If you can, get crisp note straight from the bank and avoid any amount with the number 4 in it as four in Chinese is pronounced the same as “death”.
You can also have a a few different type of envelopes ready with different amounts. I have seen people giving out same envelopes but have marked them with different symbols discreetly to recognise the amounts.
As for the amount in the lai see for the people around HKD 20 is ok, and it is up to you if you want to put more in for people who are closer or you are really thankfull for.
Handing out lai see
Lai see are given from senior to junior: employer to employees, married couples to single friends, parents to children and so on. Tenants will also give lai see to staff working in the building, some will also give to their regular services as laundry place, doctor, cleaners, waiters at places you go regularly … Take lai see giving as thanking the people around you.
Give lai see with 2 hands as this is a sign of respect.
Should you have kids do not let them give out lai see instead of you as this could be seen a disrespectful.
Receiving lai see
Receive lai see with 2 hands and do not open it in front of the person who just gave it to you.
Kung Hei Fat Choy!