Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Chinese weddings are very symbolic. Every step of the Chinese wedding ceremony is peppered with items and gestures to symbolize the bringing of good luck to the couple. Although some traditions have been forgotten in today's modern times of convenience, one particular Chinese wedding tradition that has carried through the times is the giving of the ang pow.

ANG POW or Lai See ~~~ is a red packet that contain cash and is very common in Chinese societies across the world. Ang Pow is given away in festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Birthdays, Weddings or Anniversaries as a token of caring and sharing. Red also symbolizes prosperity and good luck; both of which are auspicious in Chinese culture.

Unlike the Westerners who present the bridal couple with wedding gifts, the Chinese believe in giving money in a red packet instead as a gesture of good luck. Chinese are very practical people and this gesture of giving money is also meant to contribute towards the wedding expenses the coouple has had to bear. While guests usually try to give enough for the couple to cover their reception costs, close friends and relatives will usually give bigger ang pow as a gesture of luck to the couple. In return, the couple gives out ang pow throughout their wedding to their helpers to thanik these peoplke and to return some of their good luck.

(FOOK / PROSPERITY - Chinese New Year)

(SHOU / ELDERLY BIRTHDAY - 60th onwards birthday)



Cash is usually put into a red packet or ang pow before it is given. Giving an ang pow can also be used as a form of appreciation of good work, loyalty or appreciation. If you have no time to get a present or do not know what to get, then, giving an ang pow is considered a perfect substitute.


Ang Pow which can be use to substitute for the items.

~~~~ Kam Chu Lai Kam - Roast Pig
~~~~ Kam Chay Lai Kam - Sugar Cane
~~~~ Ta Loh Kei - Chicken Lead The Way
~~~~ Loi Sei Lai Kam - Son-in-law Pants

Ang Pow needed on your Betrothal Day (Guo Tai Lai) and Wedding Day

~~~~ Bride's mother for bringine her up
~~~~ Grandparent's Ang Pow (bride and groom) {GTL}
~~~~ An Shuang Lai Kam - to groom's father for the fixing of bed {on An Shuang Day}
~~~~ Shang Tou Lai Kam - to parent who do the hair combing ceremony for you (bride and groom)
{Hair combing ceremony if applicable}
~~~~ Hoi Chey Moon Lai Kam - to the bride's brother or younger male relatives who is tasked with opening the car door for the groom when he arrives. {wedding day}
~~~~ Chi Mui Lai Kam - the grooms and his helpers (Heng Tais) being stopped at the door by the brides' friends and relatives who will demand certain tasks to be performed and sufficient ang pows to be given before he is allowed to enter {wedding day}
~~~~ The couple will be required to give ang pow to their younger siblings or relatives who serve them tea as a form of respect. {wedding day}
~~~~ The couple usually gives their helpers ang pows at the end of the day to thank them for their help and to bless them with good luck.

The amounts in the red packets can vary depending on the couple's financial position and family backgrounds. While every little contribution of cash is helpful to the wedding, the blessings and good luck wishes from others as symbolized by the lucky red envelope are just as important.

No comments:

Post a Comment