Traditions Concerning Money

Dumpling

(Jiaozi)
Chinese Dumplings (Jiaozi)
Chinese Dumplings
Learn to Make Dumplings
Dumpling is a must for people in Northern China during the Chinese New Year, the most important festival for Chinese people, just as Christmas for westerners. It has been a tradition popularised since the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Dumpling has the shape of ancient yuan bao (gold or silver ingots) and the pronunciation takes after jiao zi, the earliest paper money in China.

When we make dumplings for the first meal of the new year. Dumplings made for this special occasion are different from those ordinary ones. Dumplings for the new year are prepared at the New Year's Eve and ate at 12 o'clock midnight. The logic behind is to have money at the change of years. Some people also hide a coin in the dumplings and anyone having it is regarded to have good fortunes in the new year.

Sometimes dumplings are cooked together with noodles and the Chinese name means silver threads wrap around gold ingots.
 

Red Envelope

For children, the highlight besides delicious food is the red envelop (hong bao or ya sui qian). Red is auspicious color, symbolizing good luck and vigor in China. Parents or the elder relatives wrap some money in a piece of red paper and give them to the under age. The red envelop can be given directly to the children or hidden under their pillows. Record also has it that some parents clustered the coins with colorful threads and made them into the shape of dragon, another auspicious symbol. As the red envelop is the good wish from the elders so the sum of the money is not important and it is not polite to open the red envelop in the presence of the elder.

Children usually use this money to buy fireworks, toys and candies. Nowadays children can get pocket money so easily that they are not that excited by the red envelop as their parents once did. They pay much more importance to the sum of the money. So some people advocate to get rid of this habit of giving children red envelop.

What's more, red envelop is also used sarcastically to refer to bribery. However, for most people, red envelop is still a heart-warming memory when they recall how their parents love them and prepare the red envelop for them despite a tight budget.

- Last modified on Mar. 29, 2018 -
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