The biggest shopping event of the year is coming up and it’s definitely not American, but America is heavily involved.
Coming up across all of Asia is Spring Festival and Lunar New Year, also known an Chinese New Year.
This is a unique holiday to me because of how much it favours kids.
Kids are celebrated big time here during Lunar New Year and are given lots of gifts and more importantly, money.
Red envelopes are a big part of the season, and don’t think too much into what ‘red envelope’ could mean, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
They’re red colored envelopes and are sometimes decorated with gold and say nice words on them like “fortune” or “luck”.
It’s not just during New Year that you can give these, it’s also weddings, birthdays and other events.
I don’t know all this because I’m super well read and well informed all of a sudden, I was just curious when I saw the red envelope option on my Chinese communication app ‘Wechat’.
The Wechat app has found a way to trivialise a formally solemn and official gift, kinda like snapchatting your wedding registry.
Regardless of how you choose to give people money or things, people give a lot of it and kids benefit the most.
My work colleague was telling me about how he receives a couple hundred RMB these days (bought 50 bucks) but when he was a child, during his most profitable New Year he took home 5,000 RMB (about a thousand dollars).
Of course boringly this all went towards his education, definitely a huge let down for a kid. But if you throw in a gift with the money I’m sure it could definitely soften the blow.
As a result of the fact that the majority of the continent is celebrating this holiday, and that the worlds most densely populated country is perhaps celebrating it the most, big American companies are heavily involved.
Banks are selling Disney branded red envelopes to put your child’s money gift into and literally every children’s brand under the sun has redecorated their characters into wearing traditional New Year garments.
Oh did I mentioned that everyone buys outfits especially for the occasion?
Besides special New Year outfits, a lot of people buy lots of new regular clothes too.
It’s traditional to restock your wardrobe for the new year and get a fresh start.
Part of me likes the old solemn part of the holiday, giving real red envelopes in the traditional two handed manner while wearing cool ancient outfits and getting presents.
But I know that if I were Chinese and was expected to give my friends envelopes I’d have good intentions, then just end up giving the easy option..