KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Jan 2017:
The holiday season – coupled with Christmas and New Year bashes – is over and it’s now time to get out your lanterns, door couplets, intricate paper cuttings, put on your red dress, visit the family and friends, and in general, spread happiness, luck and longevity because it’ll soon be Chinese New Year festivities!
And the perfect way to do this is by giving a tailored Chinese New Year gift!
But finding the perfect Chinese New Year gift is a little more difficult than our other favourite Chinese celebrations such as the Mid-Autumn Festival – where you give moon cakes – or the Zongzi of the Dragon Boat Festival.
Chinese New Year simply doesn’t have a single perfect gift – so we’ve done the hard thinking for you and compiled a handy guide for your perfect gift this festive season:
The old faithful – hongbao
If you’re looking to keep it traditional, you can’t go past the hongbao (also known as angpow).
Who isn’t in love with these little delicate and elaborate decorated red envelopes? If not for the outside, it’s definitely for the inside!
It’s a simple gift to find with almost every major supermarket selling them – but how to fill it stumps most people.
For the discreet, one big note does the trick. If you’re looking for the shock factor and want a bursting envelope, your best bet is to give in even numbers (other than four), and if possible in a set of eight as it will bring good luck!
Want to really impress that special someone? A supervisor, teacher, friend or just pamper the one you love?
Well then, an extravagant hamper delivered to their door will definitely do the trick!
Pick the contents of your hamper with anything from alcohol, fresh fruit, chocolates, biscuits, tea and dried fruit.
The surprise of a hamper arriving at your door truly incites the happiness and joy of the new year and its contents range will excite the whole family!
For some of Malaysia’s most luxurious Chinese New Year hampers check out Flower Chimp!
We all know oranges as the most common gift given during the holiday and the weeks leading up to it – as it resembles the sun and is said to bring abundance and happiness.
It’s not just oranges though, pomelos are also a popular fruit to give during the Chinese New Year holiday.
Pomelos represent good luck and family unity, and it is tradition to decorate the house with them in pairs of two!
Other symbolic fruits to give as gifts are plums, grape, kumquats and jujubes. These fruits are the ones that are traditionally used as holy offerings at Buddhist temples. They represent good luck, wealth, prosperity and fertility.
Just like with fruit, there are also various symbolisations, traditions and meanings behind the types of flowers you give.
Orchids are the most popular flower of the holiday season. They resemble fertility and abundance, plus they come in so many colours you can get a different coloured bouquet for each open house you go to!
Peonies are another flower popular during Chinese New Year. These are said to bring richness and peace (get them in red if you can!)
And since prosperity is a big theme during this holiday, you can also give pussy willows and water fairy flowers to symbolise this. Pussy willows show growth and the coming of prosperity while water fairies (also called narcissus) represent good fortune.
Colour is key
So now that you’ve chosen what kind of gift you want to give the traditions aren’t done yet.
Make sure you pay attention to the colour of the gift, including everything from the colour of the flowers to the packaging or wrapping it comes in.
Red, yellow and gold are definitely your best choices because these all symbolise wealth and prosperity.
But whatever you do, don’t give anything white, black or blue as these colours are associated with death and funerals.
Now you have the gift, the colour and the wrapping chosen, a few tips to finish off this joyous gift giving occasion:
First is to make sure when you are giving or receiving a gift that you use both hands – to show respect.
Second, if you’re giving gifts to multiple friends or family members – start by giving your presents to the oldest or the most senior person in the group.
Third, when receiving a gift, don’t open it right away in front of the person giving it to you. Instead, put it to the side and open it at a later time when you are in private.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to usher in a prosperous and joyous new year celebrations with all your family and friends! Have a very happy Chinese New Year!
Note: Get RM30 off hampers this Chinese New Year from online store Flower Chimp – simply by quoting The Rakyat Post when ordering.