Tet holidays only begin when cylindrical glutinous rice cakes, square glutinous rice cakes, watermelons, and red packets of lucky money start appearing everywhere on the streets. Lucky money has become one of the most common customs in this traditional festival. No records about the time when lucky money was introduced into Vietnam have been found.
However, the Vietnamese generations have still been preserving and considering it a beautiful cultural trait. It is a unique characteristic of Tet holiday.
What are lucky money and its meaning?
Lucky money a tradition
It is a popular custom in Asian as well as Vietnam culture to congratulate a New Year. Money, or also called lucky money, is often placed in a patterned small red envelope and given to children by adults. Starting from New Year’s Eve, family members gather around, express their wishes and praises, and give each other lucky money.
The ones who expect and receive the largest amount of lucky money are children. It stands for the wish of their parents, grandparents, and close relatives for a successful new year. And lucky money given to grandparents is the hope of kids for their longevity. Therefore, in general, lucky money is a symbol of love and a wish for luck as well as joy in a whole year.
The story of lucky money
Happy to receive lucky money
The story says the New Year festival is original from China. According to legend, there is a monster usually appearing on New Year’s Eve, rubbing children’s heads while they are sleeping, and making them burst into loud wails. After that, the children often have headaches and fevers so their parents are always worried.
An over-50-year-old couple finally has a son after many years. In the Tet festival when he gets several months, 8 fairies walk by his house. By their power, they know that he will soon be harmed by the monster. So they decide to stay by his side to protect him. They transform into 8 coins and tell his parents to wrap them with red paper. Then, place them right next to their son.
At midnight, the monster manifests and tries reaching out to rub the son’s head. Immediately, a vibrant golden light flickers from the coins, shining on its eyes. The monster is so frightened that it runs away without ever coming back.
The couple is really happy so they tell everybody about it. Since then, people consider putting money into red envelopes and giving them to children is one of the necessary things to do in Vietnam Tet holidays. It is a way to drive unfortunate away and bring happiness to kids.
How to give lucky money in modern times?
If you follow Vietnam Tet holidays packages or live with some locals, you will be able to see how this custom is performed. Of course, it has many differences from the old times so you should pay attention to perform it well.
In days of old, money placed inside red envelopes only had symbolic meaning and its face value was not important. Nowadays, since the Vietnamese life has been extremely improved, adults start giving children lucky money with higher value. As a result, children sometimes care about that more than the deep meaning of the tradition.
Therefore, lucky money in today times is for not only fortunate but also education. It is a way for parents to teach their children how to spend money and manage their own budget. Above all, receiving lucky money is a lesson for kids to learn the real value of money and cherish the goodwill of others.
Hence, when you give a child lucky money, remember to give him a blessing as well. It will remind him the good old values of this custom and show him your kindness.
Another difference that may help you is that the envelopes today do not have to be red. It can be brown, yellow, or pink. As long as they are decorated with messages or patterns relating to Tet festival, any color can be accepted. The envelopes are sold in any stores and markets so you will not have difficulties while buying it.
The only thing you have to do is to choose a nice one and enjoy the best Tet holidays in Vietnam with explorevietnam.