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Hongbao, or Red Envelopes, are perhaps the favorite part of China's New Year's festivities, especially with children. As the name suggests, Hongbao consist of a small red envelope covered with Chinese New Year designs and usually sealed with a golden sticker. Money is put inside the envelope which is then given to children. Hongbao are used year round for weddings, funerals, as gifts, and as housewarming gifts, but it is during the Chinese New Year that they are most prevalent. The money inside the Hongbao follows strict guidelines.

Traditionally an amount that is a double number is put in, or a number with auspicious meanings like 6, 8, or 9. Up until recently, the money was a small amount, but in recent years the amount has grown considerably. The red envelopes are given by the adults to the children of their friends and family. On the first and second day of Chinese New Year's, children receive Hongbao, but are not allowed to go out, so on the third day, when they are finally allowed out, the children go out on shopping sprees.


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