What the angpow market rate is like for Chinese New Year

What the angpow market rate is like for Chinese New Year

Angpows are traditionally handed out by married couples to parents, singles and kids during Chinese New Year as tokens of prosperity and good fortune.

Angpow, Hongbao or red packets: whichever way you choose to call them, they will always light up the faces of kids and singletons alike.

Traditionally handed out by married couples to parents, singles and kids during Chinese New Year, they are considered tokens of prosperity, good fortune and to some, a blessing.

But for some newly weds, giving angpow may seem like a daunting task. Who do I need to give? How much should I give? What is expected? What is the norm? You must be thinking,”I have just spent a chunk of money on my recent wedding and now I have to hand out more money?”

Well…. yeah, angpow giving is generally expected once you acquire marital status. If you know absolutely nothing about angpow giving, don’t worry too much. You can always bond with your mother-in-law over that, and get a few tips from your own mum as well. Just play it by ear, and observe the other couples in the family to see when they give out angpows. You’ll learn “on the job”.

Who Do I Need to Give?feature

Compulsory during Reunion Dinner (immediate family)

  • Grand Parents (if they are still alive and well)
  • Parents
  • Parents-in-Law
  • Siblings
  • Own Children

Given when they visit

  • Cousins
  • Nephews and Nieces
  • Children of Friends

What Is My Financial Situation?

Consider your financial situation and determine how much you can afford. Do a headcount and budget what works for you. Remember angpow giving is a gesture. A lot of traditional thinking would say it is like a transaction, and that you should always try to match or top what you receive. But that is not necessarily true. It’s great if you want to be generous (if you can afford to be), but being realistic and giving within your means is a wise thing.

credit : fivestarsandamoon

credit : fivestarsandamoon

Remember the special people in your life – your parents for instance – as a sign of gratitude. Even if it may not be as much as you hope, it’s the thought that matters. Either way, I’m sure it would still put a smile on your parent’s face.

What Is The Minimum Acceptable Amount?

What then is the minimum these days? I think considering the current financial situation of the country, the average minimum of RM2-RM5 would suffice. Again this really depends on your individual situations: again the headcount on how many you have to give out in one sitting, and again how close your relations are.

The table below may seem outdated, but I think the average rate is still at this today:


credit : A Malaysian in France

Other Useful Tips

  • Breakdown your headcount and tabulate a total amount
  • Head to the bank to change for new notes at least two weeks before Chinese New Year. They should have a special counter set up for you
  • Pack and label your angpows for your immediate family
  • Organize your angpow according to the denomination
  • CHECK that you don’t mix them up with empty packets. Most time it’s a honest mistake, but it could make someone really unhappy.


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