Should you give your parents and in-laws ang baos?
Should you be giving ang bao to both your parents and your in-laws?
Ang baos have been a large part of Chinese (or Southeast Asian) culture for a long time. It is a monetary gift wrapped in a red packet or envelope, given during Chinese New Year, or weddings or during a baby’s birth or even birthdays. Often, married couples are the ones giving ang baos out. However, there is a bit of grey area when it comes to whether or not to give parents ang bao for Chinese New Year.
Do you give parents ang bao for Chinese New Year or special occasions? What about your in-laws?
Many parents continue to give their children ang baos for Chinese New Year even after they have gotten married and have children. But do the married kids then give ang bao to their elders?
The origin of ang bao is from China. During the Qin Dynasty, the elderly would give the younger generation a thread coins with a red string. This represented “money warding off evil spirits” during the Chinese New Year festivities and was believed to protect the person of younger generation from sickness and death.
Today, ang baos come in small red packets and are given with best wishes from the elder to the younger generations. Since Chinese New Year is a celebratory time and meant to be spent with the family, many also choose to give their older generation red packets.
So is there a rule on whether you must give your parents or in-laws ang baos during Chinese New Year? The answer is no.
Every family has a different custom or tradition within the overall Chinese culture. To be safe, you should discuss with your spouse whether or not you are ready to give your parents (and in-laws) ang baos.
As a rule of thumb, both sides of parents should receive the same amount.
So if both you and your husband have decided to give parents ang bao on both sides for Chinese New Year, then begs the question: “How much?”
It is common practice to give more money in ang baos to parents and grandparents out of respect, closeness and gratitude. On average, Singaporeans give their parents or in-laws anywhere in between $88 to $288.
However, one mummy on Facebook shared that when she first got married, they had struggled financially and she decided not to give her in-laws and parents any ang baos for the first few years. Once they had settled down and were more financially stable, they started giving out ang baos to both sides.
How much you give to your parents or in-laws for Chinese New Year ang baos is entirely up to you and should be within affordability range. Most parents and in-laws would be happy to receive ang baos, no matter the amount.
So will you be giving your in-laws and parents ang baos this Chinese New Year?