Before WeChat made sharing a ‘hongbao’ so convenient, the ‘red envelope’ refers to a physical CNY gift of cash wrapped with red paper given to the kids by their parents, grandparents and other adults.
It is believed that the combination of money and red paper helps to keep the legendary harmful creatures away. The amount of money depends on the relationship, income level of the giver and regions. As China grows more prosperous, Chinese children are increasingly pulling in seriously considerable hauls of red envelop money.
A 2016 nationwide survey said that Chinese kids received an average of RMB457 that year, according to Xinhua. RMB100 to 500 is generally acceptable amount of money to put into a red envelop, though the survey found that some mind-blogging hongbaos of 5,000 yuan were given in Zhejiang and Fujian Province.
When CNY celebration ends, one question always pops up: what would they do with the money? Getting a new toy or buying favorite snacks? Parents’ intervention makes this decision complicated.
It is generally accepted that parents help to take care of their young kids’ Spring Festival treasure troves, until the child is able to manage the money on their own. Commonly, the money would be deposited into a bank account and await further use.
In some extreme cases, however, temporary money keeping for minors can turn into court cases.
A university girl, identified as Juan, from China’s Yunnan Province won a court case against her parents who took over her lucky money for years, totaling RMB 58,000, reports Tencent News.
The university student’s divorced parents were reluctant to support her in education and life. The court’s verdict found it was a violation of a citizen’s property right and ordered the guilty parents to pay RMB1,500 per month for their daughter’s tuition fees and life expenses until her graduation.
The controversial case has divided opinions on who this lucky money really belongs to. Some complain about parents’ financial control over their children in the name of ‘for your own good,’ while the others see the appropriation of hongbao cash as a just repayment for parents’ years of selfless devotion to their offspring.
The law does recognize children’s right of procession over their red envelopes. In fact, Chinese youngsters often joke about parents pocketing their lucky money forever, given that few actually ask for the money back when they become adults.
As society develops, kids and parents have more consensus on the disposal of money that kids have received. Some parents take this opportunity to instruct their kids on how to make good use of the money in order to educate them on money management.
What are you and your wee ones going to do with this year’s lucky money? Share with us below!
[Images via ThoughtCo]