Chinese New Year Gifting

As a Chinese, I’ve constantly had difficulty keeping up with all the taboos and the customs behind Chinese New Year so I’ve usually wondered how foreigners, specifically those who does not speak the Chinese language, see Chinese New Year. I specifically took pity on the foreigners who has to function in a nation where the locals celebrates Chinese New Year simply because it is customary to give gifts throughout Chinese New Year. And even though gifting itself is a pretty simple act, the taboos associated with Chinese New Year gifting can be confusing.

That becoming said, Chinese New Year practices can be summed up in a list as shown beneath.

Bring oranges or pineapples when visiting

When going to a pal for the duration of Chinese New Year, it is customary to bring along some oranges to exchange with the host. This is due to the fact the bright colour of oranges represents bronze. As such, bringing oranges when visiting signifies bringing luck to the household. Similarly, leaving the property with oranges given by the host signifies becoming blessed with excellent luck as effectively.

Due to the big size of the pineapple, they are hardly ever exchanged but guest are identified to bring pineapple along when visiting their close friends or relatives throughout Chinese New Year. The bright yellow colour represents gold and bringing pineapples signifies bringing excellent luck to the host. Though pineapples are seldom provided to the visitors, hosts are required to give oranges to their guests to thank them for the pineapple and to want them very good luck.

Send gifts in pairs

It is a Chinese belief that excellent factors need to come in pairs and poor factors need to come in ones. That is why fruits placed on the table during Chinese funerals are in odd numbers whereas fruits displayed during Chinese New Years are in even numbers. When bringing gifts, such as oranges, it is advised to bring in pairs. Nevertheless, the number 4 is regarded unlucky due to the similarity between the Chinese pronunciations of ‘four’ (pronounced as ‘si’ in Chinese) and the Chinese pronunciations of ‘death’ (also pronounced as ‘si’ in Chinese). Consequently, even though 4 is an even quantity, one particular ought to never bring gifts in fours.

The number eight, on the other hand, is considered fortunate due to the similarity among the Chinese pronunciation of ‘eight’ (pronounced as ‘ba’ in Chinese) and the Chinese pronunciation of ‘becoming wealthy’ (pronounced as ‘fa’ in Chinese). Hence, sending or bringing gifts in eights is advisable in the course of Chinese New Year. Other even numbers such as two, six, ten, etc. are considered neutral.

Gifts in red

The colour red is in fact related with the monster, Nien. According to legend, Nien visits a Chinese village every year in the course of Chinese New Year to feast on the villagers and destroy their homes. Then, a sensible man came along and instructed all the villagers to paint their property red or cover it up with red paper. When Nien visited the village and saw a pool of red, it thought, “Even I could not have carried out this much harm and spill this much blood. What type of beast could have carried out this?” Just as the monster was panicking, the wise man set the fire crackers off. Upon hearing the loud crackling sound, Nien jumped and ran away in worry. Considering that then, red is regarded as a fortunate colour that drives demons away.

Just before you start off painting your present with red paint though, it is critical to note that the present want not be red inside out. A excellent instance of a excellent Chinese New Year present is the Fiery Fortune (which can be located right here:

Looking at the image shown in the website, you may possibly have noted that the hamper has a range of diverse colours that blends in nicely with red. This shows that as lengthy as the gift, as a entire, is red, it is deemed a great Chinese New Year gift.

Gifts in gold

Gold is the second most common colour throughout Chinese New Year simply because the colour is connected with the Chinese God of Wealth, or ‘Chai Shen’ as Chinese contact him. It is mentioned that each year in the course of Chinese New Year, the god himself would go to the human planet. Being the God of Wealth, Chai Shen would bring a treasure chest full of gold bars and give it away to each home he visits. Hence, a present in gold is deemed fortunate since it signifies being visited by the God of Wealth.

Similar to the colour red, sending a golden-coloured gifts does not imply that the gift has to be doused in gold. The Chinese New Year hamper, Prestigious Fortune (which can be located here:, is a great instance of this.

As seen in the image in the site, the hamper has a chest in gold. However, the wine is red and the fortune cat lucky charm is white with brown. We can clearly see that the gift is, undoubtedly, gold in theme and it has served the purpose of celebrating Chinese New Year with out sacrificing the beauty of getting a range of colours.

Exquisite Food

Exquisite Chinese food, such as abalone, are also excellent gifts. As you may have noted, most Chinese New Year hampers are filled with exquisite meals items. (You can see a list of Chinese New Year hamper right here: Related to the colour gold, meals is also linked with Chai Shen. It is stated that to encourage Chai Shen to stay and to thank him for his generosity, home owners would serve the god with the snacks and meals they had prepared beforehand. Therefore, it is essential to have fantastic meals in the residence throughout Chinese New Year.

Another explanation for the practice of eating exquisite delicacies throughout Chinese New Year is the changing of the seasons. Apparently, Chinese New Year comes appropriate soon after the harvest season which resulted in several farmers possessing excess cash to commit and with the climate becoming too cold to function, many farmers spent their days eating warm and exquisite meals in the property with their family members.


In spite of the complexity, Chinese New Year gifting tradition can be summarized into a list of five. Firstly, you should often bring oranges or pineapple when going to a friend for the duration of Chinese New Year because these fruits resembles luck. Bringing oranges or pineapples when paying an individual a pay a visit to signifies bringing luck to the residence. Secondly, you ought to always send gifts in pairs. However, you need to stay away from sending gifts in fours since it signifies death whereas sending gifts in eights is encouraged because it signifies wealth. Thirdly, you ought to send gifts with a red theme simply because red is deemed a fortunate colour that drives demons away. However, you require not douse the complete gift in red. Fourthly, you can opt for a present that is normally gold in colour due to the fact gold is also a fortunate colour that is said to bring wealth. Fifthly, exquisite meals makes excellent Chinese New Year gifts due to the fact it is a token of appreciation to be provided to the God of Wealth, Chai Shen. Eating exquisite food for the duration of Chinese New Year is also a common practice that dates back to the days when farming is frequent. With that, our list ends and I hope this clears up some confusion you may have had on Chinese New Year gifting.

So, what do you think? Did we miss out any Chinese New Year gifting tradition you and your family members practice? Comment below and share your thoughts.