Choosing an appropriate gift for a Chinese wedding anniversary is influenced by tradition and even superstition. Unlike as in the West, the colour white should be avoided since it is associated with death, as is the number four. Monetary gifts for weddings are traditionally given in red envelopes. Jade is considered a good wedding gift because of its association with beauty and immortality.
Hongbao Red Envelopes
"Hongbao" is the Mandarin term for "red packet" or "red envelope." This is a traditional Chinese gift given during weddings and at the new year and other significant celebrations. Typically, older couples offer this gift to the younger married couple; a younger unmarried individual is not expected to offer a hongbao. The envelope is usually filled with money and sometimes gold jewellery. In giving money, numerology is important as the number four signifies death while the number six signifies luck. So rather than offering £26, a lucky £39 would be more appropriate.
Shuang Xi for Double Happiness
"Shuang Xi" is the Chinese character meaning "double happiness." This character, often found in shades of lucky red or orange, is a common decoration seen during wedding celebrations. This character is believed to bring luck and joy into the marriage. You can find the shuang xi symbol engraved on wood or ivory or in a picture frame at Chinese gift shops.
Jade ("yu" in Chinese) symbolises beauty, nobility, energy and immortality. This is another traditional gift given during Chinese ceremonies. It can be in the form of jewellery, such as a jade bangle or pendant, or as a decorative sculpture. Many Chinese women wear a jade bangle because of the superstition that it protects you from ill health and physical harm. Jade sculptures in the shape of fish are appropriate gifts because the Chinese see them as fertility symbols.
Chinese culture is driven by tradition and superstition in every aspect of people's lives. Feng shui is practised to balance the energy in their homes, and t'ai chie the energy in their bodies. In giving wedding gifts, the number four and the colour white should be avoided as both are symbolic of death. The colour green should be shunned because it indicates infidelity; a gift of shoes suggests that one spouse will run out on the other.
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