CNY Ang Bao Rates in Singapore 2019: How Much To Put In Red Packets

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cny ang bao rates guide
(Credit: ThamKC / Shutterstock)

And finally, Chinese New Year is around the corner! A season of feasting and receiving ang baos — it sparks so much excitement and joy for all of us (if you’re unmarried that is)! However, if you’re no longer on the receiving end but have hopped on over to the married club, it’s time to crack your head over the current ang bao rates. Fret not though, let our ang bao rate guide help you along!

According to Chinese traditions, ang baos which are essentially monetary gifts, are given out at family gatherings as a representation of one’s goodwill towards the receiver. In our CNY ang bao rate guide, you will be equipped with important tips and tricks for the upcoming CNY season.

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General Rule

As a general rule of thumb, one should avoid odd numbers as it’s deemed inauspicious. Even numbers are believed to be more “wholesome” and bring stability to the receiver. That being said, the digit “4” should be avoided (even though it is clearly an even number). This is because when spoken in Chinese, “4” sounds like the word “death” and hence is a faux pas in Chinese culture. Which means that you should avoid denominations such as $4, $14, $40 or $44 in ang baos. 

Ang bao rates usually encompass the digit “8” because it sounds like the word “fortune”, deeming it to be an auspicious number. This symbolises your well wishes for the recipient and will earn you those approving smiles and nods from older folks!

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Recommended Ang Bao Rates: By Hierarchy

Logically speaking, ang baos with the highest cash amounts are reserved for those closest to you (parents, spouses, in-laws and children), followed by extended family members (cousins, nephews and nieces). Next up would be friends’ children who come to visit during the festivities followed by co-workers and domestic helpers. Ang baos are usually not exchanged between adult friends but instead, mandarin oranges and liquor will be brought to house visits.

1. Close Family (Parents, Spouse, In-Laws, Children)
Recommended Amount: $188-500

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The largest ang baos are usually reserved for one’s parents and this token sum is a symbol of filial piety and gratitude towards them for your upbringing over the years. While ang baos for your little ones will symbolise your love and well wishes for them!

2. Extended Family (Cousins, Nephews and Nieces)
Recommended Amount: $8-$50

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You are obligated to give your extended family members an ang bao each but the ang bao rates can vary. It all depends on how close you are to that particular family member! A good estimate would be one which you do not mind receiving yourself.

3. Children Who Visit
Recommended Amount: $6-$8

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The ang bao rate for your friends’ or colleagues’ children (or random children who visit you for that matter) can range between $6 to $8 to represent your wishes for them to grow up well and to have a bright future.

4. Co-workers and Domestic Helpers
Recommended Amount: $6-12

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It is a healthy practice to prepare ang baos for your co-workers as well as your domestic helpers! Take this opportunity to show appreciation to your co-workers who hustled hard with you over the year. And not forgetting to also give thanks to your domestic helper who helped to keep your house in order! The ang bao rate for them lies between $6 to $12.

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With this guide informing you of the ang bao rates, you’ll have an easier time preparing your red packets this year! As much as ours is a convenient guide to follow, it is not set in stone! Ang baos are symbolic gestures more than anything else and you should always give within your own financial means. After all, it’s the thought that counts the most!

And while you’re at it, why not check out our articles on cheongsams for CNY this year or learn about where you could get some nail art done before the festive season? Or perhaps even prepare some super shiok snacks for your relatives to snack on during those CNY gatherings!


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