The Origin of “Li xi” or Lucky Money

There are various legends surrounding the origin of lucky money, but many believe that the cultural tradition of lucky money originated in China. One popular story recounts an ancient tale from the town of Dong Hai, where the demon would appear during the first few days of the new year. The demon had a habit of touching the heads of children, causing them to become weak and sick. Many families lived in fear and had to keep a constant watch over their children throughout Tet.

Lucky Money in Vietnam

8 sparkling coins wrapped in red fabric frighten the demons away

In this tale, a couple who had been childless for many years finally gave birth to a baby. Eight mysterious fairies suddenly appeared to help protect the child. They transformed into eight shimmering coins and instructed the mother to wrap them in a red fabric and then place them under the baby's pillow. That night, when the demon came to harm the baby, it was frightened away by the glittering lights of the coins in the red fabric.

Lucky Money in Vietnam

Giving lucky money to children is to wish for their good health

Soon after, the story spread and from then on, families would place money in red envelopes to protect children from demons. The term "Li xi" was also adopted from the Chinese pronunciation, carrying the meaning of bringing benefits and good things.

The culture of giving lucky money during Tet has become popular not only in China but also in other East Asian countries such as Vietnam, Japan, and South Korea.

The Meaning of Lucky Money during Tet

Li xi is indeed an essential aspect of every Tet celebration in Vietnam. At the beginning of the year, exchanging red envelopes to wish for luck and many good things is customary. Furthermore, it also signifies the appreciation of the individuals giving the lucky money.

In modern times, lucky money can be given to people of all ages and backgrounds. You can give lucky money to children to wish them growth and diligence in their studies. You can also give it to the elderly to wish them longevity and good health. 

Lucky Money in Vietnam

Wishing luck and fortune with lucky money

Additionally, you can give lucky money to friends and loved ones, hoping for their well-being and a prosperous life. Businesses can also give lucky money to their employees, wishing them a productive and successful year.

The act of giving and receiving lucky money on the first day of the new year brings joy and happiness, as it allows you to convey your good wishes to your loved ones. It is not about the monetary value of the lucky money, but rather the sincerity and goodwill you extend to the recipients.

How to Give Lucky Money in Vietnam?

If you're visiting Vietnam during Tet and would like to experience this cultural tradition, please follow the instructions below.

Lucky Money in Vietnam

What is Lucky Money in Vietnam

How Much Money is Enough?

You may wonder how much money to put inside the envelopes. The amount depends on the recipient and their relationship with you. Here are some suggestions for giving lucky money in Vietnam:

  • Elderly individuals: It is customary to put high-value money such as 100,000 VND or 1,000,000 VND in envelopes for the elderly. These amounts symbolize wishing them a long life of a hundred years.

  • Children: You can put 50,000 VND or 100,000 VND in the envelopes for children, but if you choose high-value money, it's advisable to inform their parents to avoid misplacing the money.

  • Friends: Giving lucky money to friends strengthens your friendship. You can put different denominations in the envelopes. Such as 1,000 VND, 2,000 VND, 10,000 VND, 100,000 VND,... then allow them to choose randomly.

  • Employees: Employees often receive Tet bonuses, so you can include their bonuses in the lucky money envelopes as a New Year's wish.

The amount of lucky money to give depends on your level of closeness with the recipient. It should also align with your budget. Plan your lucky money distribution wisely.

Give Lucky Money in Many Ways

The traditional way is to place money inside red envelopes. Then, when meeting with close relatives or friends, you can give them the envelopes and offer them good wishes for the new year. To add more joy, some people incorporate fun games like a lucky draw to create laughter and excitement during the exchange of lucky money.

Lucky Money in Vietnam

Giving lucky money through electronic wallets is a convenient method

Moreover, you can also give lucky money through digital wallets and send good wishes electronically. This is convenient, especially when you are unable to meet your loved ones in person.

Some Essential Tips

  • Always choose new and crisp bills that are not torn or damaged.

  • Select red envelopes that are suitable and visually appealing.

  • Avoid giving lucky money in denominations with the number 4, such as 40,000 or 400,000. In Vietnamese culture, the number 4 is considered unlucky as it sounds similar to the word for "death."

  • Do not open the lucky money envelopes in front of the person who gave them to you. 

To gain more insights, navigate to our post about travel guide to Vietnam!

So you have a good understanding of the cultural practice of giving lucky money in Vietnam, right? It is a beautiful cultural tradition to wish for good things in the new year. If you have the opportunity to visit Vietnam during the Lunar New Year, I encourage you to try giving lucky money to your loved ones. Finally, if you need further advice, please contact New Asia Tours for the best Vietnam travel programs.