Red envelopes, Hong Bao, of money are traditionally given to children at New Year’s.

According to legend, a mythical monster Sui came on New Year’s Eve to harm children. A sleeping child touched by Sui would become sick. Parents prayed sincerely and God sent eight guards disguised as coins to protect the children.

The custom became threading eight coins on a red string and placing them under children’s pillows to ward off Sui. As time passed, paper notes replaced the coins, and the red envelope replaced the thread.

Make your own Hong Bao using these traditional Chinese characters. Red Envelopes characters