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The Story of Lucky Money in Vietnamese Lunar New Year

July 12, 2023 - 19646 views

Have you ever heard about "Lucky Money"? Are you curious about what it is and where it comes from? Time changes, but the precious ancient tradition will not be affected, and Lucky Money is an outstanding example of the old value in Vietnam. As the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is coming, let's find more reasons why Lucky Money plays a vital role in Vietnam's customs.

Giving Money Is A Valuable Traditional Culture In Vietnam

Giving Money Is A Valuable Traditional Culture In Vietnam

The Legend of Vietnamese Lucky Money

What is Lucky Money?

Lucky Money in Vietnamese is called “Li xi” and this noun came from the words 利市(lìshì, meaning “lucky) and 紅包 (hóngbāo, meaning “red envelope”) in Chinese. Traditionally, Lucky Money is a small amount of money put in a red envelope and then given to children as a wish of luck and wellness that will come to them in the lunar new year.

Traditional Red envelope for giving lucky money

Traditional Style Red Envelope


The root of Lucky Money was from an ancient Chinese tale. In particular, once upon a time, a couple got married for decades and had a little son. However, at that time, there was a devil who always came on New Year's Eve and loved to touch children’s heads while sleeping, then they got sick or became silly. One day, some gods passed by the house of the old couple and knew that the devil would come to this family and harm their son that night. Therefore, to protect the child, the gods turned into some coins and let the mother grab them inside a piece of red paper, putting them right beside her child’s pillow. That night, the devil came; however, it was scared by the twinkling light from the coin and could not put its hands on the child or harm him.

Ancient Chinese Coins

Ancient Chinese Coins Used As Lucky Money

The above story was spread everywhere, and since then, people have started to put little money into red envelopes and give them to the kids. This activity became a habit and has been continued until now.

The Present Story

What Does Lucky Money Mean Now?

Currently, Lucky Money in Vietnam covers more meanings than a small wish of luck for children. People give Lucky Money not only to kids but also to everyone who still studies and cannot earn money themselves, to the elders like parents and grandparents, and even to anyone they respect.

Many people change the traditional little money into a much bigger one. There are many reasons for this situation; however, the development of the Vietnamese economy should be considered the primary cause. Vietnamese said that “Phu quy sinh le nghia” means “Honors change manners” in English. This term refers that the wealthier people are, the more manners are born. As a large part of Vietnamese people become wealthier, Lucky Money is used as a tool to show their manners and reputation. Of course, many Vietnamese simply believe that as their financial situation is better now, they have to share it with their families, relatives, or even friends, and Lucky Money seems a good way for them to do that.

On the other hand, a slight change in the traditional Lucky Money does not mean that it no longer has its valuable ancient meaning. Most people still believe those red envelopes can bring luck to others, so giving Lucky Money is how to wish good things will come to anyone they love. Besides, it is not so bad that people tend to give a large amount of money to children on New Year’s Day. There are more and more couples helping their kids to invest or have a savings account to prepare for their children's future.

Vietnamese Lucky Money

Vietnamese Lucky Money

In business, at present, there are more companies that choose red envelopes with money inside as a special and traditional thanks to their valued customers. It is not only a wish for a lucky new year to their customers but also a way that these companies can help to conserve a precious ancient tradition.

In short

Obviously, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year is different from Western New Year, and the Lucky Money is one traditionally distinctive feature that owns many core values. As the Lunar New Year is coming, Best Price Travel wishes everyone a happy new year full of luck, health, and wealth. If you are planning to travel to Vietnam on this festival occasion, Best Price Travel hope that you can receive some Lucky Money as a grateful wish and you can find the best trip with committed consultants on our website. 

If you are curious about the long-standing traditional culture in Vietnam, do not hesitate to come to this beautiful country with us right away.


(Image source: Internet)

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