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      The Significance of Red Envelopes in Chinese Culture
      發布時間:2021年02月01日     楊曉斌 譯  
      來源: 英語世界
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      The Significance of Red Envelopes in Chinese Culture

      紅包在中國文化中的意義


      How to Properly Gift a Red Envelope

      送紅包的講究


      By Lauren Mack

      文/勞倫·麥克


      A red envelope (hóngbāo) is simply a long, narrow, red envelope. Traditional red envelopes are often decorated with gold Chinese characters, such as happiness and wealth. Variations include red envelopes with cartoon characters depicted and red envelopes from stores and companies that contain coupons and gift certificates inside.


      紅包只不過是一個又長又窄的紅色信封。傳統紅包通常飾有金色的漢字,比如“?!弊趾汀柏敗弊?。其他形式的紅包有的上面印著卡通人物,有的是商店和公司派發,里面裝著優惠券和禮品券。


      How Red Envelopes Are Used

      使用方法


      During Chinese New Year, money is put inside red envelopes which are then handed out to younger generations by their parents, grandparents, relatives, and even close neighbors and friends.


      春節期間,父母、祖父母、親戚,甚至近鄰和好友把錢裝進紅包發給小輩們。


      At some companies, workers may also receive a year-end cash bonus tucked inside a red envelope. Red envelopes are also popular gifts for birthdays and weddings. Some four-character expressions appropriate for a wedding red envelope are 天作之合 (tiānzuò zhīhé, a marriage made in heaven) or 百年好合 (bǎinián hǎo hé, a happy union for 100 years).


      在有些公司,員工還會收到裝在紅包里的現金年終獎。紅包也是受歡迎的生日和結婚賀禮。適合婚禮紅包的一些四字格表達有“天作之合”(上天成全的姻緣)或“百年好合”(兩人一輩子情投意合)。


      Unlike a Western greeting card, red envelopes given at Chinese New Year are typically left unsigned. For birthdays or weddings, a short message, typically a four-character expression, and signature are optional.


      與西方的賀卡不同,中國新年發紅包通常都不署名。生日或婚禮的紅包上,可選擇簡短留言(一般寫四字格祝福)并簽名。


      The Color

      顏色寓意


      Red symbolizes luck and good fortune in Chinese culture. That is why red envelopes are used during Chinese New Year and other celebratory events. Other envelope colors are used for other types of occasions. For example, white envelopes are used for funerals.


      紅色在中國文化中象征著幸運和財富,這就是為什么在中國新年和其他慶?;顒又卸紩玫郊t包。還有其他顏色的信封用于別的場合。例如,白色信封用于葬禮。

       紅包文化

      How to Give and Receive

      收發講究


      Giving and receiving red envelopes, gifts, and even business cards is a solemn act. Therefore, red envelopes, gifts, and name cards are always presented with both hands and also received with both hands.


      收發紅包、禮物甚至商務名片都是很莊重的行為。因此,紅包、禮物和名片等,都要雙手遞接。


      The recipient of a red envelope at Chinese New Year or on his or her birthday should not open it in front of the giver. At Chinese weddings, the procedure is different. At a Chinese wedding, there is a table at the entrance of the wedding reception where guests give their red envelopes to attendants and sign their names on a large scroll. The attendants will immediately open the envelope, count the money inside, and record it on a register next to the guests’ names.


      在春節或生日時,收到了紅包不可當著送禮人的面拆開。中式婚禮則不然,在婚宴入口處擺有一張桌子,來客將紅包交給接待人員并在一幅大大的卷軸上簽名。接待員會立刻打開紅包清點禮金,并在禮單簿上將金額記錄在客人的姓名旁邊。


      A record is kept of how much each guest gives to the newlyweds. This is done for several reasons. One reason is bookkeeping. A record ensures the new-lyweds know how much each guest gave and can verify the amount of money they receive at the end of the wedding from the attendants is the same as what the guests brought. Another reason is that when unmarried guests eventually get married, the bride and groom are typically obliged to give the guest more money than what the newlyweds received at their wedding.


      每位來賓給新婚夫婦多少份子錢都要做好記錄。這樣做有多種原因。一個原因是為了記賬,確保新婚夫婦知道每位客人給了多少錢,并可核對他們在婚禮結束時從接待員那里收到的錢與客人禮金數額是否一致。另一個原因是,未婚客人將來結婚時,新婚夫婦送出的禮金通常得比今天人家給他們的多。


      The Amount

      禮金數額


      Deciding how much money to put into a red envelope depends on the situation. For red envelopes given to children for Chinese New Year, the amount depends on age and the giver’s relationship to the child.


      紅包里該放多少錢,要視情況而定。春節給孩子的紅包,數額取決于孩子的年齡和送禮者與孩子的親疏關系。


      For younger children, the equivalent of about $7 is fine. More money is given to older children and teenagers. The amount is usually enough for the child to buy a gift, like a T-shirt or DVD. Parents may give the child a more substantial amount since material gifts are usually not given during the holidays.


      對于年幼的孩子,給大約相當于7美元的壓歲錢即可。年齡稍大的孩子和青少年,給的錢要多一些,通常夠孩子買一件禮物,比如一件T恤衫或一張DVD。父母可能會給孩子更多的壓歲錢,因為節日期間一般不會給具體的東西當禮物。


      For employees at work, the year-end bonus is typically the equivalent of one month’s wage though the amount can vary from enough money to buy a small gift to more than one month’s wage.


      對于在職雇員來說,年終獎通常相當于一個月的工資,但數額不盡相同,有的足夠買一件小禮物,有的則多于一個月薪水。


      If you go to a wedding, the money in the red envelope should be equivalent to a nice gift that would be given at a Western wedding. Or, it should be enough money to cover the guest’s expense at the wedding. For example, if the wedding dinner costs the newlyweds US$35 per person, then the money in the envelope should be at least US$35.


      要是你去參加婚禮,紅包里的錢應該足夠買西方婚禮上拿得出手的一份精美禮物,或者應該足以支付本人在婚禮上的消耗。例如,要是婚宴上的人均消費是35美元,那么紅包里的錢至少也應該有35美元。


      As with the Chinese New Year, the amount of money is relative to your relationship to the recipient – the closer your relationship is to the bride and groom, the more money is expected. For instance, immediate family like parents and siblings give more money than casual friends. It is not uncommon for business partners to be invited to weddings, and business partners often put more money in the envelope to strengthen the business relationship.


      就像春節一樣,給錢多少取決于送禮人和收禮人的關系——和新郎新娘之間的關系越近,禮金就應越多。比如,像父母和兄弟姐妹這樣的近親會比普通朋友給的錢要多。邀請生意伙伴參加婚禮也很常見,他們通常會在紅包里放更多的錢以加強業務關系。


      Less money is given for birthdays than other holidays because it is viewed as the least important of the three occasions. Nowadays, people often just bring gifts for birthdays.


      與其他節日相比,過生日得到的禮金較少,因為過生日被視為三種場合中最不重要的。如今,給人慶祝生日一般只會帶禮物。


      What Not to Gift

      注意禁忌


      For all occasions, certain amounts of money are to be avoided. Anything with a four is best avoided because 四 (sì, four) sounds similar to 死 (sǐ, death). Even numbers, except four, are better than odd – as good things are believed to come in pairs. For example, gifting $20 is better than $21. Eight is a particularly auspicious number.


      送錢時無論在什么情況下都應避免送出某些特定的數額,最好避免任何帶“四”的數額,因為“四”(sì,四)聽起來很像“死”(sǐ,死亡)。除了“四”之外,偶數總比奇數好——人們相信好事成雙。比如,送20美元比送21美元好?!鞍恕笔且粋€特別吉利的數字。


      The money inside a red envelope should always be new and crisp. Folding the money or giving dirty or wrinkled bills is in bad taste. Coins and checks are avoided, the former because change is not worth much and the latter because checks are not widely used in Asia.


      裝進紅包里的錢總該是嶄新挺括的。把鈔票折疊,或拿臟兮兮、皺巴巴的鈔票送人,都有傷大雅。硬幣和支票莫要送人,前者是因為硬幣不值幾個錢,后者是因為支票在亞洲并未廣泛使用。


      【譯者簡介】


      楊曉斌,浙江臺州學院外國語學院副教授,中國翻譯協會會員,發表學術論文30余篇,編寫教材10余部,撰寫學術專著1部,主持或參與各級科研項目30余項。

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