Tet red envelope etiquette

Giving lì xì or red envelopes containing lucky money is an integral aspect of Tet. Foreigners are very welcome to join in this custom. Apparently, it’s not the amount of money inside the envelope that counts – it’s the thought – so don’t get hung up deciding on how much to give. Anything from 10,000 vnd upwards is fine, but make sure the money you put in the envelope is new and clean. Many Vietnamese will go to the bank before Tet just to get hold of brand new money for their lì xì. Giving old and tattered notes is considered disrespectful.

If you receive some lucky money, don’t be in a hurry to spend it. It’s better to save your lucky money to use on something special. Both givers and receivers of lì xì will be lucky in the ensuing year. By handing out lì xì, you are inviting the flow of money and luck into your own household.

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