As much as we all talk about spending precious time with our loved ones during Chinese New Year, we are always looking forward to the Ang Paus.
This statement, however, is true only to the pitiful bachelors out there. The joy of Ang Pau is so infectious that it has also extended to other races, especially the Malays and Indians.
Sadly, besides knowing that these ubiquitous packets contain money, we actually know so little about the story behind it.
The truth is, Ang Pau serves a much more important purpose than making single people happy. The legend goes that the villages in China were once stalked by a monster called the Sui, who brought along ailments.
It would enter the homes during the night and tap three times on the heads of the sleeping children. They would then awaken on the morrow with a terrible fever.
This alarmed their parents who had to take great pains to cure their magically induced ailment. Sui’s visits spelled great sorrow for the people, until one day. An unnamed couple decided to craft a talisman out of vibrant colours to ward off the malevolent spirit. Among the many colours, red and gold were chosen.
True to its nature, the Sui visited the couple’s home during the night. It was about to repeat its cruel act on the couple’s child when its eyes caught a glint in the dark.
The spirit removed the talisman with taloned fingers, then shrank back, repulsed by the red and gold adorning it. It scrambled on all fours, beating a hasty retreat out of the door and into the forest.
Although the Sui never returned to the village, the people were not taking any chances. The success of the couple quickly spread among the villages and the talisman was replicated and placed on the beds of every child. And that was how the Ang Pau was created.
The Ang Pau of today may not serve an important purpose as told in the story, but it is still a vital piece of tradition to bring happiness to the children. With that said, we at HCK Capital would like to wish everyone a very Happy Chinese New Year!