4 MOST POPULAR GIFTS TO GIVE FOR BAI NIAN (拜年)
Bai Nian, 拜年, is when you visit your friends’ and family’s houses to exchange Chinese New Year Greetings to each other (If you want to learn the most basic ones, please see post here). Once the Chinese New Year Greetings are exchanged, lucky money then also gets exchanged (Depending on your status, you either give one or receive one… See our infographic to see if you give or receive, here). Now, this bai nian extravaganza starts on “chu 1” (初一), the day after Chinese New Years’ Eve as based from the lunar calendar. And the Chinese are very polite; therefore, us guests don’t show up to a person’s home empty handed… So what’s an appropriate gift?
4 MOST POPULAR GIFTS TO GIVE FOR BAI NIAN AND DURING CNY
ONE. BLUE TIN BUTTER COOKIES 藍罐曲奇.
So Hongkees literally call them the “blue tin butter cookies” in Chinese; albeit, there are lots of butter cookies that are in blue tins, they really only mean this one by Kjeldsens. I’m not even sure if these cookies are popular in Denmark, but they are a legacy and CNY tradition.
You know you’re Asian if you grew up with a blue tin in your house without any cookies in it.. Because your parents have reused the blue tin for other purposes, such as holding my (or your) mom’s sewing kit. Yes, we have a sewing kit, and no, my mom does not sew… You can’t explain all things in this world.
TWO. FERRERO ROCHER 金莎.
The Chinese has got a thing for Ferrero Rocher. I say it’s because of good marketing tactics from Ferrero Rocher as they’re called 金莎 in Chinese. 金 means gold and Ferrero Rocher looks like nuggets of gold, which is an auspicious present to receive!
No joke, but during CNY, you can see walls of Ferrero Rocher boxes stacked floor to ceiling for purchase at supermarkets. That’s how much we like gold. I mean chocolate wrapped in gold coloured foil =D.
THREE. SAU TAO ABALONE NOODLES (壽桃牌鮑魚麵)
This is the healthy alternative. This is a more recent addition to the popular gifts to give, thanks once again to the marketing efforts and this time from Sun Shun Fuk Foods Co., Ltd. As more of the world population ages, we inherently become more health conscious; hence, there needed to be a more healthy option than chocolates and cookies. Inception of these non-fried noodles as gifts! It’s also got great auspicious meaning as well as noodles symbolize longevity and as does the name of the company.
As we Asians love our noodles, they’re a great gift to give, especially to the more elderly members of your family who can’t consume sugar or really calorific foods. To make the noodles “fancy” and “prestigious” for gift-giving purposes, the noodles options are: scallop, abalone and shrimp-egg. The abalone variety is by far the most popular as it is the most “prestigious” variety out of the 3.
Another healthy alternative is to make a fruit basket or to give fruits. This one is pretty common and probably doesn’t need much of an explanation.
Hope you’ve enjoyed The Chinese New Year Series so far! Even if you’re not married, check out our post on the Lucky Money Complexity to make sure you don’t need to give lucky money.