China Elevator Stories

Weddings And Gifts

I chat with a cab driver in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


When I get in the cab, I tell the driver I need to go to the airport.

He asks me: “Are you flying back home?”
I answer: “I don’t, I’m flying to Kunming, one of my best friends is getting married.”

money envelope China - Ruth Silbermayr

He then wants to know: “Do you have a tradition of giving the couple gifts on their wedding?”
“We do. Since a couple used to move to their own place when they got married in the past, we would traditionally give them presents such as furniture or kitchen utensils. Nowadays, we often give them money instead, just like hongbao (红包, little red envelopes with money inside), but without the red envelope.”

He asks: “Do you just shove the money into their hands then?”
I answer him: “Oh no, that would be considered quite rude. We also put it into an envelope or something else.”
“I see.”

Do you have your own gift giving customs?

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