A home consultation by Hong Kong’s hippest feng shui master

Coconuts Hong Kong:

Those unacquainted with feng shui may think it involves little more than furniture arrangement – interior design with a spiritual twist, if you will.

But Thierry Chow, arguably Hong Kong’s hippest feng shui master at age 27, is determined to bring a more modern and approachable feng shui to the public.

In this Coconuts TV video she visits the home of Coconuts Hong Kong‘s Associate Editor Laurel Chor and gives some feng shui advice.

Chinese billionaire gifts over $1 million to his hometown’s elderly for Chinese New Year

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Next Shark: (By Augustine Reyes Chan)

Many Chinese all over the world receive red envelopes full of cash during Chinese New Year. The money is typically given by the married to children and the unmarried and is supposed to bestow good fortune on those who receive it, as our site explains. Most get around over $100 or more each year. But what if you opened a red envelope and found that you received 10,000 yuan ($1,600) out of a whopping 6.5 million yuan (over $1 million) total?

That’s what Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong gave out for the Spring Festival in the Jiangsu Province in Suqian City this past week. As China Smack reported, Liu Qiangdong gave out the 6.5 million yuan in red envelopes to around 650 elderly people over 60 years old in his village birthplace.

Liu Qiangdong, who is most famous for the Chinese e-commerce site JD.com, China’s second largest online mall, said:

“I grew up here, and without the care and concern of the elders of my hometown, I would not have been able to leave this village, nor would I be the person I am today.”

Liu gave the money to express good will to the elderly and so that they would have a happy new year. He also used the occasion to introduce Zhang Zetian as his “wife,”  although it’s been reported that they just got engaged. The two make up a formidable power couple; Zhang is an internet meme sensation nicknamed Milk Tea Girl, after a photo of her holding up a cup of milk tea went viral. Because of this, she is now a budding film star who just received her first role in a movie last year. They’re also infamous for their age gap; Liu is 19 years older than 21-year-old Zhang.

 

Why do people get cash stuffed into red envelopes during Chinese New Year?

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Next Shark: 

Red envelopes have been a staple of Chinese New Year for as long as anyone can remember. No matter whether you celebrate the holiday or not, you’ve probably wondered why your Asian friends receive red envelopes filled with cash every year. Heck, many recipients of red envelopes don’t know why either.

Origins

Unfortunately, there is no one consensus on where the red envelopes came from. One popular story dates back to the Qing Dynasty, where the elderly would thread coins with a red string. This money was called yāsuì qián, meaning “money warding off evil spirits,” and was believed to protect elder people from sickness and death. As the printing press became more common, the yāsuì qián was replaced with red envelopes.

Another legend tells of a village where a demon would terrorize children at night. It was believed that the demon would touch the children’s heads while they were asleep, causing serious illness or death. From there, a theory emerged that when they prayed, God would send eight fairies to protect the child. The fairies would disguise themselves as eight coins and hide under the child’s pillow. When the demon would get close, the coins would began to shine very bright, blinding the demon. Word began to spread and the villagers started giving out red envelopes filled with coins to each other to put under their pillows at night. As time passed, red envelopes became a way to bring good luck and prosperity to the receiver.

How much do you get?

The amount of money depends on the occasion, but the amount typically ends with an even digit, as odd numbers are traditionally associated with funerals. Additionally, it is believed that money should never be given in fours, nor should the number “4” appear in the amount (i.e: 400, 444, 4004), as the chinese word for “four” sounds similar to the word “death.”

Who gets them?

During Chinese New Year, red envelopes are typically given by the married to children and the unmarried. The red symbolizes good luck and the money wishes the recipient good fortune for times to come. The red envelopes are also used to fend off bad spirits. It’s not uncommon for red envelopes to be given during birthdays and other special occasions as well.

Chinese weddings are also occasions when red envelopes come into play. The amount given is supposed to cover the cost of the attendees and as a way to wish the newlyweds good luck. While red envelopes shouldn’t be opened in front of the giver, it’s different during weddings. During Chinese weddings, there is a table at the front of the wedding reception where guests can drop off red envelopes as gifts and sign their names on a large scroll. The envelopes are then immediately opened, counted and then recorded to show how much each guest gave. Why? It’s mainly to bookkeep and to make sure the money matches with what the guests brought at the end of the night. Another reasons is that when single guests finally get married, the bride and groom are expected to give the guest more money than what they received at their own wedding.

At work, it’s a tradition that Chinese companies give away red envelopes to their employees on the eve of Chinese New Year. Alibaba has participated in the tradition before, however, according to Fortune, CEO Jack Ma recently announced that they will not give away red envelopes this year due to mediocre performance.

Other Etiquette

You’re also supposed to avoid putting coins in the envelopes, which makes it difficult for people to gauge the amount before opening. Also it’s tradition to put crisp, new bills inside, which explains why my grandma always went to the bank to switch old bills with new ones every year.

So, there you have it… Happy Chinese New Year!

Chen Man x Beats by Dre 2015 “Year of the Sheep” Solo2 Headphones

5 Outfits inspired by New Year’s traditions in Asia

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 Audrey Magazine: 

Every New Year’s Eve, many families and cultures have their own set of traditions  to ensure good luck, good fortune and good health within the coming new year. Of course, we’ll be needing plenty of that.

We looked up some of the more popular traditions practiced amongst in Asian countries and drew inspiration for 5 New Year’s Eve outfits. They’ll have you feeling super stylin’ and extra lucky! Cheers to the New Year!

 


 

1. China — All Red Everything

Those who love red are in luck. In China, red is believed to symbolize good luck and fortune. It’s no surprise to see almost everyone dressed in all-red everything during New Year’s. This New Year-inspired outfit is dedicated to the sporty folks. Juxtaposition is the key here: a frilly lace top paired with your fave sneakers, and pulled together with a pair of boyfriend jeans. (Yass!)

(Floral Lace Top: H&M, Jeans Boyfriend fit: H&M, New Balance 574 Suede/Mesh Red Trainers: ASOS)

 


 

2. China – Lion Dance

Another tradition of Chinese New Year is the Lion dance where performers dress up like a lion and mimic a lion’s movements. Fittingly, this outfit is for those who plan to pull their fiercest moves on the dance floor. We wanted this outfit to be vibrant and lively just like the Lion. Taking into consideration that no woman would want to worry about a wardrobe malfunction while busting a groove, we opted for rich burgundy, velvet shorts.

(Layered Sweater with Sheer Fabric: ZARA, Nasty Gal x Nila Anthony Faux Fur Life Clutch: Nasty Gal, Stretch Velvet Tap Short: American Apparel)

 


 

3. Thailand – Talc Smearing

In Thailand, people celebrate the New Year with something called talc smearing. They douse each other with water (bust out the Super Soakers!), and throw grey or white talcum powder afterwards. We thought it’d be a great idea to create an all-grey look inspired from the festivities. The  key to pulling off a monochromatic fit like this is to play up the different shades of the grey, vary the textures and balance the fabric weights.

(Ribbed Asymmetrical Cardigan: Forever 21,  Box Pleated Culotte Pants: Forever 21, Madelyn Utility Blouse: TOBI)

 


 

4. Philippines – Polka Dots

In the Philippines, polka dots are a must for the New Year’s if you’re looking to strike it rich. Wearing polka dots and eating round fruits are said to guarantee wealth because it’s believed that the circles represent coins. For this look, we chose to keep the polka dots subtle by breaking up the pattern in a dress and purse with a simple structured coat.

(Leather Bag with Perforated Front Panel: ASOS, Women Flannel Printed Long Sleeve Shirt Dress: Uniqlo, Long Double Breasted Handmade Coat: ZARA)

 


 

5. Japan – Zodiac Dress Up

In Japan, people will dress up as the upcoming year’s zodiac animal and 2015 will be all about the Sheep. We wanted the highlight of this outfit to be a wool coat so everything else is kept nice and simple with a dark jumpsuit– a must-have closet staple. Not to mention, this outfit is very fitting for those celebrating in much colder climates.

(Faux Fur Coat: H&M, Gold Sheep Necklace: Etsy, Strapless Jumpsuit: H&M)