Red envelopes with lucky money – shortly named in Vietnsmese as “lixi” – are everywhere on Tet holidays. “Lixi” is both noun and verb, name of the red envelope with money gift and the act of giving.
Distributing red envelopes is a well-observed custom on Lunar New Year days. It is symbol of happiness and good luck. People believe, that this very simple meaningful act of giving red envelopes opens a channel for sending good wishes and luck both for givers and recievers.
The significance of red packets is the red paper, not the money inside. In Vietnamese pagodas monks prepare red envelopes with 200 vnd/500 vnd banknotes for early year visitors. You can not buy anything with this money. It is purely a symbol. While some business people in Vietnam like to impress receivers with 100 USD bill inside red envelope “lixi”.