From the OC Register:
During the prelude to the lunar new year, the most popular items at that mall are money envelopes, which are typically sold at kiosks and gift stores filled with party supplies, school accessories and stuffed animals. The envelopes are printed with gold characters symbolizing good fortune and well wishes and are typically filled with money by elders of a family and given to young people. As for the meaning of the tradition, “the recipient gets good luck not only from the encapsulated money but also from the passing on of the culture itself,” according to “The Anthropology of Money in Southern California,” a research project by students in UC Irvine's department of anthropology.

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