How about celebrating in a Japanese way? -Money!

Just like any other country, Japan has its fair share of events worth celebrating. As per custom, you will often need to give some type of gift during said events. What sort of gift you ought to give differs by country, but in Japan, it comes in one of the most liquid forms possible: money! Read up about this custom and why the Japanese do it below!


Japanese Culture

There are many events to celebrate, whether it is a marriage, the birth of a new baby or when a boy grows up to be a man. These are things that people around the world celebrate, each in their own unique way.
How do people celebrate in Japan?

In Japan, it is very common to give money to cerebrate big events, especially between family, relatives or close friends.
I guess there must be people surprised to hear that we give money instead of gifts.
We usually use special envelopes called 'goshugi bukuro' when we give money.
Many of them are sold at stationary shops and we have to choose the right envelope for the right occasion.
There are many kinds of envelopes these days, and it is a little difficult to choose just one given so many choices!

Rules of Goshugi bukuro

As I mentioned, there are multiple kinds of goshugi bukuro.
Did you know there are rules for how to choose the proper one?
Thinking of the events we celebrate, lets start with weddings.
At a wedding ceremony, it is usual for all invited guests to bring money.

Goshugi bukuro are usually decorated and tied with strings called 'mizuhiki'.
At weddings, we have to choose ones that are tied by the way called 'musubikiri' .
Musubikiri is a special knot which cannot be loosened once it is tied.
This comes from the idea that a wedding should be once in a life time.
On the contrary, having an envelope with a bowknot is completely taboo for weddings. It would be appropriate for events which you would be happy to have happen many times again, like a new born baby.


A bowknot is able to be retied repeatedly. You should only use this design for events which are nice to happen many times!


This is 'musubikiri'.

You should chose this design for an event that should not be repeated, like a wedding.

Using new bills.

Using new bills is another important manner for goshugi.
It means 'cerebrating a new start.'.
Also, new bills mean 'I have prepared in advance.'.
On the contrary, it is taboo to bring new bills to a funeral.
Since death should come suddenly, please bring old bills which mean you came in a fluster.

How to fold the envelope

How to fold the envelope is also important.
For cerebrations, please fold it upwards.
It means 'receive all joy'.
If you fold it downwards, it means 'wash sorrows away', so it would be OK for a funeral.

Beautiful designs

I think the largest point of beauty with Goshugi bukuro is the Mizuhiki, or knots.
There are many colors, knots, and designs.
They are all make goshugi bukuro more beautiful and truly make a difference.

A crane is a popular motif which has the meaning of 'celebration' in Japan. A beautiful crane makes it more gorgeous!

Pine tree, bamboo and plum are also very usual motifs for cerebrations.
They are all made by Mizuhiki. Isn't that amazing?
They are very delicate, so usually they are handmade!

These days, colorful new designs are very popular among young people.
They are very stylish but still keep the rules of goshugi bukuro.
I think it is very good to expand traditions in new ways!

Actually, these goshugi bukuro are made by Tenugui, Japanese handkerchiefs! It is very good for the environment to re-use them as handkerchiefs after receiving them as goshugi bukuro.
This type is very popular and easy to find at the store these days.

An addition 

Amusing Kewpie doll goshugi bukuro to celebrate a newborn!

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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