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Red Chinese New Year Envelopes Get a Yellow Umbrella Makeover in Hong Kong

A set of yellow umbrella red envelopes distributed by Um dot dot dot.

A set of yellow umbrella red envelopes distributed by Um dot dot dot.

The Lunar Chinese New Year is approaching, and that means people in Hong Kong will soon be blessing the elderly and children in their families by giving them special red envelopes.

The red envelopes, which contain money, are traditionally printed with seasonal greetings and well wishes, such as “prosperity like the blossoming flowers”, “good fortune in New Year”, “good health”, and “progress in studies”.

This year, a new envelope design features yellow umbrellas, reflecting some Hong Kongers’ New Year's wish for genuine democracy in their city.

The pro-democracy movement demanding that the Beijing and Hong Kong governments allow citizens to nominate the candidates for the city's top leaders did not end in December when police cleared the sit-in sites, where activists had camped out for three months. Supporters of the Umbrella Revolution — so called for protesters who used umbrellas to protect themselves from police tear gas and pepper spray — have carried on using a variety of strategies, such as participating in “shopping protests“, creating street art and hosting community education initiatives.

The umbrella-themed red envelopes are part of a fundraising project from Facebook community “Um dot dot dot“, a volunteer group that aims to keep the movement going by raising the political awareness of grassroots communities.

The top of the red envelopes read, “I want genuine blessed red envelopes and won't pocket the empty ones”, “Love Hong Kong, we are Hong Kongers” and “Hong Kongers, keep going”. The first sentence is a reference to government propaganda that urges Hong Kong people to pocket its political reform package, which allows for a direct vote of the city's chief executive for the first time, but doesn't allow for citizens to choose the candidates.

Take a closer look at the design of the envelopes below:

The envelope cover says: I want genuine blessed red envelopes and won't pocket the empty ones.

“I want genuine blessed red envelopes and won't pocket the empty ones.”

"I want genuine blessed red envelope."

“I want a genuine blessed red envelope.”

"Love HK CUZ We're HongKongers."

“Love HK cuz we're Hong Kongers.”

"HongKongers keep going. I want genuine blessed red envelope."

“Hong Kongers, keep going. I want a genuine blessed red envelope.”

"Love Hong Kong CUZ we are KongKongers."

“Love Hong Kong cuz we are Hong Kongers.”

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