What would be an appropriate gift for a Shifu?

What would be an appropriate gift for a Shifu? Pile of red chinese envelope called hong bao to exchange money with the words a lot of luck and fortune written in chinese and five hundred chinese yuan

We in our western culture have a much different perspective on what to give as a present. In China, the gift should be of value. The more serious the occasion, the more value the gift should have.

Prestige wine, liquor, and expensive foods are common gifts in China, all that is exclusive and hard to get normally. A more respectful approach is a so-called red envelope (Hongbao). More information about what a Hongbao is can be found here.

If possible the Hongbao is preferred to contain RMB, but other currencies should be a viable option to if you are unable to obtain RMB. Depending on your identification with your lineage the Hongbao should include different amounts of money. For a complete stranger, the Hongbao is a very respectful approach, and less money is expected – depending on the occasion the envelope contains around ~50 Euros. If the person is closer to the Shifu (in a student – Master relation), the red envelope may contain between 100 and 300 Euros. These are rough estimates and are not an ultimate rule.

The money should always contain lucky numbers. For example, 1314 sounds similar to yi sheng yi shi and may signal the Shifu that you want to make this training your “lifetime” goal. Avoid the number 4 which is referred to death. Look here for more information on Chinese numbers.

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