On the second day of New Year my mama said to me
2. Mandarin oranges…
When we go visiting during Chinese New Year, we usually bring Mandarin oranges. These oranges are given or exchanged in twos, not one or three. Even when money is given in red packets, it is usually an even number and not odd. The number 4 is to be avoided when putting money in red packets because of what ‘4’ sounds like in Chinese. This number is avoided like the number 13 is avoided.
Mandarin oranges look like gold, and when given in pairs, it is also returned in pairs, symbolic of the giving and returning of good fortune to the people you are visiting or who are visiting you. Why Mandarin oranges and not just any oranges? Well, in Cantonese, Mandarin oranges are called ‘kam’ which sounds like gold, hence the use of Mandarin oranges and not just any oranges.