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Point of interest: 祝儀袋(しゅうぎぶくろ)& 不祝儀袋(ぶしゅうぎぶくろ)

祝儀袋(しゅうぎぶくろ)& 不祝儀袋(ぶしゅうぎぶくろ) - celebratory and condolence gift envelopes
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In Japan the custom is to give envelopes (usually containing money) for both celebrations such as weddings and births, as well as for solemn occasions such as funerals. Envelopes given on positive occasions are called
しゅうぎぶくろ
祝儀袋
, by combining the word
しゅうぎ
祝儀
(celebration) and the word for 'sack',
ふくろ
. Solemn occasions use the negative prefix
.
Gift envelopes follow standard patterns, and are quite an artform in their own right.
  • The colors of the envelopes match the mood - celebrations were traditionally red or white, but today are generally brightly colored; somber occasions call for black or white.
  • The envelopes are tied around with a special string called a
    みずひき
    水引
    . For funerals and weddings, the string is tied with a special knot called a
    むすびきり
    結び切り
    which cannot be easily untied, representing the idea that the event is a one-off occasion. For other occasions, the 水引 is tied with a
    ちょうむすび
    蝶結び
    or 'butterfly' knot (bow-knot in English), which can easily be tied and retied.
  • Regional variations exist, too - for example, in the Kansai region, a knot called an
    あわじむすび
    淡路結び
    or 'abalone' knot (which cannot be untied) is used for both celebratory and solemn occasions.
  • Of course, the sum of money included in the envelope is also important, with amounts ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 yen. The style of the envelope typically matches the sum included.
  • The text varies by occasion, but is usually one of several standardized expressions, such as
    おいわい
    御祝
    meaning 'celebration',
    ことぶき
    meaning 'longevity' (the original form of 寿), or
    ごれいぜん
    御霊前
    , literally meaning 'before the ghost'.
  • A
    のし
    熨斗
    , or type of origami, is often included on celebratory envelopes. のしぶくろ are also wrapped in a
    ふくさ
    袱紗
    , a folding cloth. Precise rules govern how the cloth should be folded!

Words used in this point of interest

noun
congratulations; celebration; congratulatory gift; tip
(click the word for examples and links)
5
TEST
noun
special envelope for monetary gifts
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
gold and silver
(click the word for examples and links)
6
TEST
1. red and white; colours for festive or auspicious occasions (colors)
noun
2. Red and White singing contest; annual contest between male and female popular singers on New Year's Eve (sponsored and broadcast by NHK)  (see also: 紅白歌合戦; abbreviation)
(click the word for examples and links)
5
TEST
noun
type of ribbon fastening used on wedding gifts, get-well gifts, etc.
(click the word to view an additional 1 form, examples and links)
TEST
noun
1. var. of knot often used to tie mizu-hiki  (see also: 鮑結び)
2. woman's hairstyle, braided in this fashion
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
noun
bow; bowknot
(click the word for examples and links)
TEST
congratulation; congratulations; celebration; festival; congratulatory gift  (see also: 祝い; honorific)
(click the word to view an additional 4 forms, examples and links)
5
TEST
noun
1. congratulations; felicitations; best wishes
2. longevity; long life
(click the word to view an additional 2 forms, examples and links)
5
TEST
noun
"before the spirit of the deceased" (written on the condolence-money envelope)
(click the word to view an additional 1 form, examples and links)
TEST
noun
long thin strip of dried sea-ear or paper attached to a gift  (often written with kana only)
(click the word to view an additional 1 reading and 1 form, examples and links)
TEST
noun
small silk wrapper; small cloth for wiping tea utensils; crepe wrapper
(click the word to view an additional 2 forms, examples and links)
TEST

Kanji used in this point of interest

シュク   シュウ   いわ to celebrate   
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4
ギ    ceremony   
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5
タイ   ふくろ a sack   
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4
フ   ブ    not   
2
スイ   みず water   
1
イン   ひ to pull   ひける to be over   
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3
ケツ   むす    ゆわえる to bind   ゆ to braid   
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5
セツ   サイ   き to cut   きれる to break, to snap   
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2
チョウ    butterfly   
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タン   あわ thin, pale, faint   
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5
ロ   -じ street   
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3
ゴ   ギョ   honorific prefix   おん-    
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3
ジュ   ス   ことぶき longevity   
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寿
ジュ   ス   ことぶき longevity   
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4
レイ   リョウ   たま ghost, spirit, soul   
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5
ゼン   まえ before   
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1
のし noshi = ceremonial origami; to smooth out, to iron   
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ト    Big Dipper   
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5
wrapping cloth
シャ   サ    gauze   
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