Components

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
, by combining the word
しゅうぎ
(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
    . For funerals and weddings, the string is tied with a special knot called a
    むすびきり
    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
    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
    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
    meaning 'celebration',
    ことぶき
    meaning 'longevity' (the original form of 寿), or
    ごれいぜん
    , literally meaning 'before the ghost'.
  • A
    のし
    , or type of origami, is often included on celebratory envelopes. のしぶくろ are also wrapped in a
    ふくさ
    , 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
5
TEST
noun
special envelope for monetary gifts
TEST
noun
gold and silver
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)
5
TEST
noun
type of ribbon fastening used on wedding gifts, get-well gifts, etc.
(click the word to view an additional 1 form)
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
TEST
noun
bow; bowknot
TEST
congratulation; congratulations; celebration; festival; congratulatory gift  (see also: 祝い; honorific)
(click the word to view an additional 4 forms)
5
TEST
noun
1. congratulations; felicitations; best wishes
2. longevity; long life
(click the word to view an additional 2 forms)
5
TEST
noun
"before the spirit of the deceased" (written on the condolence-money envelope)
(click the word to view an additional 1 form)
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)
TEST
noun
small silk wrapper; small cloth for wiping tea utensils; crepe wrapper
(click the word to view an additional 2 forms)
TEST

Kanji used in this point of interest

シュク   シュウ   いわ to celebrate   
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ギ    ceremony   
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タイ   ふくろ a sack   
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フ   ブ    not   
スイ   みず water   
イン   ひ to pull   
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ケツ   むす to bind   
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セツ   サイ   き to cut   きれる to break, to snap   
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チョウ    butterfly   
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タン   あわ thin, pale, faint   
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ロ   -じ street   
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ゴ   ギョ   honorific prefix   おん-    
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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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レイ   リョウ   たま ghost, spirit, soul   
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ゼン   まえ before   
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のし noshi = ceremonial origami; to smooth out, to iron   
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ト    Big Dipper   
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フク    cloth wrapper   
シャ   サ    gauze   
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