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Printable Envelopes and Bookmarks for Year of the Pig: Kids' Crafts for Chinese New Year

Adele Jeunette has been a youth librarian for 20 years and a mother to a child from China for 18 years.

Printable Bookmarks and Envelopes for Year of the Pig

Printable Bookmarks and Envelopes for Year of the Pig

Year of the Pig

When the Chinese New Year starts on February 5 of 2019, the date will herald the Year of the Pig. Here is a roundup of several printable patterns for envelopes and bookmarks suitable for preschool or elementary-age children to color, cut, and assemble. If you teach at a school or are looking for a craft for your children to do at home, these simple patterns allow you to print and go.

Each template includes the Chinese characters for “Happy New Year” along with the pinyin version. (Pinyin is an alphabetic system that shows how to pronounce words.)

For more craft ideas, see Easy Printable Projects for Year of the Dog.

How to Use These Patterns

At the end of each section, you will find the links for printable templates. I have one link for all the envelopes, and one for all the bookmarks.

You may use these patterns for personal or educational use. Commercial use is prohibited. Most of the images are used under license from

Lucky Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year

In China, red is a lucky color, and people often give friends and relatives red envelopes with money during Chinese New Year or other special occasions. The envelopes will usually have some sort of gold embellishment on them since gold signifies wealth.

The Mandarin word for these envelopes is hong bao (which means “red envelope”), while Cantonese call them lai see (which means “good luck"). Mandarin is the official language in China, but many of the people in the south speak a variant of the related Cantonese language.

It is customary for people to give out these envelopes, especially to unmarried children in the family and to the children of close friends and acquaintances. Many workplaces also give them out to employees on the last working day before the holiday, making them sort of like a bonus.

How Much Money Do You Give?

How much money you give depends upon who is giving and who is receiving. There are some guidelines for the amount which is appropriate to give to different people, depending on how close they are to you.

  • One guideline says that you should not give money in any multiple with the number “4” in it, as 4s are considered to be unlucky. The Mandarin word for “four” sounds similar to the word for “death,” and the Chinese have lots of traditions based on words that sound alike.
  • On the other hand, the number “8” is considered to be lucky since the word “eight” sounds similar to the word for “to make a fortune.” (Now you know why the Chinese started the Olympic Games on 8/08/2008. They considered the date to be propitious.)
  • By this logic, you would not want to give someone 400 yuan (the yuan is their unit of money), but giving them 800 yuan would be lucky.

If you’d like to have the children make their own envelopes, you can print the patterns below out onto red paper. Then have them cut them out and assemble them. You can also print them onto white paper. That way, the children can color the background red and use different colors for the design. They can also use a gold metallic sharpie or a gold crayon to outline the pictures and the words.

Suggested Envelopes and Chocolate Coins

Here's an idea I've seen in the US for handing out red envelopes to groups: put a chocolate coin in the envelope. They are relatively inexpensive, but still, they give the idea of money. And most kids are happier with a piece of chocolate than with a small amount of money like a dime or nickel.

Below are some images of supplies that you can buy on Amazon. The Red Envelopes in Colors feature nice-looking illustrations. Sometimes, the adhesive isn’t all that strong, but that doesn’t matter much to me because they don’t have to hold very long. The Solid Milk Chocolate Large Kennedy Gold Coins are fairly big, but they still fit nicely in the envelopes. They are affordable and of good quality.

Patterns for Year of the Pig Bookmarks

Below are several patterns for bookmarks that feature pig images along with the Chinese character for pig and the phrase "Happy New Year!" written in English, pinyin, and Chinese characters.

At the end of this section, you will find the link for the printable templates.

I usually print these images onto card stock, which makes for a sturdy bookmark. Cut along the heavy black lines to cut out each one.

A Bookmark to Decorate Yourself

I've left this bookmark blank on the top so that you can choose your own decoration. You can cut out a picture of a pig and attach it to the top. Or, you can draw a pig in the space at the top.

© 2018 Adele Jeunette


Kevily Deng on January 21, 2019:

Thank you SOOO MUCH for the sharing!