Skip to main content

Printable Lucky Red Envelopes for the Year of the Ox

Adele has been a youth services librarian for 25 years and a mother to a daughter from China for 20 years.

Printable templates for lucky red envelopes—Year of the Ox.

Printable templates for lucky red envelopes—Year of the Ox.

Chinese New Year Crafts for Kids

Chinese New Year approaches! It's the Year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac cycle. Below are some printable patterns for lucky red envelopes, which are traditionally used to give cash gifts in China. You can use these patterns with a group or one-on-one. They are designed to be suitable for children in preschool (with some help), kindergarten, and elementary school to color, cut, and assemble. If you teach at a school or daycare, or if you are looking for a craft for your children to do at home, these simple patterns allow you an easy way to print and go.

Each of the patterns includes the Chinese characters for the phrase “Happy New Year” along with the pinyin version of that phrase. Pinyin is an alphabetic system that uses letters and diacritical marks to show how to pronounce the words represented by the Chinese characters.

These patterns have been developed for personal or educational use only. Commercial use is prohibited. Most of the images on these templates are used under license from I also have articles with patterns for other printables for the Year of the Ox, including greeting cards, bookmarks, coloring sheets, lanterns, and other projects. If you do an internet search for "Adele Jeunette" and "Year of the Ox," you should find all of the articles.

Year of the Ox: Red Envelope Templates

To print these templates, visit Envelope Templates for Year of the Ox. You can see pictures of each template below. Click on the thumbnails to make them bigger.

If you’d like to have the children make these envelopes as a craft project, you can print the patterns below onto red paper, then have them cut the envelopes out and assemble them.

Another option is to print the templates onto white paper. The children can then color the backgrounds red and use different colors to fill in the designs. For the words and characters, they can use a gold metallic marker or a gold crayon.

Because red is a lucky color in China, people often give their friends and relatives red envelopes with money tucked inside to celebrate the Chinese New Year or other special occasions. The envelopes are embellished with gold because the gold color signifies wealth.

In the Mandarin language, these envelopes are called hong bao (which means "red envelope"), and in Cantonese (a language spoken mostly in southern China), they are called lai see (which means "good luck").

It is customary to give out these envelopes—especially to unmarried children in the family and to the children of close friends and acquaintances—at the new year. Many workplaces give them out to their employees on the last working day before the holiday, similar to how bonuses are given out in other countries.

More about the Year of the Ox in the Chinese Zodiac

The ox is a highly valued animal in Chinese culture, especially because oxen have been so helpful to the people who farm. Many positive characteristics are associated with the ox, which is thought of as being hardworking and honest.

The ox is assigned the second spot in the Chinese zodiac, and every 12th year is named for this sturdy animal. People born in the year of the ox are said to be honest, earnest, and persistent. They think before they talk, are logical, and make good leaders. On the other hand, they can sometimes come off as too quiet or stubborn.

In general, the years designated as Years of the Ox include 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, and 2033. Since a lunar calendar is used to calculate these years, the first day of the new year changes each year. For instance, a baby born in 2021 before February 12th is still considered as being born in the previous zodiac year, the Year of the Rat.

Some of the recommended occupations for oxen are teacher, doctor, lawyer, technician, and office clerk.

Famous People Born in the Year of the Ox

  • Rosa Parks
  • Walt Disney
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Barack Obama
  • Wayne Gretsky

© 2020 Adele Jeunette