During our meeting, we happened to discuss red envelope culture in comparison to the tooth fairy. On one hand, in the United States, when a child loses a tooth, they put their tooth under the pillow before they go to bed and their parents sneak into their rooms that night to leave some amount of money. Parents usually tell their children that the Tooth Fairy had come to visit them afterwards. On the other hand, in China, on New Year’s Eve, parents would sneak into their children’s rooms and slide the red envelopes with money in them under their pillows. In return, the next day, the children would have to 拜年 (Bai nian – pay Happy New Year respects) to their parents. Although, in decades past, the children would get the money right after paying respects to their elders on New Year’s Day, the pillow tradition displays an incredible example of modern-day syncretism between our two cultures. More about this on the Cross-Cultural Contrasts page.