Red envelope and mooncake emoji are coming to your iPhone
When the Lunar New Year rolls in next February, Apple users will finally have the perfect emoji to celebrate the occasion.
A red envelope and a firecracker are part of over 70 new emoji to be included in the next iOS update, expected to arrive in the coming weeks. They were approved earlier this year by the Unicode Consortium, and are already available on Twitter and in the latest version of Android.
Red envelopes are an essential part of Chinese culture.
Known as hongbao in Mandarin or lai see in Cantonese, they are filled with cash as gifts for New Year celebrations, weddings, births and other happy occasions.
In the last few years, this age-old tradition has received a 21st-century makeover.
More and more people in China are turning to virtual red envelopes -- gift money sent via chat or payment apps. Not only do friends and families exchange digital cash, tech titans like Alibaba and Tencent also give away tens of millions of dollars to users during the New Year.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)
Besides the red envelope, there’s another Chinese holiday-themed emoji coming to iOS 12.1: A mooncake.
These calorie-packed pastries, each filled with lotus seed paste and a whole duck egg yolk, are served during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Lunar calendar, Chinese families come together for a dinner feast while watching the bright full moon.
The red envelope and mooncake aren’t the first emoji related to Asian holidays. Existing ones include the fish-shaped flags (🎏) flown on Children’s Day in Japan (May 5), and the pair of Japanese imperial dolls (🎎) that are displayed in honor of Hinamatsuri, or Girls’ Day (March 3).
(Emoji, of course, originated from Japan -- which explains why there are so many symbols related to the country.)
But perhaps the one new addition that excites us most here at Abacus is… the abacus emoji. (For the record, we have nothing to do with its inclusion.)
For a look at all the 76 new iOS emoji, Emojipedia’s Jeremy Burge has the full list.