Chinese New Year Decoration - Lai See (Red Pocket) Fish




Introduction: Chinese New Year Decoration - Lai See (Red Pocket) Fish

I came across a school of such fishes hanging down from the ceiling of a Chinese restaurant. They surely look great and a lot like real fishes. They are made of the commonly found red pockets widely available in the Chinese communities during the Chinese New Year. I examined the fishes closely, took a number of pictures of them. When I got home I was able to reproduce a number of them.

Chinese New Year is the new year according to the movement of the moon rather than the movement of the sun. It usually takes place around late January to mid-Febuary.

Red pocket is a Chinese tradition. The elder people give out red pockets to children/teenages. There are usually money inside. Chinese children earn quite a fortune during Chinese New Year getting red pockets from their elderly family members, uncles and aunties. Of course, by the Newton's law of action and reaction, the elderly go broke at the same time. Lucky that the red pockets giving only last of 10-15 days.

Fishes are good decoration as well a dish during the Chinese New year because the Chinese pronunciation of "fish" is similar to that of "left over". One gets "left over" because (s)he has too much. Having too much is a sign of richness. So, fishes are good thing to show and to eat during Chinese New Year.

More about Chinese New Year from Wikipedia here.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Very litle.

10 x Red Pockets (of the same kind)
1 x Stapler

Please use red pockets of the same kind to maintain symmetry of the final fisk

Step 2: Start With the Mouth (1)

Fold the corners of two red pockets as follows
- fold the left side corners to the back
- fold the right side corners up.

Step 3: Start With the Month ... (2)

Align the corners of the two red pockets that were folded to the back and staple them together. You now have the mouth of the fish.

Step 4: Continue With the Body ... (1)

Use six red pockets and fold all four corners of each of them up.

Step 5: Continue With the Body ... (2)

Uses four of the red pockets from the previous step. Align a corner from each of the four red pockets and staple it to each of the folded up corners on the fish mouth.

Step 6: Continue With the Body ... (3)

Now you have four dangling red pockets stapled to the fish mouth.

Pick two corners of each of the dangling red pockets and staple them to the corner of their adjacent red pockets.

After the above step, each of the red pocket being the body of the fish will leave one free corner.

Step 7: Continue With the Body ... (4)

You have two red pockets with all four corners folded up, right?

Pick one of these red pockets and staple its two corners to two of the free corners on the fish body.

Pick the left over one and do the same. That is, staple its two corners to remaining last two corners on the fish body.

Staple the corners of the newly attached red pockets together.

Step 8: Finish With the Tail

You should now have two red pockets left.

Pick one, fold it into a nearly cone shape and staple it, so its shape is fix.

Stick the above near cone into the openning at the back of the fish.

Step 9: Whole Fish Is Ready

You now have the fish ready.

You should have one red pocket left. If you like you can repeat what you have done for the tail and stick it also into the openning at the back of the fish so you have a tail that looks alright from every angle.

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4 Discussions


11 years ago on Introduction

i was lucky enough to remember thing after the lion dance at my church so i saved all of them _


12 years ago on Introduction

The fish is so cool, ne chance u could list the size of them there pockets, for those of use not luck enuff to get free money, at least then i can cut shapes out of some nice card or summit. Thanks +1btw


Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

The ones I used are about 11.5cm x 8cm. Yet Lai See (red pockets) come in all kind of sizes. The recent ones are longer and you will then have longer fishes.


12 years ago on Introduction

I am Vietnamese, and I always get Lai Sees on Chinese New Year, my birthday and stuff like that. Now I have something to do with them! +1 rating.