Large crowds of people were seen lining up in front of department stores nationwide early yesterday to claim a “lucky bag” (福袋) on the first day of the Lunar New Year.
Some people were more determined than others, having skipped the nianyeifan (年夜飯) — a family banquet held on Lunar New Year’s Eve — on Thursday to camp out in tents outside some stores.
The practice of giving away “lucky bags” began in Japan a few years ago, with the bags, filled with various goods and prizes, sold at discount prices on New Year’s Day as a way of thanking customers for their support.
Department stores and retailers in Taiwan have picked up the practice, selling the lucky bags as part of the holiday celebration.
The bags’ prices vary from store to store, with the top prizes ranging from cash awards to cars, diamonds, laptop computers, smartphones and holiday resort coupons.
This year, nine cars were given out as the first prize by department stores and retailers nationwide.
A man surnamed Liu (劉), who waited in line in front of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store’s Nanjing W Road branch in Taipei since 9pm on Thursday, was elated when he won a one-karat diamond worth NT$480,000.
“Now I can propose to my girlfriend,” he said.