I was triggered to think about this because I heard of somebody passing away today and somebody else giving the 'Pak Kum'. A direct translation of that is 'white gold' but its not really gold. Its the money that Chinese will give to the family of the deceased, usually in a white envelope.
Anyway, we Chinese give money at almost all occasions. While it is practical and often useful, it sometimes seems like the easy way out to me. After all, it takes time and effort to give a thoughtful gift. Here are the occasions that I can think of where cash is given.
Your Full Moon - One month after you are born. Comes in a red packet with cash known as the Ang Pow.
Each of your birthdays - Your parents will probably get you a present but grandparents/aunts/uncles tend to give you Ang Pow. Peers will give gifts.
Your Wedding - Ang Pows from all guests. This really helps to defray the costs of the celebration. During the tea ceremony, family members sometimes also give jewellery. I have heard of some instances here in Australia where people have also started to ask for cash instead of presents.
Chinese New Year - If you are married, you have to give Ang Pow to any unmarried person you. Once people start working, they also give to their parents and grand parents. I have been paying out for 7 years but in 2008, I'll be collecting! Well, Aaron will be anyway :)
Your Funeral - As mentioned above, people will usually give Pak Kum to the family.