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How to Celebrate Lunar New Year at Work

The coming of spring means the start of a new lunar year. Bring your team good fortune and celebrate Lunar New Year with these virtual activities!

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Two 3D-model kids wearing Tang suits riding a festive tiger
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What is the Lunar New Year? 🐉

Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is a festival that lasts as many as 15 days, beginning on the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ending on the first full moon of the lunar year.

Because of the variation of the lunisolar calendar, this holiday falls somewhere between January 21 and February 20. Around 10 days before New Year's Eve, many families initiate a spring cleaning in order to remove any bad luck and evil spirits that may be lingering from the year prior.

Lunar New Year is celebrated by more than 1.5 billion people in the world, including China, Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, and more. 

Traditionally, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are when celebrations with family occur, including religious ceremonies that honor ancestors. Some added traditions of the New Year celebrations include the giving of red envelopes containing small amounts of money, and the Lantern Festival, which includes fireworks, paper lanterns, and a lion dance performance.

Celebrations for Lunar New Year vary across many Asian countries:

  • In China, families exchange lucky traditional foods such as Tang Yuan, which are sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity, and prosperity salad, made of fish and vegetables.
  • In Vietnam, to celebrate the Lunar New Year known as Tết, people adorn their homes with special plants and flowers, like kumquat trees and peach and apricot blossoms, to symbolize good fortune and prosperity in the new year.
  • In Malaysia, cultural celebrations known as Pai Thnee Kong and Thnee Kong Sei occur on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year. At these festivals, people offer food, flowers, and fruits to adorn the altar of the Jade Emperor on his birthday.
  • In South Korea, the Lunar New Year is a three-day holiday known as Seollal, which includes visits with family, ancestral ceremonies, folk games, and bonfires to bring luck into the new year.

Why should you celebrate Lunar New Year with your team? 🤔

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is the largest social and economic holiday for billions of people around the world! Chances are, you have multiple people on your team who celebrate the holiday, too.

Regardless of how many people on your team celebrate Chinese New Year outside of work, it's important to promote diverse perspectives and add visibility for holidays of all cultural backgrounds to your calendar of celebrations.

5 ideas for virtual Lunar New Year activities with your remote team:

1. Dumpling Making Class 🥟

Food is a staple in any New Year celebration. Many different cultural dishes are used to symbolize the well wishes being brought into the new year. For example, fish represents fortune, noodles symbolize longevity, spring rolls bring a fresh start, and glutinous rice cakes a rise in career and salary.

One of the widely-loved and symbolic foods eaten during the spring festival are dumplings! Dumplings are traditionally known as a lucky money food in China, symbolizing wealth due to their shape that's similar to ancient Chinese gold ingots. The Chinese name 'jiaozi' means a changing of years, which is why dumplings are eaten on Lunar New Year's Eve!

Why is this a great Lunar New Year activity? Gathering together to learn how to make your own filling and fold dumplings is a great way to immerse yourself in Lunar New Year culture in a hands-on activity that'll leave you with some tasty leftovers, too!

How to get started 👉 Spread good fortune in a Dumpling Making Class!
Virtual Dumpling Making Class

2. Chinese Tea Tasting 🍵

Tea is another cultural touchstone in the celebration of the lunisolar new year. In many cultural regions, tea ceremonies are performed with family members, with each cup carrying a new meaning for the upcoming year.

Some families brew special teas, like Pu'erh, first sharing with the eldest member of the family who then passes it onto younger members of the family. Teas are served alongside other sweet treats and mandarin oranges, for added luck and prosperity.

Gather your virtual team for a Chinese tea tasting class to learn more about this ancient ceremony and its use in regional Lunar New Year celebrations.

Why is this a great Lunar New Year activity? A tea tasting class is a great way to learn more about the nuances in tea ceremonies, as well as regional flavors and history behind the teas we know and love.

How to get started 👉 Celebrate the Chinese New Year with a Chinese Tea Tasting Class!
Virtual Chinese Tea Tasting

3. Exchange lucky red envelopes with your team 🧧

The importance of these red envelopes, known as hóngbāo, aren't in the cash they contain, but actually in the color red itself. In Chinese and East Asian cultures, red symbolizes prosperity and good luck.

Carry on the tradition of stuffing red envelopes with a crisp money bill to reward your teammates with coffee or another treat.

Why is this a great Lunar New Year activity? Gifting members of your team with a red envelope, in person or virtually, is a great way to spread the cheer of the coming spring and thank your team for all they do!

How to get started 👉 Grab some red paper and red envelopes and share a New Year greeting with your team! If you’d like to add a twist on the tradition, organize it so it’s an office-wide exchange, rather than a gift from one higher-up, where everyone is assigned a recipient. 

4. Exploring Lunar New Year Art & Culture 🐉

Many people may not realize that the Lunar New Year is one of the oldest and widely celebrated holidays in China and East Asian countries, like Korea and Vietnam. Because the holiday centers on family reunions, it also leads to the world's largest migration each year!

Gather your team for a full lesson on the holiday's history and meaning. There are so many different ways it’s celebrated throughout East Asian culture, through works of art, cultural practices, food, and more!

Why is this a great Lunar New Year activity? Gathering for a lesson behind the mythology and history of this two-week long holiday is a fun opportunity to learn more about other cultures. Plus, it's a great employee engagement activity that centers on diversity, equity, and inclusion!

How to get started 👉 Learn about one of the most significant holidays in Exploring Lunar New Year Art & Culture!
Virtual Exploring Lunar New Year Art & Culture

5. Learn about Chinese calligraphy ✒️

Many people don't know about the evolution of the Chinese language, which is a lesson on innovation and resilience. Taking a workshop on identity through calligraphy is a creative way to learn more about East Asian culture during the New Year, while examining what names and identity mean to us, including how it shapes our lives.

Why is this a great Lunar New Year activity? Taking a class on identity through calligraphy together is a great way to strengthen bonds within your team, building trust and respect for one another, which is what the holiday is all about!

How to get started 👉 Celebrate Chinese culture in Identity Through Chinese Calligraphy!
Virtual Identity Through Chinese Calligraphy

6. Spring clean the office 🧹

This activity may not sound like the most fun, but we promise it’s extremely effective, and an important tradition at the start of the Lunar New Year. Whether you work in an office or from home, set aside some time to disinfect your keyboard, wipe down your monitor and desk, and finally throw away those old papers stacking up and collecting dust.

The start of the Lunar New Year is the perfect time to finally organize the files and documents on your desktop, clear out the trash taking up your hard drive’s storage space, and make room for your work in the new year.

Why is this a great Lunar New Year activity? Spring cleaning is a Lunar New Year tradition that symbolizes driving away the previous year’s bad luck in order to make room for new blessings and prosperity. 

How to get started 👉 Put some time on the company calendar for everyone to chip in and declutter the office as a team or clean their office set-ups from home!

Confetti wishes you good fortune and a prosperous year ahead! 🎉

There is no better way to honor the meaning of the Spring Festival than by spending time with your coworkers and loved ones. Ready to plan a virtual celebration and wish your team prosperity in the year ahead? Browse our Lunar New Year Collection to get started!

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