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Lunar New Year Celebrations in the SF Bay Area

This year we celebrated Lunar New Year at our company in several sites, for SF it was a catered lunch ($15), with lantern making, lion dancing, singing and tea tasting. We are also having a photo contest at work with contributions from historical photos, team member family photos and event photos. We have had so much fun. We have held a LNY celebration for several years now, and the planning and execution is getting easier. We are all becoming better leaders and event hosts. This is a side benefit of working on these events – we learn new skills. Our group is Asian Connection – Bay Area…. and this is a volunteer activity that we create for our team members…. we all have regular day jobs, but sharing culture, diversity and fun is so important too!

 

I was the tea lady.  This was interesting for me because, although I love tea, I was able to learn about the ways it was picked and prepared, and the health benefits.

When / What is Lunar New Year?  February 5, 2019. For this year, the date is determined by the lunar calendar, this is  Year of the Pig. Last year was Year of  the Dog, and we walked in the SF Parade, which is the largest parade outside of Asia! This was a winding trek through downtown SF and Chinatown, with spectators clapping and cheering and firecrackers going off everywhere. We walked with other corporations, school groups, Lion Dancers, Traditional dancers, stilt walkers,, martial arts groups, historical groups, cultural groups, museums and many college bands. The atmosphere was lively and energetic. (that is a bit of an understatement!)

Lunar New Year is a public holiday in China, which lasts for a few days. It is also a public holiday in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.

The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in that cycle related to an animal sign. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The start date is calculated according to Chinese lunar calendar.

History

Most of the top traditions of Chinese New Year observed during the 15-day holiday serve one purpose: to usher in a year of good fortune and prosperity.

The ancient Chinese lunar calendar, on which Chinese New Year is based, functioned as a religious, dynastic and social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records indicate that the calendar existed as early as 14th century B.C., when the Shang Dynasty was ruling.

Traditionally, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are reserved for family celebrations, including religious ceremonies honoring ancestors.

Also on New Year’s Day, family members receive red envelopes (lai see) containing small amounts of money. Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this night, colorful lanterns light up the houses, and traditional foods such as yuanxiao (sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity), fagao (prosperity cake), and yusheng (raw fish and vegetable salad) are served.

Tasting Tea and Having Fun

Learn more about Lion Dances

 

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