The year of the rabbit: how to celebrate Chinese and Lunar New Year at work
On 22nd January Chinese New Year will arrive, and this year it is the year of the rabbit. It’s good to be aware that some of your colleagues may celebrate this as it might be an important time of year for them.
In this guest article, Jonny Edser, an expert from Wildgoose, discusses what Chinese New Year is and shares some tips on how to celebrate the Chinese & Lunar new year at work.
Just because you don’t traditionally celebrate the Chinese New Year, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start. It’s something that can be socially good for a workforce whilst also being inclusive to people from different cultures and backgrounds.
What is Chinese New Year?
This history of the Chinese New Year stems back over 3500 years and originated within the Shang Dynasty. Chinese New Year is a 15-day festival celebration also known as The Spring Festival or (春节).
The meaning of the celebration revolves around celebrating all things positive and wishing peace, health, longevity and luck for the new year. It focuses on starting fresh for the year and removing anything negative.
Say your blessings
Blessings are a crucial part of Chinese New Year celebrations and are the best way to get your office involved. It might be worth taking some language lessons to help practise your Lunar greetings.
Play a trivia game
Playing trivia games with your team is a great way to celebrate the Lunar New Year for 2023. Culture-themed games and team-building activities improve inclusion within the office and will boost the morale of your colleagues who celebrate the spring festival.
Acknowledging a variety of religious and cultural holidays is an important step towards building (and promoting) greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The Lunar and Chinese New Year is one of the best times of the year to educate your team on culture. One of the most effective ways of bringing teams together is understanding what makes us different and appreciating those differences.
Decorate your office or virtual workplace
Red lantern decorations are very traditional for Chinese New Year celebrations and are a great way of breathing some culture into your office or virtual workspace. Again, it’s key that your team understands the significance of the “why”, rather than the “what” so let us help here! Red lanterns are traditionally used as a symbol that drives away back luck.
The gift of flowers and Kumquat trees
The meaning behind the gift of blooming flowers is: “A prosperous new year”. The gift of kumquat trees means “Good luck and wealth”. This is one of the most popular gifts when celebrating the Lunar new year and is a great way to immerse your team into the culture.
Flowers tend to symbolise spring and the start of a fresh and prosperous new year. Some of the most popular flowers used are:
- Plum blossom: Represents courage, endurance, reliability, perseverance, and hope.
- Chrysanthemum: Represents luck, wealth, and longevity.
- Peonies: Are associated with peace, wealth, prosperity, and honour.
- Orchids: Bring good fortune and are one of the most popular gifts for the Lunar New Year.
- Peach Blossoms: Represents longevity and the blossom represents growth.
Share out red envelopes
One of the most popular and highly sought-after ideas for Lunar New Year celebrations is sharing out red envelopes. The use of red envelopes with money put inside is a widely used celebration idea usually among family, friends, and colleagues. The colour red is associated with luck and brings happiness and good fortune.
Take part in a traditional office spring clean
This might not seem like a very obvious celebration idea but spring cleaning is a very traditional activity that leads up to the Lunar New Year. The spring cleaning will usually take place on the 28th of the last month of the year. The spring clean before the start of the Chinese New Year symbolises driving away bad luck before the start of the new year.
Organise a traditional lucky lunch
Organising an office lunch is the perfect way to bring your workforce together for a Chinese New Year celebration. A more traditional method would be organising a prosperity salad, also known as (Yusheng). For this, your office will need to toss a variety of ingredients into a large bowl, whilst wishing for good fortune and propriety.