By: Amanda D. (’21)
After almost a full year of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the year of the cow plods in slowly as people seek ways to celebrate Chinese New Year with a semblance of normalcy. People around the world have accepted quarantine, face masks, and social distancing as part of daily life.
Chinese New Year is typically known as a holiday to travel to one’s hometown and share a meal with close relatives, In removing one of the most intrinsic parts of the holiday, families will have to take unconventional approaches to connect with one another. Even if in-person traditions are unavailable this year, we hope that you can use these suggestions to usher in the new year all the same.
- Video Call
Modern technology has granted us a multitude of benefits, with mobile apps such as FaceTime becoming the primary method of contacting family members. Contacting relatives to do a group call on Chinese New Year’s Eve or eating together over camera can provide the same amount of connection with less risk.
- Decorate the House
Many Chinese New Year activities have nothing to do with stepping out of your front door. A traditional practice that many families still do today is to clean the house from top to bottom, symbolizing the removal of bad luck from the previous year to usher in new prosperity. Another activity is to decorate the house with painted signs called “chun lian”, or spring festival couplets. These are long strips of red paper with poetry lines or words of good luck painted in chinese calligraphy and pasted to the two opposing sides of a door. Other forms of decoration, like red lanterns or plum blossoms, can also be new ways to introduce the Chinese New Year spirit into your home.
- Making New Year Snacks
Even if you can’t taste your grandmother’s famous dumpling recipe this coming week, there is not a rule stating that you can’t have access to good food. Many stores offer an array of tasty Chinese New Year goodies and meals to choose from. If you’re looking for something salty, maybe try some glazed pork jerky, hot pot, or fish, which represents a surplus of good luck. For those with a sweet tooth, fruits such as pineapples or madarin oranges are a viable option as they often symbolize wealth and success.
- Spend Time with Family
Even if you can’t see all your cousins, aunts and uncles, Chinese New Year is still a time to prioritize family and cherish those you love. Taking a day to express gratitude and spend meaningful time with one another is a simple way to celebrate the real essence of this upcoming holiday.
However you decide to spend your upcoming week, staying safe is ultimately the main priority of this Chinese New Year. Don’t forget to sanitize your hands regularly and avoid crowded areas as much as possible. We hope that the year of the ox will be rich with fulfillment and happiness. Xin Nian Kuai Le!