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How to Celebrate the Lunar New Year in the Workplace

Phuong Tran, Vice President of Product

01/31/2022

The Lunar New Year is upon us, and it’s one of my favorite holidays. Not only does it symbolize good fortune, but this new year celebration seamlessly incorporates traditions tied to culture, food, color, and animals. This year it falls on February 1st - the first new moon of the year, and it is the Year of the Tiger. What does this mean? An important aspect of the Lunar New Year is its close ties with the Zodiac calendar. There is a 12-year cycle with an animal for each year. Each animal has special characteristics based on their role in the story about how the zodiac came to be and those characteristics are representative of those born in that animal’s year. This year’s animal, the tiger, represents strength and bravery. 

At Kanarys, DEI is at the center of all we do, and we want to help organizations approach the Lunar New Year inclusively. 

Here are a few tips on how to celebrate this holiday:

Language

  • How we speak about cultural celebrations matters – and this is an integral step in breaking down stereotypical celebrations. The Lunar New Year is not just a Chinese holiday but is celebrated by many countries that speak different languages and are of different ethnicities. Asian people are not a monolith, and our culture should not be treated as one. So, make sure you use the phrase “Lunar New Year” when referring to the holiday. 

  • Unless you’re directly marketing to customers who speak certain languages or your company has roots in those languages or the use of the language is educational in nature, avoid using Asian languages.

Cultural Immersion

  • Go past the “fun, food, festivals” level of DEI and actually learn and appreciate what the holiday means. Educate yourself and your team on the meaning behind the Lunar New Year and why billions of people migrate to celebrate with their loved ones. For example, don’t just string red and gold lanterns in your office because they’re common aesthetics.  Rather, learn about what the color red symbolizes - vitality, prosperity, and good luck.  Are you planning to distribute red envelopes to employees? These symbolize good wishes and luck for the new year ahead. Think about including a gift from an Asian-owned business or promoting Asian-owned businesses in your community.

Don’t Just Celebrate – Elevate

  • Incorporate Asian designers, vendors, and partners in your efforts. From a DEI strategy perspective, companies should do an audit of their supplier diversity spending to ensure that a significant portion of their suppliers are owned and led by underrepresented groups, rather than just a small portion. With Covid-19 impacting small businesses, encourage your employees to dine, shop, and support Asian-owned businesses during the Lunar New Year and beyond. Provide a guide on how to contribute to the community with a list of Asian-owned restaurants, retailers, and nonprofits. Companies should increase their supplier diversity by partnering with Asian-owned businesses to be more inclusive throughout their business while creating economic opportunities for Asian business owners.

Don’t Forget to Celebrate!

  • Keep it wholesome. It’s a family holiday, and themes of nostalgia, fun, laughter and family traditions are in alignment with the heart of the holiday. The workplace has the potential to become a collection of completely different people with different backgrounds – recognize that together! Share stories, traditions, and practices that others may have never heard of. Most importantly, have the open mind, heart, and ears to listen to those new things and grow from them.

As organizations strive to be more inclusive in their messaging and marketing, they need to find the strength to commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and create brave spaces for their employees to be their full, authentic selves.  Have a great time learning and celebrating the Lunar New Year. May the Year of the Tiger bring you and your loved one's health, wealth, and happiness!

Kanarys is Your DEI Champion

At Kanarys, we are the diversity, equity, and inclusion people with the data-driven approach. Since 2018, Kanarys has aimed to change the world by creating equitable workplaces where everyone belongs. We guide your organization’s DEI path every step of the way with courage and collaboration. It starts with data, analytics and insights, and continues with recommendations and implementation. 

Our mission, as your partner and champion in the ever-evolving DEI journey: Help you understand what it takes to foster lasting, systemic change today and for tomorrow. Because when you succeed with DEI, your employees can thrive—and so can your organization.

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Phuong Tran serves as the Vice President of Product for Kanarys. Prior to joining the Kanarys team, she managed her own consulting firm focusing on IT implementation. Having implemented technology across the nation, Phuong is well versed in implementation methodology, process, and working in multi-faceted teams to ensure successful outcomes.  

 


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