Amid the pandemic, growing Anti-Asian sentiment across the country and the formation of the Stop Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Hate movement as Asian communities’ response to racism and xenophobia, celebrations for Lunar New Year were markedly different from any other in the past.
This 2021, many of us were on campus or socially distancing at home. Meals were eaten alone inside our dorms and in front of Zoom screens instead of at dining tables during big family reunions.
Despite this, communities adapted and the spirit of starting anew remains. Prayer sessions are limited to 10 people, but the temple was open for us to light incense. Masks are mandatory at the market, but we can still buy kumquat trees and branches of peach blossoms.
Perhaps you might not have been able to get as many red envelopes as you did last year, and maybe you didn’t clean up your room as much as you should have before the 12th, but there’s always time to treat yourself to a lucky orange and call your grandparents and loved ones if you didn’t already. The year of the Ox symbolizes prosperity and emphasizes putting special care into our relationships with others. May the new year bring you all good fortune and reward you for your hard work.