We spoke to Lexie Papaspyrou, COO at the Tech Talent Charter, about the Lunar New Year and three things your organisation can do to support and celebrate this time of year with your colleagues.
“As a person of Chinese-Malaysian descent, this celebration is particularly important to me as I got married last year, and I will be giving Angpao to my friends and family for the first time and hoping it brings them all good fortune for the Year of Rabbit! I will be preparing lots of auspicious food such as noodles (for long life), dumplings and spring rolls which are shaped like gold ingots and gold bars (symbolising wealth) and fish (for luck)!".
Lunar New Year is a very important holiday in many countries in the East; it’s a time of eating and celebrating with family and friends. Celebrations continue for two weeks, and it’s the largest annual human migration event in the world. Every year, billions of people travel around the world, back to their hometowns for the eve of the Lunar New Year. The food eaten at this time is symbolic, and everything presented and served is intended to bring luck and good fortune. Red packets are hand delivered and gifted to friends and family members at Lunar New Year celebrations.
Three things you can do to support and celebrate Lunar New year with colleagues:
- Flexible bank holidays and annual leave policies. Lunar New year is the most important cultural celebration for many East Asian communities. During Lunar New Year, people travel home to see their families, so a flexible holiday policy lets them observe this essential cultural event.
- A culturally sensitive dress code policy. During Lunar New Year, it is auspicious to wear red and gold, whilst it is bad luck to wear black and white, as these are the colours associated with death. Ensure formal dress codes allow for colleagues to observe these traditions by allowing for alternatives to black and white.
- Wish your colleagues a happy new year. Common ways of saying this are “Gong Hei Fat Choi!” or “Xin Nian Kuai Le!” or “Happy Lunar New Year!”