By CAPA-JRC reporter Chaiwey Chen
Lunar New Year is perhaps one of the most popularly celebrated holidays in the world, mainly in Asian countries and especially in China. Since it follows the lunar calendar, the holiday doesn’t have a set date, but is instead celebrated over a period of a few weeks. Most people in China receive seven days off of work to celebrate Lunar New Year. Celebrations usually include large social events, festive activities, and lots of food. Unfortunately, many of this year’s celebrations will likely be affected due to the spread of COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant.
Some families like to celebrate the Lunar New Year with not only relatives, but also friends. With the virus in the air, these families must make other plans that may not include those outside of their immediate family. “Usually, I go to a big Lunar New Year party at my friend’s house,” a freshman student at Richard Montgomery High School said, “It's a little disappointing that I can't go to the party this year. I think I’ll eat at home with my family.” It can be hard for students to continue to stay at home after being deprived of social events for so long. However, they understand the gravity of the situation. “In previous years, I’ve always gone to my friends house to celebrate,” said another freshman at Richard Montgomery. “I don’t think I’ll go out this year, but I’m okay with it.” In spite of COVID-19, students and families have adapted to practice safer celebrations.
For other students, the virus won’t have much of an effect at all. A main tradition of Lunar New Year is gathering with family (团员), an important aspect in any holiday celebration. Although COVID-19 may restrict the gathering of extended family, it doesn’t affect a simple celebration within the household.
However, some families have never bothered with large group gatherings, regardless of the virus. “I usually stay at home and eat hot pot with my family,” a freshman at Winston Churchill High School said, “Seeing as I don’t go out, COVID won’t impact my celebrations.”
Even with the dangers of COVID-19, families have found new ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Although going out is no longer a safe option, many traditions will still be able to be practiced, such as cleaning and decorating the house, a family dinner, receiving Red Pockets, watching the New Year’s Gala (春晚), and more. Lunar New Year celebrations will continue, although it may just be a quieter affair this year.
This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 25 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.