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Culture and Engagement

How to celebrate Lunar New Year in your workplace

Learning more about your colleagues and their cultural backgrounds is a great way to build inclusion and employee engagement. 

5 minute read
ThoughtFarmer Blog Lunar New Year 2024
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It’s time to get festive! The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, starts on February 10th, 2024, and it is the year of the Dragon according to the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle.

The Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration that celebrates all things positive while wishing peace, longevity, health, and luck for the new year. It starts on a slightly different day in January or February of each year, as it follows the Chinese lunisolar calendar, instead of the Gregorian calendar.

We’ve put together a few ways to learn about traditions, as well as some innovative ideas to celebrate the Year of the Dragon in your workplace.

The Year of the Dragon

The Year of the Dragon symbolizes strength, courage, and good fortune, making it an ideal time for businesses and workplaces to embrace these qualities.

Power and strength: The dragon is often seen as a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. In ancient China, the dragon was associated with the emperor and represented his imperial power.

Wisdom and success: Dragons are also viewed as wise and knowledgeable. People born in the Year of the Dragon are believed to inherit some of these traits, often being seen as confident, ambitious, and successful.

Nobility and honor: The dragon is considered noble and majestic, commanding respect and admiration. This is reflective of high moral standards and a sense of honor.

Fortune and prosperity: It is believed that the Year of the Dragon brings prosperity and good fortune. Thus, many people consider it an auspicious year to start businesses, get married, or have children.

Innovation and growth: Dragons are also symbols of transformation and adaptability, encouraging change and growth. This can be interpreted as a time for innovation and embracing new ideas.

Creative ways to celebrate Chinese New Year in your workplace

Participate in cultural learning

Acknowledging religious and cultural holidays is an important step towards fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Chinese New Year focuses on starting fresh for the year and removing anything negative. This history of the Chinese New Year goes back over 3000 years and originated within the Shang Dynasty. 

Take the time to educate employees on the history of the Lunar celebration and its meaning by creating a post on your intranet. From there you can add links to educational resources, local festivals, or a photo gallery. 

It’s fun for people to learn about their Chinese zodiac signs, as well as the characteristics and personality traits associated with each sign.

Decorate your office or virtual workspace

An easy way to celebrate Chinese New Year is to decorate your workplace (or intranet). 

Transform your office space with vibrant dragon motifs. Hang red lanterns and streamers, and place dragon figurines or artwork around the office to bring in the festive spirit. The color red symbolizes luck and joy in Chinese culture, and these red decorations will energize and uplift your workspace.

Red lantern decorations are very traditional for Chinese New Year celebrations as they symbolize wealth, fame, and prosperity. 

Falling Lanterns V02

Red envelopes are also associated with Chinese new year.  Red is associated with luck, happiness, and good fortune, so when you hand out red envelopes with money, you are wishing your colleagues blessings, happiness, and prosperity! 

Clean your workplace/workspace

While tidying up may not seem relevant to Lunar New Year, it is traditional for families to clean their houses and the areas surrounding before the start of the new year. The word ‘dust’ in Chinese is a homophone for ‘old’, therefore cleaning your house is symbolic of driving away the bad luck of the previous year to allow for a new start. 

Celebrate with a traditional lucky lunch

If the majority of your employees work onsite, why not organize a cultural potluck? A potluck to celebrate the Chinese New Year is the perfect way to encourage diversity and inclusion within your workplace.

Dumplings are not only delicious, they also represent wealth and prosperity. Noodles represent a long life, and tangerines represent good luck. 

You could also organize a prosperity salad, also known as Yu Sheng. It typically consists of a platter of salmon with shredded carrot, white radish, green radish, cucumber, pickled ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil, spices and more.

Celebrate Diversity, Enhance Communication

Download our free whitepaper that explores strategies to strengthen workplace connections during cultural celebrations.

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Attend a traditional celebration

Lunar New Year is a festive occasion around the world. Grab some colleagues and take a field trip to your local Chinatown to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of this celebration. Enjoy a festive lunch, catch a dragon dance, or attend a lantern parade. Don’t forget to share photos on your intranet afterwards. 

Host art and creativity sessions

You can organize dragon-themed arts and craft sessions. Employees can create dragon sculptures, paintings, or even try their hand at Chinese calligraphy. This not only fuels creativity but also serves as a stress-reliever.

Let’s celebrate 2024, together

True DEI is about bringing your full selves to the workplace; and this includes cultural backgrounds. Lunar New Year is an occasion for millions across the globe, and something your employees already celebrate. 

Learning more about your colleagues and their cultural backgrounds is a great way to build inclusion and, in turn, employee engagement. 

On behalf of the ThoughtFarmer team, we want to wish everyone prosperity and good fortune throughout this Chinese New Year.