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The Year of the Dragon: Celebrating Lunar New Year and Diversity


Liza Caling


8 Feb 2024


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The vibrant tapestry of cultures at Freemavens enriches our community. Embracing diversity isn’t just a value to uphold; it’s a celebration of the unique traditions and customs that define us. At Freemavens, the Lunar New Year stands as a reminder of the richness found in our differences. As we welcome the Year of the Dragon, it’s a moment to delve into the significance of Lunar New Year and how it’s celebrated in different countries and cultures.

The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and is observed by many Asian communities worldwide. Its origins date back thousands of years, steeped in myth, legend, and cultural significance. Across East Asia and Southeast Asia, families gather to honour ancestors, partake in sumptuous feasts, and engage in age-old traditions believed to usher in luck, prosperity, and happiness for the coming year. 

In countries like Taiwan, Lunar New Year, known as “Spring Festival” or “Chun Jie,” is a time of jubilation and reverence. Streets adorned with red lanterns and decorations symbolise good fortune and ward off evil spirits. Families meticulously clean their homes to sweep away any lingering misfortune and make way for auspicious beginnings. One of the most cherished customs is the giving of red envelopes, or “hongbao,” filled with money, symbolising blessings, and prosperity for the recipient. 

In Vietnam, Tet Nguyen Dan, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, holds profound cultural significance. Weeks leading up to Tet are a flurry of activity as families prepare special delicacies, such as banh chung (sticky rice cakes), and decorate their homes with peach blossoms and kumquat trees, symbolising longevity and prosperity. Tet is a time for reconciliation, as families set aside differences and come together to honour ancestors, exchange gifts, and seek blessings for the year ahead.

Similarly, in the Philippines, Lunar New Year, known as “Chinese New Year” or “Tết Nguyên Đán,” is celebrated with great gusto and reverence. Filipino-Chinese communities unite in festive gatherings marked by dragon and lion dances, symbolising strength, courage, and good fortune. Streets come alive with the colours of red and gold, while traditional dishes like tikoy (sweet rice cake) are a staple on dining tables, signifying unity, and prosperity.

At Freemavens, embracing the diversity inherent in Lunar New Year celebrations embodies our commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace culture. By acknowledging and honouring the customs and traditions of our colleagues, we not only enrich our collective experience but also cultivate deeper bonds of understanding and respect. The Year of the Dragon, known for its symbolism of power and prosperity, serves as a fitting backdrop for our celebrations. We aspire to nurture an inclusive environment where every voice is heard and every tradition is valued, much like the dragon celebrates cultural diversity.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Lunar New Year to all!

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