The Lunar New Year is all about putting away your old self and welcoming a new year of prosperity. If you want to show your appreciation and get involved in the festivities, why not plan a few Lunar New Year activities to do with your team?
If you are a manager or HR leader, then this can be a strategic move to foster a sense of inclusivity and acceptance of different cultures.
However, without a proper understanding of what the Lunar New Year is and how it is celebrated traditionally, enjoying a heartwarming celebration at work isn’t possible.
In this article, we will shed some light on the matter to ensure that you can enjoy traditional Lunar New Year activities without having to leave your office.
Starting with the Basics: What Is the Lunar New Year?
Before we talk about some of the best Lunar New Year celebration activities that you can do at work, we want to ensure that you understand what this event is and why it is celebrated.
The Chinese Lunar New Year, which is also sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival, is a traditional festival with profound roots in Chinese history and cultural traditions.
When Is It Celebrated?
It commemorates the start of the lunar calendar and usually occurs between the 21st of January and the 20th of February, according to the lunar cycle. This celebration dates back more than 3,000 years and has become one of the most famous and awaited holidays in Chinese communities around the world.
Preparations Begin Weeks in Advance
The preparations for this auspicious event generally begin many weeks ahead of the first day of the year.
Families start by cleaning their houses, purchasing new outfits, and cooking special delicacies. The festivities formally begin on New Year's Eve with a reunion supper, at which relatives gather to enjoy a magnificent feast and exchange well-wishes.
The Lunar New Year Is Based on Symbolism
Another important thing that you need to know is that the Lunar New Year traditions rely heavily on symbolism.
Firstly, red decorations, which are widespread at this time of the year, represent good luck and fend off bad spirits, but fireworks and dancing dragons are thought to bring riches. The event lasts 15 days and concludes with the Lantern Festival, which features beautiful lantern displays and a variety of Lunar New Year activities.
Moreover, the Lunar New Year celebrates family reunions and remembrance of ancestors. It is observed by the exchange of red envelopes containing cash, which represent luck and well wishes for the next year.
The Chinese zodiac, with its twelve animal signs and related elements, adds more meaning and symbolism by influencing cultural rituals and beliefs during this joyful and auspicious period.
Fun Activities to Celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at Work
From Lunar New Year games for the office to decorations and simple exchanges of gifts, there are a number of ways you can bring some of the festivities to your working environment this Lunar New Year.
Here are some of the top activities you can do to show your appreciation for this important event on the Chinese calendar:
Do Some Office Spring Cleaning
This is probably one of the Lunar New Year activities you were not expecting to see on this list. However, it can be really helpful for re-organizing your workspace and promoting productivity and creativity.
As we have already explained, Chinese Lunar Year celebrations often begin with spring cleaning because the emphasis is on getting rid of the old to welcome the new. Moreover, the Chinese believe that cleaning can help to remove bad luck, so if you want to promote success and wealth in the coming year, you might want to start here.
Staff members can choose to work independently to clean their own workspaces or collaborate as a group to clean the entire workplace. This practice fosters a positive environment and provides workers with a fresh start in the new year.
Wear Lunar New Year Colors
One of the easiest ways to get involved is to adorn yourself with Lunar New Year colors. The most important one to include is red, which is symbolic of good fortune and joy. However, other colors like yellow and gold are also good options.
To get everyone hyped for celebrating the new year, you can offer a prize to the best-dressed person.
Learn Chinese Blessings
Blessings are an important aspect of Lunar New Year events, and you can use this as an opportunity to get everyone involved. Hire a professional or use the internet to help you learn how to say Chinese blessings so that you can use them on New Year's Day.
This is also a good time to learn more about Chinese traditions and culture. You can include information about this event on your company intranet, hang up informative posters, or offer educational sessions where someone talks the group through the various traditions and symbolisms.
Decorate Your Office
Including Lunar New Year decorations is another fantastic way to enjoy this event. You might want to include dragon imagery, which is symbolic of good luck, strength, prosperity, power, harmony, and positive energy, in your setup.
Red is also a must because of its symbolism and significance in these festivals. The color is said to ward off evil spirits and symbolize good luck, so adorning your office desk or office chair with it can promote prosperity for the coming lunar year.
Suppose your company follows a hybrid or remote work model. In that case, decorating your digital communication platform with the Chinese Lunar New Year with red lanterns and dragon imagery can help you get into the festive spirit.
Set Up Lunar New Year-inspired Brain Break Stations
Brain break activities for adults are important because they help to promote cognitive health and a sense of productivity and creativity. Put simply, a brain break activity is something that an employee can get up and do to relieve mental strain and fatigue.
You can set up various stations around your workspace where workers can go to relax their minds while showing their appreciation for the Chinese Lunar New Year. Here are a few ideas on Lunar New Year activities to add to your brain break stations:
- Origami. One idea is to create an origami corner where people can go to learn how to craft a particular item or series of items using paper. Creating the red envelopes used in cultural festivities is a great idea.
- Calligraphy. The next idea we have for your Lunar New Year event is to have a calligraphy station where employees can learn the art of traditional Chinese lettering.
- Puzzles. You can also include a Lunar New Year puzzle for staff members to complete as they take a break from the stress of work activities.
- Chinese-inspired Yoga. To help employees get some physical activity in, why not include a space for them to do yoga poses inspired by the Chinese zodiac signs?
These Lunar New Year challenges are sure to get the wheels turning again, promoting creativity that will translate into more productive workdays. Plus, you get to enjoy traditional Lunar New Year activities, so it’s a win-win.
Traditional Snack Tasting
If you are looking for a more subtle way for employees to experience Chinese tradition, then why not set up a snack-tasting event where everyone gets a chance to taste the cuisine that is typically served at traditional festivals?
You can include things like dumplings, noodles, tangerines, and more that hold great symbolism, promoting good luck and prosperity.
Play Lunar New Year Games
The Chinese enjoy a number of games that Western societies know nothing about. To truly immerse yourself in Chinese culture, you should consider learning how to play some of these games.
You can play them together as a team for a little team building. Some popular games include the following:
- The Ping Pong Game
Set up these games as Lunar New Year challenges, where the winner gets a prize for a more interactive, competitive, and compelling gaming session.
Consider a Fitness Challenge
Fitness is an important part of Chinese culture, so to embrace this, you can include an office fitness challenge to your list of Lunar New Year activities. Offer a prize for the person who loses the most weight or walks the greatest distance by looking at data from a fitness tracker. Offer a gift to the person who loses the most or has worked the hardest to stay fit.
Throw a Lunar New Year Party
Once you’re done planning a few motivational activities for your employees, you might want to throw a party on Lunar New Year’s Day.
Draw inspiration from Chinese New Year party ideas to ensure that your celebration incorporates traditional elements that will please, challenge, and show appreciation for your employees.
You might want to include some traditional Lunar New Year activities at your party, such as the exchange of greetings and the sharing of a meal. It’s also a good idea to include appropriate decorations for your Lunar New Year event.
Exchange Red Envelopes
One of the best Lunar New Year celebration activities to add to your list is the exchange of red envelopes. These envelopes are available online and from most Asian supermarkets.
You can choose to hand red envelopes to your workers with cash or a gift card in them to show your appreciation for their hard work. Alternatively, have a gift-giving event where people are given a name and have to bless the other person with a cash gift or a gift card.
It's kind of like Secret Santa, but with red envelopes and for the Lunar New Year.
Give the Gift of Blooms
If giving cash and gift cards is off the table, then there is another way to engage in an act of kindness this Chinese Lunar New Year. You can give blooming flowers. This is said to represent wishes for a prosperous new year.
Some common flowers to give include the following:
- Peach blossoms
- Plum blossoms
Make sure you are familiarizing yourself with the meaning of each flower to avoid offending anyone and giving blooming flowers only for wishes of good luck and prosperity.
Perform the Yusheng Prosperity Toss
If you want to invite lady luck into your company, then why not try this Chinese activity?
Yusheng is essentially a dish that is made using raw fish. It is typically eaten at the Chinese New Year celebrations in countries like Singapore and Malaysia. Asian cultures prepare this delicacy with veggies, uncooked fish strips, and a variety of seasonings and condiments. People consider this dish to be one that brings good fortune, wealth, and prosperity.
To do the prosperity toss, the team will need to stand around a big salad bowl, all yielding chopsticks. Each one will then get a turn to toss the salad as high as they possibly can while making wishes for the coming year. The belief is that the person who is able to toss the salad the highest will get the best fortune.
Once the game is over, the team can enjoy this traditional dish.
Host a Fireworks Display
Fireworks are also typical at Lunar New Year celebrations, so to bring good fortune to your company, you can host a fireworks display. This is a particularly good idea if you have a rooftop venue that you can use.
Lunar New Year activities can be a fun and immersive way to bring your team together. Whether you are planning a celebration as a fellow team member or as a manager, you can use a combination of the Chinese New Year party ideas we have mentioned in this article.
Regardless of which Lunar New Year celebration activities you choose, make sure you are promoting a sense of unity and harmony amongst the team, encouraging each of them to display a sense of acceptance and appreciation for their cultural diversity.
We hope you found this article helpful!
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