Belong @ DataRobot: Lunar New Year with the ACTnow! Community
The DataRobot ACTnow! (Asians Coming Together Now) community advocates for the diverse needs of all Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander teammates, and allies through educational, cultural, and social activities.
Chinese New Year marks the transition between zodiac signs, and 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. In Chinese culture, the rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity and 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope. Each culture celebrates the Lunar New Year differently with various foods and traditions that symbolize prosperity, abundance, and togetherness. We asked some of our employees what Lunar New Year means to them, and the following is what they shared with us. On behalf of the ACTnow! community, we wish those who celebrate a happy Lunar New Year!
Angela Xu – Strategic Account Director. Location: Boston, MA
Happy Rabbit Year! Having grown up in a food obsessed family, I always associate celebrating Lunar New Year with gatherings with loved ones and endless feasts. The New Year’s Eve meal is a particularly big deal in my family. Grandma, as the family matriarch, would prepare the best braised fish (lucky food that signifies abundance and prosperity), give out good-wish red envelopes (with cash inside!) to all her offspring, and light up the loudest firecrackers for three minutes straight to “repel the evil” at midnight. Despite being away from home during the past 10 Lunar New Years, I always celebrated by spreading the food tradition with friends who love to learn how to cook Chinese meals. Dumpling making parties have never failed to be a crowd pleaser.
JX Wee – Regional Director, Asia. Location: Singapore
Lunar New Year to me is always about spending quality time with your loved ones. I think it is extra special when you live in a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic city like Singapore because you get to see and hear about how even non-Chinese families take the opportunity to celebrate a moment together. A highlight of every Lunar New Year, which also happens to be my favorite part, is the Lohei, best described in this article as a loud, joyous and colorful tradition of tossing a raw fish salad— a sight to behold at homes and even at client meals. Local Chinese believe that speaking of well wishes while tossing the salad brings good luck, prosperity, wealth, and health to all those around the table. If you are ever in Singapore or Malaysia, make sure you try it.
Ray Mi – RVP Data Science Practice. Location: New York City, NY
For me, Lunar New Year means family. My childhood memories of Lunar New Year are filled with joyful reunions with family members. It is the time of year when I can meet most of my relatives, especially those who don’t live in my hometown, and share our stories from the past year. On Lunar New Year’s Eve, after dinner with my extended family, I would go out with my sister and cousins to set off fireworks with other kids in the neighborhood. On the first day of the Lunar New Year, the whole family put on new clothes and went to the homes of elderly relatives to give New Year’s greetings. What makes me even happier is the red envelopes sent to me by elderly relatives for good luck and prosperity. I haven’t had much time to go back to my hometown since high school, but when I went back, it was during the Lunar New Year. Although most of the time in my hometown is winter, the joy and happiness of the Lunar New Year make all my memories of my hometown warm and beautiful.
As the stories shared by the members of the ACTnow! community show, Lunar New Year is a culturally significant holiday filled with family traditions and spent with friends and loved ones if away from home. We wish everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year much peace and happiness. May it bring great hope and prosperity for a bright year ahead. And don’t forget to eat some tangerines and oranges for good luck!