At Independence Blue Cross (Independence), there’s a strong commitment to recognizing and embracing diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our employees even form social groups (we call them Associate Resource Groups) dedicated to making sure everyone’s voices are heard.
I’m one of the group leaders of imPACT (Pan Asians and Allies Collaborating Together), an Associate Resource Group that is focused on promoting visibility and awareness of Asian American Pacific Islanders within Independence and the communities we serve. Our mission is to engage and influence the internal and external Asian American and Pacific Islander community through programs and events focused on professional growth, health and wellness, and community involvement. One of the ways we do that is by raising awareness of the Lunar New Year.
Lunar New Year
Many Asian countries, including China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia, Tibet, and Singapore celebrate the Lunar New Year as a national holiday. The holiday can fall on a different day each year, but traditionally falls within January 20 and February 21.
The dates of celebration are similar because many countries in Asia interpret the lunar calendar the same way using the lunisolar Chinese calendar. In the Chinese zodiac, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. The tiger is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.
Celebrations in the form of colorful street festivals traditionally begin on the first day of the Lunar New Year and end about two weeks later with the Lantern Festival. Like New Year’s Day, the Lunar New Year is a day to gather with family members and friends.
I usually begin the celebration on Lunar New Year’s Eve with a hearty, Thanksgiving-like dinner with my entire family. My family has ties to China so each dish has a symbolic meaning. Our dinner will include fish for abundance; glutinous rice cake, which represents advancement; sweet rice balls, symbolic for unity; noodles for longevity; and fresh fruits, which represent life and new beginnings.
Dana Yamate, Director of Market Research and Intelligence, and a core imPACT member talks about her family’s traditions. “To celebrate, we’ll eat some of the traditional foods that we love and that remind me of how my family celebrates in Hawaii — noodles, dumplings, and oranges. My mom has already reminded me to make sure our house is clean and that we treat each other with kindness to set the right tone for the rest of the year.”
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, there will be more dinner celebrations and get-togethers, and children and younger family members pay their respects to their parents/elders by wishing them a happy and prosperous new year. In exchange for their greeting, the children and youth receive a red envelope filled with money for good luck.