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Were you born in the year of the Dragon or the Dog?

As a member of the Asian American Business Resource Group (one of many associate groups focused on embracing diversity) Lili Chen shares how she and her family celebrate the Lunar New Year, which begins Feb. 16, 2018. Lili also explains how the Lunar New Year serves as a milestone for her professionally.

Q: What is the Lunar New Year?

A: One quarter of the world’s population celebrates the Lunar New Year, an important traditional holiday in many Asian cultures and across the United States. Asian American communities continue to celebrate through a myriad of old and new customs, rituals and practices. 

People focus on priorities during the Lunar New Year such as setting goals, making amends and re-establishing old ties.

For me, the Lunar New Year is about letting go of the old year and welcoming the New Year. Personally and professionally, this is a good time to check in with myself to revisit the goals from the prior year and set new ones. Not all goals work out and I have learned that it is okay to let go and focus my energy on things that truly matter.

Q: What is your favorite Lunar New Year tradition?

A: One of my favorite Lunar New Year traditions regards the passing along of “lucky money” in red envelopes.

In China, giving red envelopes with “lucky money” to children symbolizes good luck to the giver and receiver. When I was a child, my cousins and I visited elderly family members during holidays to wish them good fortune and luck before receiving our red envelopes. I always emphasize to my children the meaning of red envelopes regarding showing respect and being kind.

This year, I went to a local elementary school to give a presentation about the Lunar New Year to the kids. I gave their teacher red envelopes filled with some chocolate coins. Each student was required to do one thing to show kindness to their teacher or other students at school during the Lunar New Year in order to receive his/her red envelope.

Q: What is the significance of the “Year of the Dog?”

A: The Lunar New Year in 2018 marks the start of year 4716 on the Chinese lunar calendar, and 2018 is the Year of the Dog. What does it mean to be born in the Year of the Dog? Check it out here.

新年快乐!(xīn nián kuài lè) – Mandarin
“Have a Happy New Year!” – English

Learn more about UMB’s business resource groups for associates and the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

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