Human Rights Campaign Celebrates the Lunar New Year

by HRC Staff

Lunar New Year is celebrated annually by billions of people around the world and is traditionally associated with being close to family and chosen family, personal renewal and community togetherness.

Traditions are ours to own and create. Our “ancestors” are — and can be — people, places, things and ideas we strongly connect to from our past that we reconcile with our personal identities to mark and define a new path for the future.

We're celebrating the Year of the Tiger by hearing from Human Rights Campaign staff members about their favorite traditions and what Lunar New Year means to them.

"Every time Lunar New Year comes around, I get super excited for visits to extended families and sampling delicious dishes specifically made for the occasion. I love the tradition of doing a deep house cleaning before the holiday begins, which allows me to recenter my family. And now, as a parent, I get to pass out hong baos (red envelopes) to the little ones. What I appreciate the most about Lunar New Year is the shared sense of commitment to wishing that everyone has a healthy, productive, fruitful, and joyous year ahead. It is projecting what you want for yourself to what you want for others in the community. It is simple. It is love." - Cynthia Weaver (she/her), Litigation Director

“This is a photo from 1973 when Maryland State Senator Margaret “Peg” Schweinhaut invited me to tea for a newspaper story about the Lunar New Year. While, in retrospect, the occasion and photo is rich with interpretations, I was truly proud to share our culture and customs with the senator and more widely. You could see it in my face.” - David Yu (he/him), Senior Development Officer - Major Gifts

"In 2018, I was in graduate school and my class visited the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland. The trip coincided with Lunar New Year, so a group of us decided to visit a local Chinese restaurant to celebrate. It was a diverse group: myself (mixed race, half Chinese-American), a classmate from Hong Kong, another from Taiwan, a couple from Mainland China and a Japanese and a Thai student. We were the only people in this Chinese restaurant that night, so the owner was quite happy as well. Although we came from different countries, we all came together to celebrate Lunar New Year. I think this represents the concept of chosen family, that people from different backgrounds can come together and find ways to connect no matter where they are." - Violet Lhant (she/her), Writer and Content Manager

"In celebration of the Lunar New Year, I am reminded of how families grow and learn from each other, sharing and appreciating each other’s culture and traditions. When my niece, Chelsea married the love of her life, Jayson Chang, little did I know how much Jayson's family traditions would mean to me. Gina and I have been introduced to Chinese Wedding Banquets, the Mid-Autumn Festival, mooncakes and ceremonies to honor family who are no longer with us. In turn, our family has introduced Jayson to Mom’s pecan pie, biscuits and gravy and the traditions of our Madison Christmas Eve.

For me, Lunar New Year represents embracing the fusion of family experiences. I get to appreciate what we have and what we're learning and sharing through my family."- Joni Madison (she/her), Interim President