Good Fortune, Peace and Prosperity Abound as FleishmanHillard Asia-Pacific Offices Prepare to Celebrate Lunar New Year
Two FleishmanHillard colleagues share their take on Lunar New Year as we wish everyone good health and good fortune in the year ahead.
Wang Ying, senior manager, FleishmanHillard Beijing
The Lunar New Year (Spring Festival) always means a lot to Chinese people across generations. With colleagues in our Shanghai and Beijing offices coming from many different cities across China, we took the opportunity to bring some heartful preparations into the office during this year’s special time.
In Shanghai, the agency invited all colleagues to join a paper-cutting activity for window decoration. Window decorations are a tradition to express blessings and happiness to the new year and enhance the holiday atmosphere. Colleagues also prepared seasonal snacks that are typically seen during the Spring Festival, such as sugar gourd (糖葫芦), New Year cake and pastries.
The office main door is also decorated with a big “Fu” (“福”), meaning good luck, which brings a festive mood to the office.
Our Beijing office held a joyful New Year shopping tour, highlighting the warm atmosphere of the Festival. Due to the pandemic, some colleagues may not be able to travel back to their hometown to spend time with their families this year, and we hoped the office celebrations could make all colleagues feel at home during this meaningful season.
To prepare for my trip home, my husband and I went to a flower market to select decorative plants and red couplets for our parents, while also preparing dumplings and RED pockets – my son’s favorite on New Year’s Eve.
Lunar New Year is regarded as one of the most important Chinese festivals deeply rooted in Chinese culture. The festival is widely embraced, reflected and celebrated by the Chinese for thousands of years. For instance, some of the festival traditions can be found in many Chinese poems, such as this one:
With the sound of firecrackers, the spring breeze warms my drink.
Thousands of families shined by the rising sun, and the new peach wood couplets always replaces the old one.
From this poem we can even learn that the paper couplets we paste outside our door come from a historic tradition of wooden ones! What an interesting heritage.
Finally, we hope all of our colleagues around the globe can share the joy of Lunar New Year, and wish you a very happy year of the Tiger!
Eddie Jung, senior vice president, FleishmanHillard Seoul
Lunar New Year’s Day is one of Korea’s biggest holidays, along with Korean Thanksgiving Day. People travel to their hometowns, and families and relatives gather to celebrate the special day with the Korean custom of greeting each other and paying tribute to their ancestors.
There are many kinds of special food Koreans eat to celebrate the special occasion. But have you heard of the soup that is believed to make you one year older?
Tteok-guk or sliced rice cake soup is a traditional Korean dish enjoyed on the morning of the first day of Lunar New Year. The steaming bowl of hot broth is studded with oval-shaped slices of white rice cake. The long white rice cakes are used in desire for innocence and grace throughout the year and sliced into coin-size pieces in wish for a good fortune.
Koreans have long believed that everyone needs to eat a bowl of Tteok-guk on the morning of Lunar New Year to grow a year older. I remember my kids were asking each other, “How many bowls of Tteok-guk have you eaten?” or mockingly saying, “Now I am your older brother because I have eaten three bowls of Tteok-guk today!” just as I did with my siblings when I was young.
Nobody knows exactly when the tradition started, but all the Lunar New Year rituals are estimated to go back to the sixth century when people adopted the lunar calendar, according to the National Folk Museum of Korea. Now people eat Tteok-guk any time of year, though it was traditionally a seasonal dish.
My family has been lucky to enjoy both Korean “Tteok-guk” and Singaporean “Lo Hei” during Lunar New Year since we moved to Singapore several years ago. “Lo Hei” in Cantonese translates to “tossing up good fortune.” In Singapore, people gather around a massive plate of raw fish salad and toss the content violently while stating auspicious phrases before eating it to celebrate the holiday. The higher the toss, the better your prospects and fortune in the year ahead!