The Lunar New Year is the most festive celebration in China. This celebration is so enormous and important that it involves nationwide events and mass transit. Everyone goes home for this holiday and many businesses in China are closed (or non-operational) for days at a time. It is a celebration that lasts for two weeks. For many Chinatowns in the US, the Lunar New Year is one of the biggest revenue-driving events of the year. People go to Chinatown for the parades, the food, and many more.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are thinking about how different the Lunar New Year celebrations are going to be. Others even think if it’s ever going to be the same at all.
Suffering the Effects of the Pandemic
Chinatowns in North America has been suffering from the pandemic even before hard lockdowns and stay home orders in the US. Since the first news of a contagious disease is spreading in China (in the first few months of 2020), a lot of people have avoided Chinatown in fear that they can contract it. Reservations declined, foot traffic was reduced, and stores suffered their biggest losses since they could even remember. Xenophobia was a common theme. Businesses are severely affected by the pandemic. Many shops in Chinatown barely break even or make ends meet because of the current pandemic. Hard lockdowns and stay home orders have significantly affected revenue and foot traffic to not only Chinatowns but small businesses in the US.
Lunar New Year to save the day
The COVID-19 pandemic along with the brutal 2020 winter, Chinatown has never seen darker days. However, the coming of the New Year is sparking some hope in many. Shop owners in Chinatowns all over the US are counting on the Lunar New Year celebrations to revive the vitality of their businesses and their communities. They are finding ways to drive foot traffic back to their community and build-up trust to regain customers. People living in the community started decorating with lights and lanterns so their visitors can take photos for their social media. Sales, specials, and the like are promoted as well. Upcoming virtual events are also among the highlights of this celebration.
Upcoming Events for Lunar New Year 2021
Here are some of the upcoming events to look out for the coming Year of the Ox:
- Unfortunately, the Chinese New Year Parade has been canceled.
- Instead, it is replaced by city-wide exhibits featuring 11 life-sized oxen figures and artworks.
- The Asian Art Museum shall feature Lunar New Year Poetry and Calligraphy
- There is also an SF Neon Chinatown Virtual Tour
- YMCA Virtual Chinese New Year Run
- San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year Virtual Concert
- Chinese New Year Parade Preshow
- Lunar New Year at the Met
- Puppet Show by the Chinese Theatre Works (Need RSVP)
- Folk Dancing by Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company (Need RSVP)
- Queens Night Market and Temple Bazaar (need RSVP)
- CNY Family Festival (virtual)
- Lunar New Year Crawl