Year of the Tiger: Michigan Medicine community shares Lunar New Year traditions
For some, Jan. 1 marked the beginning of a new year. For others, the new year is just getting started.
Today, Feb. 1, marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important holidays of the year for many in the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Each year, the Lunar New Year officially begins with the second new moon after the winter solstice and concludes with the next full moon 15 days later.
This year is the Year of the Tiger, which symbolizes a time of courage, confidence and bravery.
There are a number of traditions that accompany Lunar New Year, which include the exchanging of red envelopes containing money, eating “lucky” foods such as dumplings or fish, and even watching the Lion Dance, a performance that is believed to chase away bad spirits for the year. Overall, this is a time for renewal and represents an opportunity for those celebrating to usher in the new year with good luck, good health and good quality time with loved ones.
Here’s a look at some of the Lunar New Year traditions as celebrated by those in the Michigan Medicine community:
Michael Tang, (first year medical student and co-president of the United Asian American Medical Student Association or UAAMSA):
“My favorite part of celebrating Lunar New Year is that it has always been a time to reconnect with friends and family. Growing up in a majority non-Asian community, celebrating Lunar New Year with friends and my extended Chinese family was a great opportunity to recenter myself and feel connected to my heritage. I still vividly remember going to New York City with my brother and family friends to watch the Lunar New Year celebrations: cheering for the lion and dragon dance parades, lighting firecrackers in the streets, and receiving too many red envelopes to count from parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.”
Stacey Nguyen, DEI facilitator and trainer, Office for Health Equity and Inclusion:
“Lunar New Year — or Tet — has always, hands down, been my favorite holiday to celebrate. As a child, I loved playing special games like Bau Cua Tom Ca and getting the little red envelopes we call lì xì. It was and still is such a magical time for me. The family traditions that I’ve long practiced during this holiday has imprinted within me a spirit of hope, celebration and pure joy for the future ahead. These past couple of years have taught me that embodying that spirit is a practice and requires an intentionality. Now more than ever, I am so grateful for these small acts of joy, as they help to ground me and carry me through challenging times like these. I am really looking forward to facing the Year of the Tiger with open arms and a bright smile.”
Serena Wang, senior strategist, Michigan Medicine Strategic Planning and Business Development:
“I am excited for the Year of the Tiger being a Tiger myself! I was a quiet and shy kid, but decided in high school to act with confidence and bravery. I will continue to be brave and confident. Growing up, the Lunar New Year was an important experience with the Saturday Chinese school community. Every year there was a night of performances from each class, a Lion Dance that my brother participated in, and Chinese folk dances that my sister and I danced in. When I was older, I went home as much as possible for the Lunar New Year to spend time with my family.”
How you can celebrate at Michigan Medicine
In celebration of the Lunar New Year, please join the Michigan Medicine AAPI Resource Group in celebrating the Year of the Tiger!
Join the group later today, Feb. 1, from noon-1 p.m.
During this event, the AAPI group will share their favorite Lunar New Year traditions and you’l’ have the chance to hear from Duxin Sun, Ph.D., about his efforts toward AAPI inclusion at the University of Michigan.
For more information on this event visit: Lunar New Year Celebration | Office for Health Equity & Inclusion or join using the zoom information below:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 957 5346 8130
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