Welcome to the Year of The Rat!
To expand inclusion beyond East Asian cultures, this week Asians @ Button hosted a company-wide happy hour to celebrate Lunar Year. The event kicked off with an introduction to the Year of the Rat, followed by the story of The Great Race, which is the origin story of the Chinese Zodiac. We also celebrated with Malaysian and Japanese fare.
Established in 2019, Asians @ Button is an employee resource group formed to create a safe space for Buttonians who identify as "Asian" or "Asian American" to share their experiences and work together to foster inclusion.
Why is inclusion so important to Button? Because, as we continue to grow and scale our company we also want to grow and scale our culture with inclusion top of mind.
Before the event, we asked members of the group to share how they celebrate the new year. Here's what they had to say.
"As a first-generation Korean growing up in the deep south, my parents did the best they could to preserve Korean traditions.
Similar to Chinese New Year traditions, children bow to elders to receive "lucky money." This process of both giving and receiving is supposed to bring prosperity into the new year. My siblings and I did this with zeal, knowing we would receive $10 we could use to purchase a wide array of candies from the corner store.
Additionally, Koreans eat a lucky dish to bring luck into the new year. Similar to eating black eyed peas, (which we also adopted as an American new year tradition), Koreans eat a rice cake soup called tteokguk. As I've gotten older, I've done my best to retain these traditions. Instead of sharing them with my family, who live across the country, I've since used the Lunar New Year as an opportunity to share my culture with friends, often hosting potlucks or going to the Lower East Side to watch the parade."
Maintaining relationships with family
"Chinese New Year's was always a time for my family and I to celebrate our heritage, even though I grew up in Alabama. There was a Chinese association in the state that would hold an annual Chinese New Year, where families would gather to eat dumplings, give red pouches, and watch performances.
I distinctly remember looking forward to this event every year as a way to see my friends and potentially even perform in a children's dance/song for the community. These days, Chinese New Year is an occasion to eat roast duck and dumplings in Chinatown and call home to wish my parents well."
"My family and I usually celebrate the New Year by cleaning, decorating the house, and eating hotpot. Beyond that, we eat a ton of other foods like fish, rice cake, noodles, dumplings, oranges, etc. which all symbolize something auspicious to ring in the New Year.
The abundance of food is key. Eating together is the single most important way to spend time with family and it's deeply rooted in our culture. When I was little, I'd also greet all the adults with a New Year's greeting and receive red envelopes (with money!) in return."
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