How Americans Celebrate the Lunar New Year
This Lunar New Year begins on February 1st and will say goodbye to the year of the Ox and hello to the year of the Tiger. Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the calendar year for cultures whose months are moon-cycles and notes the transition between different zodiac signs. Celebrations in 2022 will last from February 1st to February 15th. While Lunar New Year is often referred to as Chinese New Year, it is important to note that Non-Chinese cultures that celebrate New Year do not necessarily refer to their holiday as Chinese New Year. For example, South Korean Americans often celebrate Korean New Year and Vietnamese Americans celebrate Tet. Regardless of how they refer to the holiday, almost half of Asian Americans we surveyed told us they celebrate Lunar New Year!
This holiday is really about time with the family and is usually celebrated with having special foods or drinks. Gifting money in red or white envelopes is also a key part of the occasion, generally given from adult to children to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings.
Another key part of this holiday is the climactic ending, through the Lantern Festival. Activities that are part of the Festival include lion and dragon dancing, stilt-walkers, and eating rice balls.
While Asian Americans are split on whether brands should activate on Lunar New Year, very few believe that they should never do it.
If brands do market or advertise about Chinese or Lunar New Year, Asian Americans — especially those who are Chinese and Vietnamese — want them to explain what the holiday is about and why it is important. Sharing stories of people celebrating the holiday, showing how to support Asian Americans and the issues this segment faces, and what people can do to celebrate the holiday also rank quite high.
So what should your brand do if you want to market during the Chinese or Lunar New Year?
- Build awareness of what Lunar New Year is and why it is important. Panda Express did just this through an ad campaign in 2021 that taught a young child the important traditions that make up this holiday.
- Highlight how your brand supports Lunar New Year through increased representation of the components that make this holiday special (e.g., food, décor). Target offers a great example of this by highlighting Jing Gao on their website. Jing Gao is the Founder and CEO of Fly By Jing and is bringing Chinese flavors to American households. Her brand is now available at Target.
- Include Lunar New Year as part of a larger promotion of holidays and occasions celebrated by multicultural consumers. American Girl has done this through their recently released celebration outfits which includes Lunar New Year, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, and Hannukah.
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