Recently, members of the UHS AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Affinity group shared resources and details about Lunar New Year and the recent rise in violence directed at the Asian community. We have included the email below (minus details of a Zoom event that has already occurred) and hope that you will take some time to review and explore the details within.
February 9, 2021
Normally, the lead-up to Lunar New Year is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration for Asian Americans. However, considering the many unfortunate attacks against the community recently, we felt that it was imperative to speak up and raise awareness for these serious injustices. Still, we ask that you pause and inquire within yourself and your body about what you can take in right now before you continue reading.
Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
Throughout the pandemic, there has been a startling rise in acts of racism and xenophobia against Asian Americans. As you may know, there has been a very significant surge in these incidents over the past couple of weeks alone. Many of them have targeted Asian elders in particular and taken place right here in the Bay Area. Violence and discrimination against Asians often go unnoticed, so we are disturbed to see such brutal hate crimes receiving only some attention from national news.
In light of these attacks, we highly encourage you to take the time to learn more and raise awareness about what’s been happening. To start, we’ve compiled a list of resources for further reading, but while recent events are only now being spotlighted, they’ve also heightened existing concerns around rising anti-Asian bigotry, especially with the pandemic that initially sparked this sentiment. AAPI plans to hold a processing space and address these issues once we return from February break.
AAPI Restaurant Map
Now more than ever is it necessary to support our local Asian community, so the students and faculty of AAPI created a map of our recommendations for the best Asian cuisine in the Bay Area. We hope the next time you’re craving takeout that you’ll browse this map of our favorite spots and help out these small businesses, especially this Friday, February 12th!
Lunar New Year - link to Canva infographic!
UHS will not be in session on February 12th because it is the start of Lunar New Year, which is a holiday celebrated by China (Chunjie), Vietnam (Tết), Korea (Seollal), Tibet (Losar), Mongolia (Tsagaan Sar), and other Asian countries. Also known as the Spring Festival, it has no fixed date because it starts with the first new moon on the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later on the first full moon.
Lunar New Year is thousands of years old and based on various legends—one popular one is that there was a dragon called Nian, who went around the villages feasting on human flesh on New Year’s Day. To scare off Nian, the villagers would paste red decorations (since Nian feared the color red), burn lanterns, and create loud noises with firecrackers.
Traditionally, families gather on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so it is important to allow those in our community who celebrate this holiday the day off to partake in festivities so integral to their culture. Lunar New Year activities may include cleaning the household, religious ceremonies honouring ancestors, setting off firecrackers, and exchanging red envelopes with money for family members. It is also a time of reunion (considered the world’s largest annual human migration), with family members traveling to gather for large feasts composed of foods like banh chung (a Vietnamese rice cake with mung bean and pork), nian gao (Chinese sweet glutinous rice cake), and tteokguk (Korean rice cake soup).
2021 is the Year of the Ox according to the Chinese Zodiac calendar. Symbolizing hard work, positivity, and honesty, it is with the characteristics of the ox that we hope to tackle these trying times with resilience and hold some semblance of optimism for the new year.
Happy Lunar New Year!
Your AAPI Leaders and Faculty Sponsors
Sarah, Jeanette, Mason, Pierre, and Joanne