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Lunar New Year: Fresh Event Ideas for Businesses

A lion dancer celebrating Lunar New Year

January 8, 2024

At midnight on January 1, people all over the globe toasted 2024’s arrival. And then we all got back to work. While it may feel like the party’s over, take heart—a significant part of the world is gearing up for another big celebration that goes on for days: the Lunar New Year.

About the Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year marks a fresh start on the lunisolar calendar and ushers in the promise of spring. It’s also commonly called the Chinese New Year here in the US, but the holiday is celebrated throughout many Asian cultures.

“Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities, among others. The New Year celebration is usually celebrated for multiple days—not just one day as in the Gregorian calendar’s New Year. In 2024, Lunar New Year begins on February 10.” – The History Channel

No matter where the Lunar New Year is celebrated, it’s all about gathering with family and celebrating new beginnings. The National Museum of Asian Art paints this vivid Lunar New Year picture:

“At home, families decorate windows with red paper cuttings and adorn doors with couplets expressing auspicious wishes for the new year. Shopping for holiday sundries in open-air markets and cleaning the house are also beloved traditions. The Lunar New Year’s Eve reunion dinner is the highlight that kicks off the holiday, a feast with a spread of symbolic dishes, such as a whole fish representing abundance, that bring good luck and fortune. The fifteenth and final day of the holiday is the Lantern Festival, during which people have tangyuan, or sweet glutinous rice balls, and children carry lanterns around the neighborhood at night to mark the end of the celebration.”

The holiday is a terrific opportunity to engage your business’s customers and community with events! There are so many meaningful and beautiful points of inspiration that deciding which way to go is probably the hardest part.

Lunar New Year Traditions

The Lunar New Year is celebrated with many customs—the following are just a few!

 

  • Red decorations: Red is considered a lucky color in many Asian cultures, and it is often used to decorate homes and businesses during the Lunar New Year.
  • Lion and dragon dances: Performed by trained dancers in elaborate costumes and masks, these performances are believed to bring good luck and fortune.
  • Fireworks: Fireworks are a common way to celebrate the Lunar New Year—they’re believed to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck.
  • Family meals: The Lunar New Year is a time for families to come together and share meals. Traditional dishes include dumplings, fish, rice cakes, and noodles.
  • Red envelopes: Money-filled red envelopes are given to children and unmarried adults as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
  • The Year of:  In the Chinese Zodiac, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon. And not just any dragon, specifically the Wood Dragon! According to The Japan Times, “As the luckiest and most auspicious of the 12 animals, the dragon is thought to signify unprecedented opportunities. In a dragon year, people are said to be able to harness the creature’s intelligence, leadership, and abilities to pursue their dreams with creativity, passion, courage, and confidence.”

Lunar New Year Event Ideas for Businesses

Celebrate the spirit of the Spring Festival and create meaningful experiences for your customers! The following ideas are meant to be fairly simple for small businesses to execute, but they can also be developed into something much grander.
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Host a Lunar New Year-themed art exhibit:

Support local Asian artists by displaying traditional and contemporary art celebrating the Lunar New Year. You could send email and printed invitations to your customers (maybe add an element like the sip-and-shop idea below). Share shots of the works on your social media accounts and invite everyone to visit your business to enjoy the art.

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Auspicious sip and shop

Transform your space with traditional decorations (and artwork, as above) and offer special Lunar New Year discounts. You could serve traditional beverages or themed cocktails and snacks.  If you want to add an experiential element, incorporate a lion dance!
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Lucky red envelopes

One of the most cherished Lunar New Year traditions is the exchange of red envelopes filled with cash for good luck and prosperity. Bring this tradition to your business! Your red envelopes could contain surprise discounts or small gift vouchers inside to customers. This gesture will not only make them feel lucky but also encourage repeat shopping.
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Lunar New Year charity

A sense of giving and community is a big part of the Lunar New Year. Organize a fundraiser for a cause that aligns with the holiday’s values, such as helping those in need or supporting education. Whether you raise funds through a simple raffle or a peer-to-peer fundraising event, the act of giving back will help exemplify the benevolence and sense of community at the core of this holiday.  For Lunar New Year fundraising ideas, read 8 Winter Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign Ideas.

a paper dragon for the Lunar New Year
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Lunar New Year-themed workshops

Foster appreciation for the traditions that make the Lunar New Year so special. Connect with local artisans to offer a fun workshop related to Lunar New Year traditions, such as calligraphy or paper cutting. Customers can learn something new while enjoying your products or services.
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A taste of the Lunar New Year

f you own a food or retail business, consider introducing a limited-time Lunar New Year menu item or product associated with the holiday. This could be a one-of-a-kind cocktail, a special dish, or a t-shirt printed for the occasion.

Lunar New Year Event Planning Tips
  • Collaborate with local Asian businesses or cultural organizations for mutual promotion and support.
  • Embrace cultural accuracy and authenticity by consulting with experts or community members.
  • Leverage social media, email marketing, and your website to spread the word about your event.
  • Remember to capture the moment! Hire a photographer, use your phone, or task an employee with taking pictures and videos that can be used on social media.

The Net-Net

The Lunar New Year presents a wonderful opportunity for your business to celebrate your local Asian communities, provide a fun customer experience, and increase brand exposure. Run your event on Eventgroove…for free! Customers can register to attend your Lunar New Year Sip-and-Shop Night or calligraphy workshop. In doing so, you’ll have a better idea of how many people plan to attend, which will help you deliver a great event.

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