Chinese lanterns glow at night.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Many Asian households kickstarted the celebration of Lunar New Year on Feb. 12 a little bit differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the atmosphere in Chicago for Lunar New Year is typically festive with many people getting excited for the passing of red envelopes full of money, watching the lion dances and eating traditional food with their extended family members, many of these festivities have been canceled, forcing Asian communities to celebrate Lunar New Year on a smaller scale.

But these restrictions did not stop Asian American families from celebrating.

Kevin Duong, 22, of Chicago, and his immediate family hand made traditional foods like taro cakes and year cakes. His family also participated in traditions like not washing your head on the first day of Lunar New Year to keep your luck and having a massive cleaning of the house to get rid of the old to make space for the new year.

They even participated in watching the lion dance virtually.

“I guess things have been done on a smaller scale,” Duong says, “but it’s still pretty festive.”