Today is Lunar New Year. I feel like in the last few years, Lunar New Year has become really hip among corporations and businesses. No matter the product, they have their Lunar New Year sales and promotions.
Even my local newspaper has a “Happy Lunar New Year” banner at the top of their website with an image of a Tiger today. (It’s the year of the tiger.)
It just feels like another trend “everyone” has to jump on.
I’m all for people learning about other cultures and their holidays. But, when it is not done with care, it can be upsetting.
Last week I came across a post in my neighborhood Buy Nothing group where someone was looking for a few items to help teach her preschoolers about Lunar New Year. One of the things on her list were the lucky red envelopes.
Someone responded that she had Japanese “otoshidama” money envelopes and included a photo of them. For those who do not know, like it seemed these people did not, Japanese New Year is celebrated January 1. It does not coincide with Lunar New Year. Also, while red envelopes are used for giving money during Lunar New Year, the Japanese New Year envelopes come in all colors and designs (there is no set standard envelope).
I was annoyed that the giver was grouping the Japanese envelopes with this Lunar New Year ask. I was annoyed that the teacher hadn’t done her own homework ahead of time to know that Japan doesn’t celebrate Lunar New Year. (The teacher had quickly commented that she was interested in the Japanese envelopes, which is why I came to this conclusion.)
I went back and forth on whether or not I should chime in and say something. I didn’t want to make things uncomfortable in a neighborhood group. But, at the same time, I didn’t want the teacher to to share Japanese New Year envelopes with her students when she was teaching them about Lunar New Year. When talking to a friend about this, she said it isn’t my responsibility to educate these people but if it really bothers me, to say something.
In the end, I politely commented that Japanese New Year is January 1 and does not coincide with Lunar New Year. The teacher thanked me and said that afterwards she had looked it up and would save the envelopes for the calendar/Japanese New Year.
This may seem like a really small thing. But, who knows how many people in our 1,000+ group saw the post and comments. If I didn’t correct them, maybe others would also think Japan celebrates Lunar New Year.
Often times, it’s the little things that make a big difference.