Lunar New Year 2021

How Asian Americans felt about the difference this year


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Traditional lion dancing

As the pandemic continues, Asian Americans may have celebrated Lunar New Years in another way this year.

Vivian Phan, a 19-year-old business major at Evergreen Valley College and San Jose City College, said that she felt as if there was an obstacle in celebrating this year.

She said that she celebrated it with her immediate family at home.

“I was sad that I had to wear a mask around my family, this is usually our favorite holiday to celebrate,” Phan said.

While adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, she felt as if her family wasn’t able to celebrate Lunar New Years to its fullest extent. Phan said that it was heartbreaking that this was her first time seeing her family after social distancing for a while, and that they were “restricted from (their) usual hugs and kisses,” she said.

Illanah Phong, a 21-year-old business major at EVC and SJCC, also said that she was devastated because she couldn’t celebrate as previous years. She said that she would always go to Grand Century Mall for New Years with her family.

“It was weird not to be there watching people light firecrackers and lion dancing,” Phong said.

Phong said that she would usually go to a Buddhist temple to pay her respects every year, but this year, she and her family wanted to be cautious in the midst of the pandemic.

Ryan Nguyen, a 21-year-old sociology major at SJCC, said that his family was more upset than he was.

“My parents usually celebrate Lunar New Years in Vietnam with their families back home. When they’re in Vietnam, they have a big party and catch up with everyone there,” Nguyen said.

As for COVID affecting himself, he said, “I usually celebrate it with my cousins since my parents are gone, but this year I wanted to quarantine and stay home because one of my cousins caught COVID.”

Nguyen said that his cousins are his favorite family members to hang around, so it was odd that they weren’t eating and lighting up firecrackers in their neighborhood.