Happy Lunar New Year!
This is Wendy, Director of Operations for Kasa. You might be wondering why an Indian restaurant is celebrating the lunar new year, also commonly referred to as “Chinese New Year” or Tết, in Vietnamese. I am Chinese-American, you might recall my previous blog post on Kasa, “My Asian Experience”. Every year I bring a little of my culture to the workplace to celebrate a new beginning. Sometimes through a little education with a private employee blog post or as I did last year, passed red envelopes and new year candies out to the team. This year is special. Special because it’s the year of the Tiger! And as you may have noticed, we love Tigers at Kasa. Not to mention it happens to be my zodiac sign.
To celebrate the new year, we thought it would be fun to do a new year promotion and little game. Just like with Diwali, Chinese people also like to gamble and play games for the holiday, so here’s a fun gamble you can do with Kasa. Starting this weekend, February 5th through the 13th, if you purchase a Family Meal, we’ll include a special red envelope and game card. If you get a winning game card then you’ve won a $50 Kasa gift card! We hope you try your luck while enjoying a delicious meal with friends and family. They’ll be multiple winners at each store!
Some fun facts about Lunar New Year!
- It is the year of the Tiger, the third zodiac animal of the cycle. Check out this video on the story of the Tiger. It’s cute and great to share with the kids.
- Chinese New Year is two weeks long! Most people take a least a week off from work to travel and visit family. I doubt that would work in America. However, I found out this morning my go-to Chinese bakery is closed for the week. I’m too late to order my pastries!
- We start celebrating with a spring cleaning to start anew. Also, a lot of Chinese people start anew by buying new clothes for the year and throwing away old socks and underwear. That’s why in Chinatown you’ll notice lots of sock vendors selling large packs of socks at the festivals. Don’t start the new year in old holey underwear, that would be bad luck.
- Red symbolizes wealth and prosperity, it’s a lucky color. Also, the color red scares away the evil spirit, Nian, a lion-like demon. So we decorate for the holiday in red. And since it’s the year of the Tiger, having Tiger decorations also help keep away the bad spirits.
- Visiting family and eating lots of good food is essentially how to celebrate for two weeks! This weekend, I’m planning a take-out dim sum feast with my family. Every food has meaning, like noodles for longevity, or dumplings for wealth. Oranges symbolize gold and wealth. It seems like we Chinese people will find some sort of meaning in everything. But there are foods you should avoid, such as white foods. White symbolizes death. And porridge, which can bring poverty.
- We set off firecrackers and play drums to scare away evil spirits for the new year, such as the demon Nian. In SF Chinatown, businesses can pay the Chinese association to have a parade of drummers and lion dancers come into the business to chase the bad spirits away and bring good luck for the business. Too bad Kasa isn’t close enough to Chinatown, otherwise, I would love to have them come to us this year.
- Lots of money! This is mostly for kids but sometimes businesses give this out to employees as well. Kids get red envelopes with money inside for good luck and prosperity. $2 bills are very popular because the Chinese are superstitious about odd numbers. Even numbers are best, except anything with a “4” in it, because in Chinese “four” sounds like the word “death”. Every year, I go to Wells Fargo to clean out a poor teller’s stash of $2 bills. But every year it seems like they are more aware and prepared for Chinese New Year, so it’s gotten a lot easier to get fresh crisp bills around the holiday.
- There are a ton more traditions but the one main thing about this holiday is cherishing your family and loved ones and making the effort to reunite and reconnect with them. This feels especially important this year as the cloud of the pandemic is hopefully lifting. Covid hit the world around Lunar New Year back in 2020 and now I think we all feel anxious to reconnect and celebrate with others. Sadly, I don’t plan to visit my family during this time due to many of them having or recovering from covid. But the year is long, I am excitedly making plans to spend time with family throughout the rest of the year.
The Omicron is putting a damper on things right now, but my outlook for 2022 is bright and positive. I am a Tiger after all, and Tigers are said to be confident and enthusiastic. Last year the year of the Ox gave us the strength to persevere. Year of the Tiger is ready to inject new fierce energy and optimism! So let’s go!
Wishing everyone great happiness and prosperity, good health, and wealth!
Gung hay fat choy,