Celebrating the Lunar New Year in a Pandemic


Graphic made by A. Guo

Celebrating amongst loss.

A. Guo, Editor-in-Chief

Every year I watch my mother roll homemade dumpling skins with ease on our flour-covered cutting board. Background sounds of the annual 春节晚会 (Spring Festival Gala) play on our TV as I nibble on 冬瓜糖 (winter melon candy), dried coconut, and prawn crackers. My 姥姥,小姨,and 小衣服 call in from across the world in their cozy apartment on WeChat, and my cousin calls from a few cities away in NC, as we pass, “新年快乐,身体健康,恭喜发财,”s happily passed around. 

We fold the dumplings, one-by-one and tray-by-tray, as the day passes on, adding hidden surprises in select dumplings for lucky eaters. A candy for good luck, a walnut for good health, rice cakes for a promotion, a M&M (as a replacement for a coin) for wealth. They get boiled and served with black vinegar, along with 蒸鱼 (steamed fish), spring rolls, and a variety of other mouth-watering dishes. 


Most years, we get to attend Chinese parties and potlucks. I get to eat my best friend’s mom’s 凉粉 and her dad’s 年糕, placed amongst the treasure-covered kitchen island table with kids and parents lined up with their paper plates. The kids play rounds of spoons (and in the past few years, innocent rounds of Cards Against Humanity), stomachs full from seconds, thirds, and dessert, listening to the laughter and chatter of parents.


Last year, the fear of Covid-19 kept everyone from gathering, having already hit our second homes. Instead of a house-filled with ten families, it was a table filled with ten people. But still, we managed to reminisce of a pre-Covid world, giggle to horrible pictionary drawings, and fill our bellies with good fortune.


But this year, like every other, we will call through WeChat, to wish for a happier and healthier year, and count our lucky dumplings. Because even though I miss the potlucks we didn’t get in 2019, the one-dollar coins in red envelopes from Chinese school, the fifty pairs of shoes left by the door. Even though this year, we’re filled with grief and anxiety from loss and loneliness: we can still hope.



每年,我会看着我妈妈在面粉覆盖的切菜板上轻松的擀饺子皮儿。我慢慢地吃着冬瓜糖,椰子糖,虾片,听着电视上的春节晚会。我的姥姥,小姨,和小姨夫在中国跟我,我的妈妈,还有我的表哥在微信视频。我们开心的互相拜年说,“新年快乐,身体健康,恭喜发财” 。


我们一起包幸运饺子,从一个一个包到一盘一盘,就像流逝的日子,在饺子里包上糖,坚果,年糕,M&M豆 (代替真钱)。在桌子上,我们摆上煮好的饺子,黑醋,蒸鱼,春卷,和各种各样令人垂涎的菜肴。






今年像每一年,我们在微信上视频,祝福彼此新的一年更幸福,更健康的!在餐桌上数着我们吃到的幸运饺子。我很是想念从前的和很多人一起吃的春节宴,想以前可以从中文学校拿到春节的红包,想看到朋友家聚会的人们留在门外的五十双鞋。虽然今年, 我们充满了失落和孤独 ,悲伤和焦虑:我们还有很多希望。