Celebrating Lunar New Year: ‘It’s like Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Thanksgiving all wrapped into one’

Holidays

(WTNH) — Lunar New Year is a big celebration in the Chinese culture

“For us Chinese people, Asian Americans, it’s like Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Thanksgiving all wrapped into one,” said Connecticut’s Attorney General Willian Tong. He’s the child of Chinese immigrants who owned the popular San Pan Chinese Restaurant in Wethersfield. 

The family has a dumpling recipe that’s been passed down through the generations. Tong learned from his grandmother; his daughter Eleanor learned from her grandmother. And, it’s always part of the celebrations. 

“It’s mostly the big thing on Chinese New Year,” said Eleanor, “and then you just kind of have it as part of the big meal.”

Making the dumplings is a tedious process but you’ll notice, there’s no measuring. It’s all by sight. 

Sometimes they’re boiled, sometimes they’re pan-fried, but in this house, they’re always served with soy sauce and some sesame oil. 

As we head into the Chinese New Year, you can’t ignore, the past year has been a difficult one — with the pandemic and an increase in racism against Asian Americans.

“Unfortunately there’s been a ton of Asian, racism and a lot of my friends have experienced it,” said Eleanor. “My sister has experienced it, I’ve seen it.”

“It’s been really difficult since the pandemic hit us, there’s been a lot of anti-Asian racism, people were referring to the COVIDvirus as the Kung flu, or the China virus, not only does that not only does that not help it’s very hurtful and damaging, people feel less safe, they are less safe people.”

Tong says, for the most part, people in Connecticut have been welcoming and supportive. But, he has a suggestion on how you can celebrate and support the Chinese Americans in your community, too. 

“Best thing you can do is on Friday order up your favorite Chinese food.”

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