‘Food, family and blessings’: Communities celebrating Lunar New Year in a pandemic

Stephanie Wong and Brianna Huynh are both members of Subtle Cantonese Learning, a project aimed at making Cantonese learning more accessible to communities around the world. What originally began on a Discord server has evolved into a worldwide community filled with Asian people in Canada, the United States, Australia and Malaysia.

Ahead of Lunar New Year, the group has planned an online Lunar New Year Lantern Charity Gala to host a night of games and performances.

“I know that a lot of people are probably celebrating very differently and very quietly,” Wong said.

“This Chinese New Year I just want to give everyone an opportunity to actually enjoy themselves this year. It’s been a rough year.”

The team reached out to lion dancers and other performers from the community to bring people together as much as possible in a virtual setting, Huynh said, adding that they have also reached out to small Asian-owned businesses to give them a platform.

Reaching out to businesses was a good opportunity to give back to them, Wong said.

“A lot of Asian communities (and) Chinatowns are being impacted severely by COVID-(19) pandemic. We got hit the hardest.”

Additionally, the group is working to support three Asian charities through their online event, including the Mon Sheong Foundation in Toronto and Cameron House in San Francisco.

“The main goal we wanted to do was to give back to the Chinese community,” said Huynh. “We also wanted to make sure that our money was going directly towards the community.”

Going into the Year of the Ox, Huynh and Wong are both looking forward to more peace in everyone’s mind.

“I hope that everyone continues to grow and they take the time that we’ve all spent at home thinking about things and working on ourselves,” said Huynh.

Full Interview Audio with Teacher and Brianna

Subtle Cantonese Learning’s Lantern Charity Gala is on Saturday, February 20th, 2021 at 7 pm EST.

Stay tuned on our Eventbrite page and our social media to see what surprises we have in store for you! Get your tickets on our event page now!

All proceeds will go to our selected charities: Cameron House of San Francisco, Wing On Wo & Co of New York City, and Mon Sheong Foundation of Toronto. Donations are not mandatory to attend but every dollar of donation comes with raffle entries for our prizes!


Read the full Global News article about 2021 Lunar New Year here