PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – We welcomed 2021 more than a month ago, but today is the beginning of the Lunar or Chinese New Year. Think of it as Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July all combined into one celebration. It’s also another chance for new beginnings.
A normal celebration calls for fireworks, traditional Chinese dancing and a feast for hundreds. Today is the first day of a two-week festival but, like everything else, it’s different this year because of the pandemic.READ MORE: Trump-Backed Candidate Bob Paduchik Tapped To Head Ohio Republican Party
“This is a time that we’re supposed to be proud and happy and unfortunately no one thought it was going to be a full year,” said Marian Lien, the Organization of Chinese Americans President.
But many are still keeping some of the traditions alive. Tina Chuang is the owner of Ting’s Kitchen. She’s also a native of Taiwan. She’s trying to make the best of this year’s celebrations with a scaled-down feast.
“Normally I invite around 50 to 60 customers and friends, but this year I can’t,” said Chuang. “I only did it for my employees. I appreciate them still working for the restaurant, for the customers.”READ MORE: Police Arrest Man Accused Of Shooting Neighbor In The Arm After Dispute
This is the Year of the Ox, which signifies movement and strength. To symbolize that, the Organization of Chinese Americans is working to help the 400 Asian restaurants in the Pittsburgh area, some of which have struggled through the pandemic.
“I think we’re all pretty tired of 2020 and what the Year of the Rat brought us, and we want to go forward with the Year of the Ox and push forward toward strength and positivity and move into good health and auspiciousness,” said Lien.
But the new year is about more than business resurrection.
“For me it means everything restarts, everything reborn,” said Chuang. “I hope this year means no virus and everything is peace.”MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Heavy Rainfall, Flood Watches And Warnings Issued
The Lunar New Year is something we can all celebrate, six local restaurants are having New Year specials with the proceeds going to restaurant workers who have been hit hard by the pandemic. You can find all six and their specials here.