Lunar New Year 2021: Making Rituals COVID-Safe
More than the crisp paper lanterns and rich, fantastical dragons of Western imagination, the Lunar New Year entices with traditional gatherings in which fabulous feasts and family time mark the beginning of a new lunar cycle.
Though the 2021 Lunar New Year officially begins on 12 February and celebrations continue through the next 16 days, celebrants across the world gather for sumptuous, family-centric festivities up to a week in advance. This ritual gathering of families amounts to three billion trips, the largest annual human migration, and underscores the importance of togetherness to the holiday.
In response to the challenges of COVID and in the spirit of the Year of the Ox, we imagine new ways to gather for festive feasts, with an emphasis on hygiene executed along the industry trends of single serve portions, in-room dining and satellite stations.
A New Way to Gather
A new way of gathering is upon us. Where our rituals have been ingrained through our unfettered joy of communion, marking the annual transition, the Year of the Ox begins with the unfamiliarity of unbridgeable distances. We are separated by physical and ephemeral boundaries.
Home has always been the locus of Lunar New Year celebrations, with family reunion dinners inciting the festivities. From northern China’s jiaozi (dumplings), to Mongolia’s ul boov cakes and Korea’s tteokguk soup, celebratory dishes are as much about the ritual of preparation as they are about sustenance during communion.
The Familiarity of Tradition
Ritual gathering of the living connects celebrants of the New Year with the 3,800-year history of the holiday and their ancestors. As the 2021 Year of the Ox, with its auspicious strength and reliability, approaches, the rituals that have arisen from physical closeness require new emphases on hygiene and emotional connections over the privilege of shared spaces amongst the living.
To indulge guests in the familiarity of traditions, we suggest supplanting extravagant buffets and sharing platters with single-serve portions. The diverse and nuanced trimmings of Lunar New Year feasts are ripe for repackaging into self-contained Flow Trays or chic bites on minimalist Porcelain Amuse Bouche dishes or Porcelain Pots for guests to collect with minimal contact.
Delight guests by surpassing expectations of traditional feasts while making a COVID-aware service that focuses on intimacy. Realise the traditional full-table experience of Lunar New Year feasts by choreographing gleaming Tilt Brass Bowls that carry yusheng and rice alongside show-stopping, delicious Nian Gao perched atop Tilt Black Glass Plinths directly on family tables. Alternatively, provide private buffets with Craster satellite stations that offer tailor-made meals delivered from the kitchen to the table; tang yuan, hot meat braises and cool mango puddings can all be served at once, limiting service contact, atop the Hot and Cold Trolley and innovative heating and cooling products. Scale down your luxurious traditional meals for parties of one in guest rooms with the Folding Tray Table, developed specifically for contactless delivery.
With strength, resilience and confidence on the horizon with the Year of the Ox, the hospitality industry looks to have a bright future as we act with compassion and renewed hope.
We hope to support our partners and colleagues where possible with consultations on safe openings and gatherings. For any questions or aspirations for the Year of the Ox, please get in touch.
From all of us at Craster, we wish you a warm and connected Lunar New Year.