Lunar New Year: Your Guide to Celebrating with an Asian Villain

Lunar New Year: Your Guide to Celebrating with an Asian Villain

Lunar New Year: Your Guide to Celebrating with an Asian Villain

Dating outside from Their culture It’s all fun and games until you have to explain to your significant other why you are stuff a dirty nickel in a dumpling or wears a red thong Mid-January. Let’s face it: the Lunar New Year is packed with traditions that are difficult to articulate unless you grew up in an Asian household.

My mother is Chinese and my father is Mexican, so he had to learn a lot about my mother’s culture (and vice versa). As a queer man living in one of the most diverse cities in the world, there have been many times that I’ve had to date people of color outside of my own culture and teach them how to celebrate Lunar New Year. Unfortunately, since I can’t hold on to a man, I’ve had to give up the game every year, and I’m starting to get tired.

Additionally, the Lunar New Year can feel isolating. It’s a holiday that comes with so many fond memories of family and home and it can be difficult to feel like nobody around you is making a big deal out of it. It’s even worse when your significant other doesn’t remember it’s the Lunar New Year and you have to passive-aggressively remind them. So those who are lucky enough to date Asian baddies celebrate the LNY, I’ve decided to make your life easier. Here’s my advice, and that of a few friends, on what you can do with or for your significant other to show them that you care about the holidays.

Go out for dumplings together – or better yet, make them at home

Lunar New Year traditions vary widely across the diaspora as the holiday is celebrated in China, South Korea, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. But for many households there is one constant: dumplings. I’m not just talking about a plate of about 10 dumplings, which would probably be a normal amount for a normal day. I’m talking about an excessive, borderline-voracious amount of dumplings.

Just as many Americans can remember eating way too much turkey or macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving, we have memories of being bursting at the seams on New Year’s Eve eat far too many dumplings. So it can be a thoughtful gesture to create new memories together.

Surprise her by wearing red underwear

This is a detail that would definitely put a smile on your significant other’s face. Wearing red lingerie is not only sexy, but shows that you pay attention to the small details. When we were growing up, my mother always made sure that we wore red underwear Maximize luck and fortune in the new year. Now that we’re adults, the tradition takes on a fun new form.

Don’t buy Traditional clothes without consulting them first

If you’re thinking about wearing a qipao or other traditional Asian attire to celebrate, it’s best to ask your partner how they feel about it before you do it.

“When it’s appropriate, ask her for help finding the right outfit,” Liliana Rasmussen, a half-Chinese friend, tells me. “And remember, it’s always better to ask than guess.”

Wearing traditional clothing without asking your partner can be a huge turnoff. They themselves may not have a connection to this part of their culture, which can leave them feeling fetishized or alienated.

Give them a red envelope (with literally everything in it)

No Lunar New Year would feel complete to me if I hadn’t received a red envelope. Usually the extended family gave us red bags full of money. I know what you’re thinking: in this economy?

Times are tough and inflation has reached doomsday proportions. So if you can’t afford to get the Benjamins out, better put something else in there, like a gift card, concert ticket, plane ticket, or something they can use that feels wanted. It’s the act of getting a red bag and opening it that feels special, not the money itself. You can buy the red bags at your nearest Chinatown if you live in a major city or above Amazon.

Thoroughly clean your home

This is pretty much self-explanatory on any given day, but this suggestion — courtesy of my friend Amy Zheng, who is an Asian-American and Pacific Islander collective named Baesians – is of particular importance during the Lunar New Year. That’s because you should have a clean house to rid your space of bad luck.

Mansplain nothing

Sure, you’ve done some well-intentioned research on the interwebs about lunar new years and want to transfer all that knowledge to your boo. I’ll give you a virtual pat on the back. But the worst thing you can do is tell them the way they’re celebrating is “wrong” or doesn’t conform to the most traditional way of doing things.

“As the Asian diaspora, many of us are experiencing a disconnect from the cultures and traditions of our ancestors. So maybe keep in mind that for your partner, “right” or “wrong” participation in traditions can be a touchy subject, since for many of us our knowledge or language skills are limited,” Vincent Chong, a friend in the New York borough Brooklyn, tell me. “Particularly as a queer and trans diaspora and mixed people, tradition doesn’t take up much space with us. So we need to actively build a new culture where we exist. There isn’t really a roadmap.”

Christopher Chin, who lives in New York, thinks similarly about how distant some of us might feel from the holidays. “Not everyone who celebrates LNY here in the US is privileged to understand or be connected to the cultural significance of many traditions,” says Chin. “One piece of advice is to remember to center your partner and be aware that there can be many different ways people can celebrate it.”

This advice is pretty consistent across the board. Feeling like your partner is genuinely curious about you and your personal traditions makes you feel good, according to my mom.

Again, keep in mind that the Asian diaspora is vast and extremely complex, and each household has its own way of doing things. Sometimes we make things up, and that’s okay. Don’t question the validity of your significant other’s way of celebrating the holiday because it’s authentic because it’s theirs.

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