PHOTOS: Despite COVID-19, Lunar New Year quietly celebrated around the world

Wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Anna Lee, 9, stands next to lion dancers during a Lunar New Year celebration at Dao Quang Temple on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Garland, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)Wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Anna Lee, 9, stands next to lion dancers during a Lunar New Year celebration at Dao Quang Temple on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Garland, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
South Korean family members bow to respect for their ancestor in North Korea, on the Lunar New Year at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)South Korean family members bow to respect for their ancestor in North Korea, on the Lunar New Year at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
An Indian Chinese lights joss sticks to place in a cauldron on the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year at a temple in Kolkata, India, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)An Indian Chinese lights joss sticks to place in a cauldron on the first day of Chinese Lunar New Year at a temple in Kolkata, India, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
Lion dancers prepare their costumes during a celebration of the Lunar New Year at a temple in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. The celebration marks the Year of the Ox in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)Lion dancers prepare their costumes during a celebration of the Lunar New Year at a temple in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. The celebration marks the Year of the Ox in the Chinese calendar. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus offer prayers outside the closed Yonghegong Lama Temple, usually crowded with worshippers, during the first day of the Lunar New Year in Beijing, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus offer prayers outside the closed Yonghegong Lama Temple, usually crowded with worshippers, during the first day of the Lunar New Year in Beijing, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Divers perform an underwater lion dance at the KLCC Aquaria during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)Divers perform an underwater lion dance at the KLCC Aquaria during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
A woman wearing a protective mask prays at the Thean Hou Temple during first day of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. The movement control order (MCO) currently enforced across the country to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, has been extended to Feb. 18, effectively covering the Chinese New Year festival that falls on Feb. 12 this year. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)A woman wearing a protective mask prays at the Thean Hou Temple during first day of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. The movement control order (MCO) currently enforced across the country to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, has been extended to Feb. 18, effectively covering the Chinese New Year festival that falls on Feb. 12 this year. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
People wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus as they pray at a temple for the Chinese Lunar New Year, Year of the Ox, in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)People wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus as they pray at a temple for the Chinese Lunar New Year, Year of the Ox, in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Yoon Kim, center, along with other volunteers from the Korean-American Association of New Jersey, pack bags to give away. Besides masks and hand sanitizer, the bags contain the ingredients for Dduk Guk, a rice cake soup that is traditionally eaten by Koreans to celebrate the new year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Yoon Kim, center, along with other volunteers from the Korean-American Association of New Jersey, pack bags to give away. Besides masks and hand sanitizer, the bags contain the ingredients for Dduk Guk, a rice cake soup that is traditionally eaten by Koreans to celebrate the new year. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Millions of people around the world are ringing in the Year of the Ox a bit differently this Lunar New Year.

With the backdrop of a global pandemic, festivities for the holiday are muted after China, Vietnam, Taiwan and other governments tightened travel curbs and urged the public to avoid big gatherings following renewed virus outbreaks.

Still, in other countries and cities – pending local restrictions – many could be found gathering on Feb. 12, dawning lucky red masks and burning incense and praying.

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged that the typical celebrations and gatherings among friends and families, which usually last two weeks, will look much different this year. However, “the lessons we draw from the ox – an animal symbolizing hard work, perseverance, and honesty – will help us move forward during these difficult times,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put anti-Asian racism in the spotlight with police in some Canadian cities, such as Vancouer, reporting an uptick in reported hate crimes and confrontations.

“Together, let’s reaffirm our commitment to build a more inclusive Canada, celebrate the diversity that makes us strong, and continue to fight discrimination and hatred in all its forms,” Trudeau said.

In B.C., where Premier John Horgan has pledged to create anti-racism legislation, said that while he’ll miss the “vibrancy and excitement” that typically comes with the holiday, many will be taking part in online events, video chats with their families and decorating their homes.

“Kung Hei Fat Choi! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Saehae bok mani badeuseyo! Chúc mừng năm mới!”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past warned of Öffnungsdiskusionorgien (translated as an orgy of discussions about openings), one of one of the 1,200 words added to the German lexicon as reported by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
German lexicon grows by 1,200 words, many inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Öffnungsdiskusionorgie (orgy of discussions about openings) among new entries

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read