By MARCO URIAS
Chinese New Year celebrations began on Feb. 1. It was time to celebrate the year of the tiger since shengxiao, based on the Chinese zodiac, repeats every 12 years. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the holiday’s reunions as well as the spring return to classes.
The important tradition of coming together with extended family and friends has been highlighted by cultural experts. This coming together, or reunion could entail traveling hundreds or thousands of miles sometimes across borders purposefully to be with family and in celebration of shengxiao.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the reunion part of the celebrations in which the hopes for the new year culminate: innovation, prosperity, good luck, and health.
Dana Zhang, dual instructor at Cypress College, was born in a year of the rabbit. This tiger-year she cancelled her trip to Shanghai due to the pandemic. She shared her story:
“And I have been planning to go back to Shanghai to visit my parents since last Chinese New Year. Unfortunately, I am still not able to make it until this year. However, my mother-in-law and father-in-law have been living with me since the pandemic, my 7 people household will definitely celebrate Chinese New Year and prepare a big feast for it.”
Students, whether or not they celebrated the year of the tiger, were affected. Biology major Joseph Quibrantar thought that the return to in-person classes was worth celebrating. “One reason to celebrate is it’s the first semester that most classes are going to be back in person,” he said.
The NOCCCD board of trustees mandated all students be vaccinated, and students were required to confirm their vaccination status on ‘myGateway.’ As a result, some had anticipated campus to be filled with activity at the start of the spring semester on Jan. 24.
However, this was not the case due to a surge in cases. President JoAnna Schilling sent out an email to give students the update. It read: ” In order to maintain your health and safety, we are extending the duration of our remote-only services and moving most of our in-person classes to a remote format through Friday, February 4, 2022.”
2023 will be the year of the rabbit. It is still too early to tell if the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly affect next Chinese New Year reunions. The ‘OC Health Agency’ data tracker was showing that 75% of people were vaccinated in the beginning of Feb. Though that number was 69% on Feb. 9.