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Celebrate the Lunar New Year
with Your Business Associates
By Angi Ma Wong

     You don't have to spend a lot of money to show respect for your local ethnic population. For example, the lunar new year usually falls between January 21 and February 20 on the Gregorian calendar. This year, the Year of the Snake, begins on January 24, 2001 through February 11, 2002. Businesses close down and everyone celebrates by taking several days off. There are family obligations to attend to, meals to cook, homes to clean, debts to pay off, haircuts to get, and new clothes to purchase - all in anticipation of New Year's day.

     The operative color is red for good luck and gold for prosperity, and luckily, this major holiday occurs right before Valentine's Day. A trip to any Chinatown will reap many inexpensive decorations that you could put up in your place of business. You may have a giveaway of Chinese wall calendars (buy them at least six weeks before because they usually sell out quickly.) or just display a basket at the counter, lined with a red cloth napkin and filled with tangerines (preferably with stem and leaves). Invite your customers to take two of the fruits and wish them a happy new year.     

     Give the children who come with their parents to your place of business two shiny new dimes or quarters in red envelopes. Again, these can be purchased for about two dollars for two dozen in grocery, book, and gift stores in areas that have large Chinese or Vietnamese populations. Or you can send a new year's card to your Asian clients, customers, friends, and neighbors. This is a very popular practice and there are a wide variety available. The celebration may continue for two weeks.

Reprinted by courtesy of author Angi Ma Wong, from her best-selling book,
Target: The U.S. Asian Market, A Practical Guide To Doing Business, 1993.

Other articles by Angi Ma Wong
Crash Course on Asian Corporate Etiquette
The Significance of Numbers
The Significance of Colors


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