As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep the world indoors, families are forced to ring in the Year of the Ox with health safety in mind.
Last year at the onset of the pandemic, China imposed a strict lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus, shutting down the Lunar New Year festivities just days before they were scheduled to take place. Now, a year later, in-person celebrations in China were canceled amid recent surges in infections in parts of the country.
The Lunar New Year marks the end of the Chinese calendar and celebrated among the Chinese cultural sphere in various countries. Residents in other countries observing the Lunar New Year, including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, are also proceeding with the festivities in caution, wearing face masks when visiting temples – which are subsequently doused with disinfectant to prevent any potential spread of the coronavirus.
Here’s what celebrating one of the most important cultural holidays in the Chinese culture looks like amid the pandemic:
Families host virtual gatherings to observe the holiday. Chinese officials encouraged residents not to travel after recent outbreaks.
For those who decide to go to the temple, people are subject to temperature checks prior to entry.
Worshippers wear face coverings when praying at temples for the Lunar New Year.
Buddhist monks and visitors alike wear protective gear to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Temples are hosed down with disinfectant.
Chinese opera troupe members wore face shields over ornate make-up for performances.
An advertisement for a COVID-19 contact-tracing app is posted to track surges in infections in Hong Kong.
Signs are posted in New York City’s Chinatown in the US to remind people not to gather in large groups.
While not all Lunar New Year festivities went according to plan in 2021, families (and pets alike) made the most out of it.