February 1st marks the beginning of Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year, also referred to as the Spring Festival, symbolizes new beginnings and wishes for prosperity and good fortune in the year ahead. Festivities take place in the weeks leading up to the Lantern Festival, also called Yuan Xiao Festival, which will be celebrated on February 15th.
This year, Asian communities around the world celebrate the Year of the Tiger, which occurs once every 12 years. Those born in the Year of the Tiger are known for their bravery, strength, and sense of justice. Festivities often include family meals, houses being decorated in red for good luck, dragon imagery to symbolize power and good fortune, and the exchanging of bright red envelopes with money for luck and prosperity.
As we bring in this Lunar New Year, we are reminded of how proud and grateful we are for the contributions of Asian people to this country. Our province is stronger, more vibrant and more inclusive because of Asian-Canadians.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a steep increase in anti-Asian racism and violence, fueled by misinformation, ignorance and hatred. OPSEU/SEFPO is honoured to represent many brave, highly-skilled Asian workers in Ontario and, like the tiger, we will never back down in fighting against anti-Asian racism.
To all OPSEU/SEFPO members celebrating Lunar New Year, we wish you luck, prosperity and joy. Happy Year of the Tiger!
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer