United States

Gong hei fat choy!


It’s a new calendar year but did you know that today also marks the Lunar New Year? (That’s why the headline to this piece is a New Year wish in Cantonese, which many who celebrate the Lunar New Year speak. It translates to, “Wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”)

Each year, the Lunar New Year – also known as the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival (although these events are slightly different) – is followed by 15 days of celebrations. And this year, it marks the transition from the Year of the Pig to this Year of the Rat. The rat is the Chinese zodiac sign known for being inquisitive and resourceful. That rat is also the first in the rotation of the 12 zodiac signs, meaning that a rat year is a year of renewal.

The holiday is associated with various myths and customs, which vary widely among those who celebrate the occasion. It was traditionally a time to honor deities and ancestors, with the evening before Chinese New Year’s Day being observed by Chinese families gathering for annual reunion dinners. It’s also traditional for families to thoroughly clean their houses to sweep away any ill fortune, and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of windows and doors with red paper symbols of good fortune and happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. Dumplings are often included in meals celebrating the holiday, and are frequently served as the first meal of the year.

Here at RSM, we have a strong focus on inclusion of all of our 11,000 people nationwide. And the best way for everyone to feel included is for them to be understood. We call it “the power of being understood,” and our 11 employee-led employee network groups (ENGs) serve as a driving force to help increase understanding and inclusion across our 86 offices across the country. And part of that means learning about one another – what’s important to those different from us, and how we can celebrate both our differences and our similarities.

The Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in China and in regions and countries with significant Chinese populations, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Mauritius, as well as many in North America and Europe.

As the national leader of RSM’s InspirAsian ENG and on behalf of our 11,000 people nationwide, I’d like to wish you great happiness and prosperity this Lunar New Year!

Kate Seitz
Partner and National InspirAsian employee network leader


Our InspirAsian network engages the firm’s Asian professionals in career development opportunities and cultural events