By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Google employees, their family and friends celebrated Lunar New Year on Wednesday, February 18th at its Kirkland campus.
Employees took time from their busy days to join in celebrating the Year of the Sheep. There were lots of young children dressed in customary Chinese dress, most in red signifying good fortune and joy, accompanied by their parents and/or grandparents. Google employees provided the children with bags of goodies for the New Year celebration. Chinese candies were available that all that wanted to partake.
It was the second straight year that the Kirkland campus for Google put on a Lunar New Year Celebration. One of the co-organizers for the event, Ken Lin, indicated that the event generated a lot of interest. “People want to celebrate culture,” said Lin. It was a bigger event than the previous converted conference room adorned in decorations for the festive occasion was the site for the program which included a variety of traditional acts as well as new entertainment. The emcees for the event gave introductions year. There were at least 30 Google employees that helped organize the event. A in Chinese and then repeated what they said in English.
The program included 15 performances by Google employees, friends or people invited to come and perform. There was an entertaining magic act, a comedy duo, children dancing, singers and guest Jing Wang played an ancient Chinese instrument, the guzheng. The instrument is similar to a zither which has 18-21 strings and bridges that is strum to make music.
For those that could not watch the performances from the conference room, it was streamed live in the Google cafeteria. There were additional activities for the children including coloring, calligraphy, handcrafts, a ring toss and a blindfold game.
Governor Jay Inslee also sent along a message to Google employees acknowledging the celebration. “It is with great joy that I wish you all a Happy New Year,” read the statement by the emcees during the program, “Diversity is one of the state’s greatest strengths.” Governor Inslee added, “I wish you health, peace and prosperity.”
Qi Ke, a Google employee in its Cloud division explained about the traditions of Lunar New Year. The holiday is used for families to get together and is an especially fun time for the children. “There are big celebrations with lots of food and candies,” Ke added, “It’s a chance to indulge.” Ke explained that children receive red envelopes which usually contain money. The celebration of the New Year traditionally covers 15 days of celebration.
Lin indicated that the company celebrates other ethnic holidays such as the Hindu Festival of Lights known as Diwali.
Google, with its headquarters in Mountain View, California, established a Kirkland campus in 2009. It also has offices in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and Bothell. (end)
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.