Understanding Other Cultures with the Enova Culture Committee

By: Lauren Ratcliff, Talent Development and Erik Feng, Analytics Associate

The goals of Enova’s Culture Committee are to find ways of increasing employee satisfaction, preserve aspects of our company culture, and promote our values. A recent development is our Cultural Connections program, which is meant to bring awareness to the diverse makeup of our employees. The program sponsors various cultural celebrations in the office throughout the year, offering a window into new cultures and traditions.

This month’s celebration was in honor of the Chinese New Year. All employees were invited to the event with a traditional red envelope and a small gold coin (in this case, a chocolate gold coin). In our 9th floor cafeteria, we celebrated with traditional food, drink and music, in addition to a presentation discussing the history of the Chinese New Year, and how the tradition has transitioned into modern times.

 A History of the Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year has a long history, from the animals chosen to represent each year, to the traditional lion dance, to the fireworks. The lion became a piece of the Chinese New Year because it represents strength, health and happiness. And fireworks were used initially to frighten away the evil spirits that could bring you bad luck in the new year.

As for the 12 animals used to represent each year on the Chinese calendar, these were supposedly chosen by an emperor many, many years ago. The animals were selected because the emperor considered them to be the best in the world, and in some versions of the story, he even set up contests to see which was the best swimmer, or invited them to a banquet so they could display their special talents.

Though the Chinese New Year originated in China, it is celebrated by nearly every country in East Asia. In modern times, the New Year has become a time for family and friends to get together and share a big meal. And it’s always fun for the kids to get their red envelopes filled with money — typically $5 to $10.

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