Want to communicate with your multicultural audience but not sure when to do it? We’ve got you covered. Here are 16 cultural events of note throughout the year that you can take advantage of to reach the South Asian and Chinese segments. There are certainly a lot more relevant events we could mention, and many other communities to cover, but this list is a good place to start.
The noteworthy occasions:
January 25th: Lunar New Year 2021 (Several East Asian cultures)
The big hurrah of the year for many East Asian cultures! Two key points of note: the Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration, so it’s perfectly acceptable for campaigns to extend past the January 25th date; also, the Lunar New Year is more than just a Chinese celebration. Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan, and several other cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year as well. That’s why we recommend that clients always use the term ‘Lunar New Year’ (and not ‘Chinese New Year’). FYI: it’s the Year of the Rat and if someone calls you a rat, it might actually be a compliment.
February 14th: Valentine’s Day (South Asian and Chinese)
Red roses don’t require translation. Neither do discounted vacation packages nor spa treatments.
March 8th: International Women’s Day (South Asian and Chinese)
Take the opportunity to celebrate modern femininity and feminism. If you’re looking for ideas, how about taking the lead from online retail giant JD.com and luxury retailer Secoo? For Women’s Day 2018, they launched a ‘Butterfly Day’ and ‘Goddess Festival’ respectively to celebrate. Other brands took the opportunity to expand the conversation around beauty its traditional definition.
March 9th: Holi (South Asian)
One of our favourite holidays, period. Holi is the celebration of good over evil, with much fanfare and flying coloured powder. Celebrations involve music, sweets, and dancing on the streets. If you haven’t taken part in a Holi celebration, take our professional recommendation: do it. (Pro tip: wear clothes you don’t mind getting covered in colour.) Send good wishes to your South Asian audiences, and keep in mind that a heavy dose of fun in the creative is vital!
April 13th: Vaisakhi (South Asian)
Traditionally the harvest festival in the Punjab and also one of the most important dates in the Sikh cultural calendar. Vaisakhi is a festival of joy! The Vaisakhi parade in Surrey, B.C., is one of the largest Vaisakhi celebrations outside of India.
May 10th: Mother’s Day (South Asian and Chinese)
One of the least-tapped opportunities to communicate. The family is front-and-center in South Asian and Chinese cultures. A newcomer’s connection to their culture of origin evolves as they spend more time in North America, but the emphasis on family will likely be one of the last things to change.
May 20th: 5/20 (Chinese)
Why on earth is May 20th a special date, you might ask? That’s because in Mandarin, “5/20” sounds a whole lot like “I love you”. It’s particularly popular with consumers from Mainland China.
June 1st: International Children’s Day (Chinese)
Celebrate the kids! International Children’s Day is widely celebrated in China. Consumers will take the opportunity to do the same here in Canada if it’s offered.
June 21st: Father’s Day (South Asian and Chinese)
Filial sons and daughters (and those striving to get there) are going to take this opportunity to celebrate good ol’ dad.
June 25th: Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese)
Let them eat rice dumplings! Originally a day for dispelling misfortune, this holiday has since evolved to become (unofficially) the day to hold dragon boat races and enjoy rice dumplings. Take this as an opportunity to wish your audiences well (and release some great offers, while you’re at it).
August to early September: Back-to-school season (South Asian and Chinese)
Backpacks. Laptops. Cars. Education is one of the core values of South Asian and Chinese cultures. If you have ideas to help parents prepare their kids for a successful academic year, they’re listening.
August 25th: Qixi Festival (Chinese)
Bring out the roses and red wine. The second Valentine’s Day for the Chinese segment, the Qixi Festival rejoices in the forbidden love of the cowherd and the weaver girl. Take this opportunity to do something special for all the couples out there.
October 1st: Mid-Autumn Festival (Chinese)
The second most culturally significant holiday for the Chinese. It’s a time to bask in the bounty of the harvest, reunite with family, and enjoy the perfection of the full moon.
November 11th: Double Eleven (Chinese)
Black Friday and Cyber Monday on steroids. You can almost hear the sounds of fingers frantically tapping phone screens as people snap up deals on Double Eleven. Sales figures on Double Eleven are twice as large as on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Don’t miss this chance to offer deals to the Chinese segment.
November 14th: Diwali (South Asian)
A major festival for Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. Diwali stems from the Sanskrit term dipavali, or ‘row of lights’. In some communities, lights are lit to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
December 25th: Christmas (South Asian and Chinese)
Roast turkey and ham may not have made it into mainstream Asian cultures, but the desire to shop spans cultures.
Heads up for next year: February 12th, Lunar New Year 2022 (Chinese)
If you’re looking to run a Lunar New Year campaign in 2022 (and we suggest you consider it), plan ahead. Media spots book up months ahead of time. And take it from us: dancing dragons should not be part of the creative. Need ideas? Give us a shout!