On Thursday, in advance of the multi-day holiday, the Bling Empire star and comedian and actor participated in a panel discussion about their Asian culture and Lunar New Year traditions. Also joining Chiu and Chieng on the panel were award-winning chef Lucas Sin and producer and activist Jes Vu.
Moderator Clarissa Cruz, who works as the Executive Editor for Entertainment Weekly, kicked off the discussion by asking each panelist to give an overview of their Lunar New Year traditions.
Sin, 27, reflected on his upbringing in Hong Kong where Lunar New Year meant visiting family and chowing down on snacks like turnip cakes and mooncakes.
Vu — who works with CAPE, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the entertainment industry — chimed in with similar memories of gathering with her Vietnamese family for huge feasts.
Chieng, 36, followed with a discussion about red pocket money or hóngbāo, a tradition where children and unmarried young adults receive red envelopes filled with cash from older family members.
“I think we can all unite behind getting money,” Chieng joked. “During Chinese New Year, getting money is probably the commonality, and actually I think it’s probably the most considerate and environmental of all presents.”
Chiu, 39, who is known for throwing extravagant parties, gave insight into her giant Lunar New Year celebrations, which were featured in the premiere episode of Bling Empire.
During the episode, Chiu shut down Rodeo Drive to recreate Chinatown in Beverly Hills. She said it was a proud moment for her Asian American family — and one that would have happened with or without the show. (At the time, Bling Empire was still largely in development, and Chiu said most of her guests didn’t even realize filming was going on.)
“We’ve been blessed for so many years, but we’ve been very busy and haven’t had an opportunity to take a moment and appreciate our heritage,” she explained. “When you have a child, you feel that responsibility to impart your background, and your history, and your heritage, and to educate your child.”
Added Chiu, who is the mom to son, Gabriel Chiu III a.k.a. “Baby G”: “And that, coupled with our friends being predominantly of Caucasian descent, we felt compelled to be able to share our culture in a meaningful way.”
The panelists ended the discussion by sharing their plans to celebrate 2022’s Lunar New Year. The panel was hosted by A3, Dotdash Meredith’s employee resource group supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) employees.
Also known as Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, the holiday marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar and is primarily observed in countries in East Asia, including China, South Korea, Vietnam and more.
As Chiu, Chieng, Sin and Vu discussed on the panel, traditional celebrations can vary across cultures, but common ways to ring in the Lunar New Year are gifting money in red envelopes, wearing lucky colors including red and gold, eating symbolic foods including dumplings and spending time with family.
In addition to the four panelists, a number of other stars across the Hollywood community have also been celebrating the holiday. Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Daniel Dae Kim and Jackie Chan were among the celebrities who marked the day with posts about their Lunar New Year festivities on Tuesday.