ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — Yunzhi Yan is opening his restaurant Seasons’ Noodle in time for the Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year. After months of preparation and being unable to open due to the pandemic, Friday was special for him.

“For me it’s a good start to the new year,” he said.

He says the New Year is a lot like Christmas or Thanksgiving is to Americans – being with family, and sharing food. Part of that for Yan – giving away free dumplings to customers.

“I didn’t expect to have a lot of people, especially during the pandemic,” he said on opening day.

Students in the Geneva City School District are celebrating too in creative ways over virtual Mandarin classes.

“We show them videos, sing some songs about it and learn to speak simple sentences in Mandarin,” said Wanda Wang, visiting teacher. Wang says in a pre-pandemic world, many of those who celebrate would be traveling home to be with family.

And for those who don’t know a lot about the culture or holiday, both Wang and Yan say it’s never too late to open up your mind and learn something new.

“You never know when you will use it,” said Wang.

“Even with different cultural backgrounds, we are pretty much the same, we all want our family, we all want to stay with our family,” said Yan. Yan’s wife is currently in China, but plans on celebrating virtually after work.