Emoji has always been a point of frustration for me. The symbol of systems was originally a Japanese invention, so while there are a lot of Asian-specific emojis in there, there’ve been a few glaring omissions.
Now Unicode’s latest emoji candidates take their inspiration from this weekend’s Lunar New Year festivities — with firecrackers and red envelopes.
Red envelopes are a traditional gift between family members and other loved ones. They’re small paper envelopes that usually include the gift of money. Receivers slip these envelopes under their pillows the night before the new year, as a good luck ritual. And firecrackers are a part of most Chinese cultural celebrations, including the Lunar New Year. Also in the works: A mooncake emoji. (Mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival.)
But, perhaps I’m burying the lede here — the next upcoming Unicode 10 update might bring about a host of Chinese-associated emojis. These include the takeout boxes and fortune cookies of American Chinese food, but also chopsticks (finally) and dumplings. (The dumplings can and should cross cultures.)
Which brings us back to the question: When will these updates come into fruition? The Lunar New Year set is still in the proposals stage, so don’t expect those anytime soon. But hopefully, by this time next year we’ll all have a lot more options to digitally celebrate some of our favorite foods.