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February 1, 2022 rings in Chinese New Year, increasingly known as the Lunar New Year in recent times. 2022 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger, replacing the Ox of 2021. The animals of the Chinese Zodiac appear in a cycle every 12 years, with the last Year of the Tiger being 2010.

Chinese New Year is celebrated on a different date every January or February, based on changes in the lunisolar calendar. It is the harbinger of springtime, and a superstitious period for the Chinese diaspora.

New Year is a popular celebration not just in China and its territories, but across the globe. Cities such as San Francisco, New York, Melbourne, and Sydney have traditionally held awesome celebrations, although with no public holidays marking the occasion they lack the exuberance and overindulgence of Beijing or Hong Kong.

Much like the western New Year, the celebration begins the night before on the eve of Chinese New Year. It’s traditional for families to gather for the traditional dinner (nián yèfàn), then move on to different parties.

For western cities with a large Chinese presence, there’s a mix of cultural events such as dragon dances, feasting, and lots of firecrackers. The belief in China is the louder the crackers, the more auspicious your luck will be for the coming year.

Year of the Tiger Sign
Image Source: DaraKero_F via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Year of the Tiger Symbolism

The Great Race

Year of the Tiger Mural
Image Source: Social Geek via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Much Chinese historical folklore within the zodiac is animal-oriented (this is known as zoolatry, the tiger is a dominant symbol linked to power, bravery, and masculinity. In Chinese mythology, the 12 animals that make up the zodiac were challenged by the Jade Emperor to compete in a “great race” (not unlike the hare and the tortoise, just on a larger scale). The animals had to race each other to the Emperor’s Palace. The tiger finished third (behind the rat and the ox), so is the third animal in order from the start of the zodiac.

Click on the clip below to get an awesome animated snapshot of the Great Race in full, which provides more insight into the personalities of the other Chinese zodiac signs.

Those born in the Year of the Tiger are said to have brave, trustworthy, determined, and confident personalities. Tiger personalities are said to have a lot of masculine energy (Yang) and possess a natural inclination towards assertive leadership with clearly defined goals.

On the negative side, the tiger sign may make for individuals who are stubborn, occasionally impetuous, and arrogant. While they may have clear goals, they may struggle at times to work towards them with clarity.

The Water Tiger

Tiger in Water
Image by Ina Möbius from Pixabay

According to Wu Xing (Chinese 5 Element Theory) each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and gold. Every Chinese New Year features the animal matched with a different element (that essentially repeats every 60 years). 2022 is a Water Tiger Year, with the water tiger associated with study, learning, and success born from hard work, diligence, and the quest to gain knowledge.

As part of feng shui, the complex, interesting Chinese system of physical and spiritual balance, each New Year also has lucky numbers and colors linked to the animal zodiac symbol.

This great Lifestyle Asia story determined that in the Year of the Tiger “cerulean blue, fiery red, mint green and imperial yellow are the lucky colors for 2022.”


Image by CHRISTOPHER JONES from Pixabay

If you’re the superstitious type, the Year of the Tiger is one of the more auspicious animals represented in the Chinese zodiac, despite not being as fat as the cunning Rat, or as dependable as the Ox.

Gong hei fat choy! (Happy New Year)

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