Tuesday, 1st February 2022 marks the beginning of the new lunar year. This year will be the Year of the Tiger. The third of all zodiac animals.

 

Also known as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, or Chunjie (China); Tet (Vietnam); Seollal (Korea); or Losar (Tibet), Lunar New Year is celebrated by about 1.5 billion people around the world!

 

Lunar New Year Around the World

Chinese New Year is China’s most important traditional festival, celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.

However, people from all across Asia observe the Lunar New Year – China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, The Philippines, and more. Many people from these countries, or with this heritage, travel long distances to visit family for this holiday.

In each country, festivities and traditions differ. Many cultures celebrate with:

 

The Story Behind the Lunar New Year

The Calendar

The lunar calendar has a 12-year cycle, following the moon phases, or synodic (lunar) months. Because of the Earth’s constant orbit around the Sun, the Moon must travel slightly more than 360 degrees to reach the next new moon.

The sidereal month (the time it takes for the Moon to orbit 360° around the Earth in a ‘fixed’ circuit) is shorter than the lunar or synodic month. The synodic month measures the actual moon phases; i.e. from one next moon to the next.

Thus, the dates of the holiday will differ slightly each year, beginning any time between 12 February and 26 February.

The most widely recognised and used calendar worldwide is the Gregorian calendar, dating back to 1582; the time of Pope Gregory XIII. The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar system that originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system.

 

The Zodiac

Each lunar year is represented by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor in China held a race to assign the 12 spots in the zodiac to 12 animals. The animals arrived in this order: rat, ox/buffalo, tiger, rabbit (cat in Vietnam), dragon, snake, horse, goat/sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

According to different myths, the Ox was tricked by the Rat that almost had arrived first in the race. Just as they were approaching the finish line, the Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, arriving first.

 

What’s in Store This Year?

According to the zodiac, this particular year will be protected by the sign of the Black Water Tiger. The Tiger is known for its courage, ambition, adventurous nature, will-power, and generosity.

Of the five elements of Chinese cosmology (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth), Water is agile, bright, and strong.

The Year of the Rat (2020) was about survival, and the Year of the Ox (2021) was about anchoring ourselves in a new reality. As we enter the third year of the 12-year moon cycle, the Year of the Tiger (2022) will be about making big changes

This will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up, generosity is at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again.

The Tiger is associated with Yang (masculine, active) energy. Tigers do things their own way and hate being told what to do. Expect things to rapidly change this year. Sudden disruptions in career, romance and home life should be expected.

Some of us will thrive through taking great leaps, while others might crash and burn. So while it’s important to follow our intuition and run with our wildest dreams, that means we also have to keep our egos in check.

Water years bring out our emotions more than any of the other elements. Water Tigers are family-oriented and have wonderful interpersonal relationships. Though they’re extremely driven and can be brash, their goal is always to do what’s best for everyone, not just for themselves. Overall, this is a year for switching careers, building teams or getting back into creative projects. 

Life is short so why not be happy?

 

Most recent years of the Tiger are 1974, 1986, 1998, and 2010.

For the purpose of fashion, art and feng shui (the ancient Chinese science of respecting energy forces [qi] to harmonise humans and objects within spaces) the lucky colours for the Tiger this year are blue and green. The lucky numbers are 1, 3 and 7.

 

So, as a warm welcome to the new lunar year, may we all say:

乐 – Happy Spring Festival! (Mandarin)

恭喜发财 – Wishing You Wealth and Prosperity (Cantonese)

Chúc mừng năm mới – Happy New Year (Vietnamese)

About the Author:

Monica is a self-confessed grammar nerd and passionate advocate of diversity, equality, and cultural heritage. Communication is her trade and words and languages are her best tools, allowing her to bring creative flair to any kind of content that she creates.