On February 1st, 2022, China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and many other East and Southeast Asian countries celebrated the Lunar New Year. This is a significant day in these cultures. For example, many people aged, partied with friends and family, and exchanged red envelopes, called hong bao in Mandarin, containing money. The Lunar New Year signifies the start of a new year. In the same way, western cultures celebrate January 1st. Built around ancient Chinese farming culture, that is to say, the Lunar New Year was the one time of year the farmers could take a break from their fields and their hard work. The Lunar New Year has been celebrated for centuries.
One of the significant things that happens on the Lunar New Year is the beginning of a new year with a new zodiac symbol. This year, 2022, is the Year of the Tiger, specifically the Year of the Water-Tiger. The Chinese zodiac cycles through 12 animals and 5 traditional elements that are significant to Chinese culture. The Tiger represents the third year in this 12 year cycle, preceded by the Ox and followed by the Rabbit.
Considered the Ruler of the Beasts on Earth, an avenger of justice, and the principle animal god, the tiger is an important animal in Chinese culture. The Chinese believe that tigers are powerful rulers based on the stripe pattern on their forehead, which looks similar to the Chinese character for king. Tigers are protectors of the household and fields. They help drive away evil spirits. For this reason, many Chinese people have tiger artwork or statues in their homes for protection. Tigers are linked to power and wealth; for example, many depictions of the Chinese god of Wealth have him riding on the back of a tiger. They are associated with yin energy and solar energy, which connects them to the summer, sun, and fire.
So what can the tiger teach us this year? People born in the Year of the Tiger are strong and self-assured. They strike fear and encourage confidence. They are optimistic and generous. Be bold and ambitious, and the Tiger will guide you. And while you’re at it, you can help the tiger too. For example, donate to nonprofit organizations that are supporting and protecting wild tigers. In addition, speak out against cub petting and the exotic animal trade. Above all, visit true sanctuaries. Let’s make the Year of the Tiger a great year for humans and tigers alike!