February 1 was the official start of Tiger Year. Based on the lunar system, the Chinese calendar has Tiger Year running from Feb 1, 2022 through Jan 23, 2023. For those accustomed to a Western calendar, the Chinese refer to a lunar calendar, which is why New Year’s Day falls on a different date each year. And this year, we land on the third zodiac animal in the series of twelve… Happy Year of the Tiger!
THIS IS THE YEAR FOR BRAVERY, LEADERSHIP AND GROWTH.
And people born in a year of the Tiger are thought to be competitive, courageous, confident, unpredictable, and willful. Here’s an interesting tidbit – if you’re a Tiger, this is thought to be a year of adversity and turmoil for you. Yep, while one might think that it’s lucky to land on your year… the Chinese believe Tigers need to be cautious in 2022.
I don’t know enough to explain this thoroughly, but the Tigers I know are doing everything from visiting temples to wearing protective talismans. Oh, by the way, they’re not alone; the second-most at risk animal is the Monkey. This is believed because the monkey sits at the opposite end of the zodiac’s wheel.
Even if this is a riskier year for you (and you believe all this), we’re still ready to throw down for the next 15 days! Last night was New Year’s Eve, so the skies lit up with fireworks, while our family played games around the fire and enjoyed 年糕 and 饺子 – traditional new year’s rice cakes and dumplings. But looking ahead, Feb 15 is really the highlight of the holiday: as it’s the last day of our CNY celebration: the Lantern Festival.
The Lantern Festival or 元宵节 (yuan xiao jie) marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of CNY.
On the evening of Feb 15, streets will be decorated with colorful lanterns, and people will eat sweet rice balls called tangyuan (to demonstrate appreciation of the moon). Dragon and lion dances will color the streets, and thankfully, this should be our last night of fireworks. One particularly beautiful experience is the lighting and release of lanterns as a community.
What a colorful, beautiful holiday!
Photo creds: red lanterns from Yorkshire Post, lantern release from globusjourneys.com