The Chinese New Year (CNY) starts on February 1st, 2022. Also called the Spring Festival, it is a month-long event to usher in the new year. It celebrates traditional Chinese deities and ancestors by feasting with family and friends, rocking with fireworks and dragon dances.
Did you know the Chinese astrology features twelve zodiac animals? Each year, a new animal sign is represented. For example, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. An ancient legend tells a fascinating story of how these 12 animals earn their rankings.
Tiger is the third Zodiac animal, after Rat and Ox. Tiger is known as the king of the jungle in China, symbolizing strength and courage.
The Western horoscope and the Chinese zodiac have 12 signs in a cycle. What makes the Chinese zodiac horoscope unique is the five elements: Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wood. So while the Western horoscope repeats every 12 years, the Chinese lunar cycle takes 60 years!
For the Year of the Tiger 2022, we have ourselves a water-tiger. How are the elements assigned?
The Five Chinese Elements
Each year comes with a fixed element set by the last number of your birth year.
- Metal years signify willpower and solitude for years that end in 0 or 1.
- Water is for years that end in 2 or 3 and is related to persuasion and responsiveness.
- Wood means creative and imaginative for years ending in 4 or 5.
- Fire means passion and dynamic energy for years ending in 6 or 7.
- Earth is focused on goals for years ending in 8 or 9.
Which element corresponds with the year you were born? Do the characteristics fit your personality?
Based on the ying-yang model, each animal sign + element is assigned a color. 2022 is a black water tiger.
Focus For the Year of the Water Tiger
Water Tiger has a strong sense of self-esteem and learning ability. It brings luck, adventure, and transformation. Tigers are likely to improve themselves and their luck through adventures.
The primary focus of the Year of the Tiger 2022 includes:
- Setting goals
- Improving personal and financial matters,
- Resolving long-standing issues, and
- Changing careers
Personality Traits of Tigers
People born in the years of the Tiger are adventurous and tend to be lucky. They can also be like their animal counterpart, cocky and a bit dramatic. But, on the other hand, they’re free spirits who are patient and calm.
Unless angered…then they become short-tempered, rebellious, and fiercely territorial.
Tigers have a way with authority and demand respect from those around them. Many tigers are successful business professionals. They also thrive as travel writers, explorers, and activists.
Love and Compatibility
The summer of 2022 will be a period of excitement, passion, and love. Both single and partnered tigers can find themselves experiencing strong emotions in the coming year.
The Year of the Tiger isn’t just lucky for tigers in the romance department. The following signs are also likely to experience more love in 2022:
Will the Year of the Tiger be good for your sign?
Good Luck For the Year of the Tiger
Each Chinese zodiac year dictates the sign’s lucky/unlucky numbers, flowers, directions, colors, etc.
For the Year of the Tiger 2022, the following colors can bring good fortune:
On the 1st day of the Lunar New Year, Chinese traditions advise those who believe it to go (drive/run/walk) towards the lucky directions. For 2022, the lucky directions are:
And pick some lucky flowers while you’re on your journey. This year’s flowers are anthuriums and cinerarias. In Chinese culture, bamboos are lucky perennial plants. My 95-year-old dad painted this “Lucky Bamboo” piece for the Year of the Tiger.
In Chinese culture, making lucky food for the Chinese New Year celebration is crucial and significant. In Hong Kong, where I grew up, hundreds of lucky dishes are prepared and served for the specific day of the new year festivity.
The lucky numbers for this Water Year of the Tiger are 1, 3, and 4.
In the Cantonese culture, we say “GONG HEY FAT CHOY!” to greet each other for the 2-week Chinese New Year period. It means literally “Wishing you good fortune!” And children or unmarried adults would customarily put out their hands to receive their Lai See (Red Pockets) or lucky money from parents, married family members, and friends. In Mandarin, the official greeting is “Xin Lian Kwai Le,” meaning Happy New Year.
What Tigers Should Avoid In 2022
People with birth years of the Tiger should avoid 6, 7, and 9. Also, do not travel northwest on the first day. And stay clear of anything black, brown, silver, or gold.
Tigers are most compatible with Dogs, Horses, and Dragons. Tigers with these signs have solid relationships and good communication, leading to successful and lasting ventures.
They do not get along with Monkeys and Snakes. Tigers crave independence and freedom, leaving Monkeys and Snakes to feel boring in relationships.
Celebrations and Traditions
Depending on where you are located, those around you will celebrate the Chinese New Year a little differently.
In Hong Kong, the Lunar New Year is a two-week-long celebration. All businesses shut down for at least seven days. The Hong Kong Harbour is world-famous for putting on a spectacular CNY fireworks show, attracting millions of visitors worldwide.
A few other CNY traditions include:
- Offering sacrifices and burning incense
- Shopping at night flower markets on the eve of CNY
- Organizing family reunion dinners on New Year’s Eve.
- Preparing/cooking/eating/sharing/gifting lucky foods
- Firecracking on the streets
- Cleaning houses/clothes
- Decorating the house
- Partaking in the Dragon and Lion Dance parades
- Visting with families and friends
- Gifting Lucky Red Pockets (or Lai-See) to children and unmarried folks
- Eating steamed fish!
On the first few days of the Lunar New Year, be sure not to wash your hair, sweep the floor, or vacuum. (My mom’s rules) Why? So you don’t wash away/sweep way your good luck.
Tea and the Chinese New Year
China is the origin of tea, and the Chinese culture is steeped in it. So naturally, tea drinking is part of the Chinese New Year celebration. On the first day of CNY, the younger family members call on the oldest family members, in person or virtually. Guests are greeted with sweets and tea.
Rules of Tea Drinking
In Chinese culture, you must follow the tea-drinking rules.
- Drink it hot
- Drink it pure (no sugar)
- Drink it all the time
- But don’t take medications with it
There are many tea rituals around tea tasting, including how to steep it, serve it, taste it, as in the Zen Tea ceremony.
Get Ready for the Year of the Tiger
There are many ways you can prepare to celebrate Chinese New Year. Now that you have a basic understanding, go stock up on the lucky foods or order Chinese take-out to usher in the Year of the Tiger <happy, lucky growl>.
Gong Hey Fat Choy! Be ready to hand out plenty of Lai-See, Lucky Red Pockets, to children and single people of all ages for abundant good luck!