Today Is Lunar New Year 2022; What You Should Know About The Year of the Tiger
The Lunar New Year, celebrated by nearly 2 billion people worldwide, is Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, with celebrations that can last for weeks.
Also known as the Chinese New Year — and as the Spring Festival in China — this year the date marks the end of the Year of the Ox and the start of the Year of the Tiger.
Traditionally it’s a time to honor ancestors and deities, with family reunions, parades and fireworks to drive off evil spirits. While based on the Chinese lunar calendar, Lunar New Year is also celebrated in Korea, Singapore, Mongolia, Tibet, Vietnam and in Asian communities worldwide.
In a Lunar New Year statement on Sunday, Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the US, called on the American and Chinese people to “further our friendship in the new era.”
Qin also touted the 2022 Winter Olympics starting Feb. 4. in Beijing, saying he hoped athletes and observers “feel its TIGER feature, which means Tense, Inclusive, Green, Extraordinary and Refreshing.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Tiger. For more on China, here’s what you need to know about the Winter Olympics starting this week in Beijing and the country’s expansion of nuclear energy.
When is Lunar New Year 2022?
Many Asian cultures historically follow a lunar, rather than solar, calendar, so the Lunar New Year falls on a different day on the Gregorian calendar every year: In 2022, Lunar New Year’s Eve falls on Jan. 31, and the new year begins Tuesday, Feb. 1.
Though celebrations often start the weekend before and continue for weeks after, only the first seven days, Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, are considered public holidays.
The Lantern Festival, a Chinese tradition celebrated on the first full moon of the year, marks the end of the New Year season. It occurs on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese calendar — this year, it lands on Feb. 15.
What is the Lunar New Year?
More than just the beginning of a new calendar year, the Lunar New Year is seen as a time of reunion and rebirth, marking the end of winter and the start of spring.
According to one legend, a monster would emerge from under the Earth at the start of every year and eat villagers. Since the monster, called Nian (Chinese for “year”) was afraid of bright lights, loud noises and the color red, they were used to exile the beast — and have all become associated with the holiday.
Which Chinese Zodiac animal is honored this year?
The Chinese calendar is on a 12-year cycle, with each year linked to one of a dozen animals — the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
The year 2022 in the Gregorian calendar is designated the Year of the Tiger.
“In Chinese culture, the tiger is the symbol of bravery, wisdom and strength. But interestingly, the tiger is not mentioned in the Bible, while the lion, a Western astrological sign, is absent from the Chinese zodiac,” Qin said. “Different places and peoples have different cultures. This is only natural, but such differences should not prevent us from understanding, respecting and appreciating each other’s history, culture and tradition.”
The last Year of the Tiger was in 2010.
What are the personality traits of people born in the Year of the Tiger?
In Asian cultures, the tiger — not the lion — is the king of the jungle: People born during a Tiger Year are thought to be natural leaders who are both brave and thrill-seeking, often craving attention.
“They are courageous and energetic, love a challenge or competition and are prepared to take risks,” according to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. “They can also be rebellious, short-tempered and outspoken, preferring to give orders rather than take them, which often leads to conflict.”
In the past century, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 and 2010 were all Tiger years.
Famous people born in Years of the Tiger include Queen Elizabeth II, Fidel Castro, Marilyn Monroe, Shawn Mendes, Lady Gaga and Tom Cruise.
How do people celebrate Lunar New year?
Various Asian cultures have their own distinct ways of ringing in the new year: In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year is called Tết, and is celebrated with special foods like bánh chung (sticky rice cakes), bushels of yellow ochna flowers and visits to friends, relatives and neighbors.
Americans are usually most familiar with Chinese celebrations, where the arrival of the new year is cause for large public celebrations, with dragon parades, boat races and fireworks and firecrackers to ward off bad luck.
Red and gold symbolize good fortune on the Lunar New Year, with many people wearing red and children often getting red envelopes stuffed with money.
The Lantern Festival symbolizes the end of the New Year season and is marked by the flying of paper lanterns and eating of tangyuan, a Chinese dessert of glutinous rice ball dumplings.
Many families will hold feasts, perform a thorough cleaning of their homes and visit shrines to honor deceased relatives.
As it did last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more subdued celebrations: The Chinese Embassy in Washington held a virtual celebration on Sunday, with remarks by former US President Jimmy Carter; an exhibition of Chinese lanterns and a light show at the Kennedy Center; acrobatics and winter sports demonstrations; and a reunion of giant pandas Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Xiao Qi Ji at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.