What is the Chinese Zodiac?
The lunisolar calendar follows a 12-year cycle that is represented by the Chinese zodiac, each with its own animal. The zodiac assigns animal signs based on birth year, which they attribute with personal attributes and premonitions for the new year. The year 2022 falls to the Year of the Tiger.
The origin story in Chinese folklore goes back to an Emperor who wants 12 animal guards, who raced for the highest order. This was won by a rat (first year). We are now in the third animal phase on the zodiac calendar - the tiger.
What does Year of the Tiger mean?
According to the Chinese zodiac, those born in the Year of the Tiger are seen as brave, thoughtful, and independent. It is associated with those born in the following years: 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, and 2022.
How do people celebrate Lunar New Year?
Traditionally, those who celebrate have a large family meal on Lunar New Year’s Eve, and then enjoy the festivities for the following 15 days. People celebrating may incorporate symbolic traditions, such as eating fish, which is associated with wealth, or noodles as a wish for ‘longevity.’
People may also give red envelopes with money inside (hóngbāo) to others for good wishes, set off fireworks and dragon dances to ward off evil spirits (Nian, the monster afraid of red), offer sacrifices to ancestors for protection, reunite with family and enjoy the festivities.
Different countries have separate traditions. For example, in China and Vietnam, the event correlates with the start of spring, so many floral arrangements adorn houses, streets, and venues.
In South Korea, decorative bird decorations like paper cranes are also hung up for longevity and good fortune. While in Tibet, children bring gifts to their elders, and in Mongolia, a pastry tower is made to represent Mount Sumeru - a holy mountain.
What’s on for the Lunar and Chinese New Year in Melbourne in 2022?
While many communities celebrate in their own way, you can also keep up-to-date with the City of Melbourne to find out about events to welcome in the Year of the Tiger in and around the city.