2022 Rings in The Year of The Tiger


Photo Credit: Tina Leung

February 1st marked the beginning of a 15-day celebration for Chinese New Year. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. People in China, Vietnam, and other countries with Chinese heritage, celebrate these days by spending time with loved ones and family. In China, there is a 10-day public holiday, and the new year celebration is known as the largest migration of people in the world. During the new year, families gather to eat, play games (Ex: mahjong), and spend time together to start the new year with good fortune, good health, and to pay respects.

The Chinese New Year is based on the Lunar calendar. It begins on the new moon of the lunar year and ends on the full moon following it. On the last day of the celebrations, there is a Lantern festival, which concludes the new lunar year celebrations with raffle games and having round sticky rice dumplings (tāngyuán).

Each year has a specific zodiac sign represented by twelve different animals, such as tiger, rooster, horse, and pig. Chinese fortune telling will calculate your fortune (career, family, and love life) based on your birthday and your zodiac animal. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger.

It’s very common to see people visiting temples and religious sanctuaries during this time. Buddhists often go and worship the Buddha. The people could find out their fortune by shaking a cup with numbered wooden sticks on them. The first to fall out is then coordinated with a sheet of paper which reads your luck for the coming year.
One of the traditions is red envelopes (lai-see). A red envelope is a red pocket that people usually give to kids or family members during the holidays. Inside the envelope is money. Dennis Ni, a sophomore at West Potomac high school says “We usually eat specific food and give money as a sign of good luck.” The color red is very significant. It is used as the color of life, good fortune, and joy. During the celebrations, many people wear red clothes or have red things around their house. There will be a red box filled with candy to welcome their guests during the new year.

The Chinese government and CDC have tips on how to stay safe during the holiday season, since the current rise in COVID cases, due to the new Omicron variant. According to the U.S Embassy and Consulates in China, China’s borders are still currently open for U.S citizens. The 2022 winter olympics are still being held in Beijing. A negative test result is required and health screenings are provided upon entry. The CDC says during the holidays to make sure to wear your mask when in indoor settings, get vaccinated, and if you are having symptoms of covid-19, stay home. However many traditional activities normally done in the Chinese new year are affected due to COVID. Allison Ascher, from Whitman, says “I can’t go back to Hong Kong to see my family members, because you have to quarantine if you go back.” Another student, Cameron Hui from Edison high school, says covid has affected her by, “I don’t get as many red envelopes”. Others say that it is “restricting their traditions”, as the new year celebrations are a time to get together and spend time with others.

Chinese new year is not only celebrated by the Asian community. Diplomats, embassies and soldiers abroad also take the time to celebrate it as well. Relatives and U.S diplomats, celebrate every year with coworkers, family, and friends.
Along with the traditions of the new year come many precautions. Many people deep clean before the celebrations begin, but once the new year starts and ends, you should not sweep your house to prevent sweeping away the good luck and fortune. Another precaution is to not cut your hair, because if you do it after the new year, it will bring bad luck.

This celebration has been going on for thousands of years. It is a fun and family oriented celebration. Next year, we welcome 2023 with the year of the rabbit.