The year of the tiger has begun. What is the year of the tiger? Each year one of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals of the twelve signs represents a year in the Chinese calendar. Chinese zodiac signs are based on Chinese astrology and the lunar calendar. They used them to count the years.
The zodiac is calculated by a cycle of sixty years in which each animal signifies a different year. The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig are the twelve zodiac animals.
According to the Chinese calendar, the Water Tiger is the animal for 2022. The tiger is considered the king of all beasts in China since it is associated with strength, the exorcism of evils, and bravery. Thus, the Chinese wish the year of 2022 to be the year people can overcome their own adversities from past years.
The most important day in the Chinese calendar is, undoubtedly, the Chinese New Year. Since the Chinese believe offering food and paying respect to their ancestors lead to good fortunes and happiness, this day is significant for many reasons.
Many Asian countries, such as China, North and South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and others, celebrate the Chinese New Year. Among them, China has the most extended holiday: a total of fifteen days.
The essence of the day is portrayed with pure delight. Children line up to bow to their elders, while the elders give money to the children wishing them joy and peace. People write their wishes on paper, and fireworks light up the night sky. When everybody in town gathers around, bright and sparkling fireworks light up the sky, vibrant like flowers with numerous colors, wishing people the best in the New Year. Usually, no one can take their eyes off of the fireworks.
Along with celebration comes good food. Each food eaten during the holiday has its own meaning. On New Year’s Eve, the extended family gathers around the table for a feast, including a fish that is symbolic of abundance, so it is not meant to be eaten as the last course. Long noodles are usually eaten over the first five days of the New Year to signify long life. Round dumplings shaped like a full moon are shared on the fifteenth and final day of the New Year, symbolizing the family unit and perfection.
These traditions of the Chinese New Year have been passed down from generation to generation for more than a thousand years. The traditions not only bond the family well, but also pay respect to their ancestors. The Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco is a must-do list because it is one of the biggest in the world. Fireworks, extraordinary Chinese food, and diverse traditional performances make it an authentic place to experience the culture.