In Chinese culture, January 1 isn’t the only new year that’s celebrated. The Spring Festival or Chinese New Year is an important and festive time that marks the end of winter. It’s a joyful celebration for families, full of traditional foods, gifts and more.
Each new year is assigned a zodiac sign. In 2021, it was the year of the Ox, while 2022 is the year of the Tiger. Here’s what to know about the Chinese New Year in 2022.
What is the Chinese New Year?
The celebration is timed to the lunar calendar, so the first day of the festivities align with the new moon in the latter half of January. Traditionally, Chinese New Year honored ancestors, deities and the household, with family members feasting and celebrating.
In 2022, Chinese New Year happens on February 1, with celebrations continuing until February 15, when the Lantern Festival happens.
Like all holidays, Chinese New Year has special traditions. These include sharing a reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes and gifts, lighting fireworks and lanterns and watching lion and dragon dances. The color red represents fortune, good luck and abundance – so that’s why it’s worn and used in decorations. The dragon dances represent the same symbolism, since Chinese culture is steeped in references to this mythical creature. The fireworks and percussion used in dances are used to keep bad luck and spirits at bay.
The Year of the Tiger
In Chinese culture, the zodiac chart and its associated animals are influential. Based on a cycle that lasts 12 years, they are believed to impact career, marriage, fortune and personality. Instead of being assigned a sign based on your birthday, as you are in astrology, each birth year is assigned the same animal sign. If you’re interested, you can find your zodiac sign and its associated element.
This year’s sign is the Tiger, which is aligned with the birth years 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 and 2022. As the third zodiac sign, the Tiger is known for being ambitious, daring, brave, enthusiastic, generous and supportive of others. People born in this year are believed to share those traits. Each sign has certain things that are considered lucky and unlucky. These traits are an interesting way to find common ground with others who share your birth year and sign.
How to Celebrate Chinese New Year If It’s New to You
Last year in honor of Chinese New Year, we shared a traditional dessert recipe for Red Dates and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup. It features superfoods and traditional Chinese herbs – like red dates, goji berries and lily bulbs. It’s a food you might be served at the end of a Chinese New Year meal. Other traditional foods include noodles for happiness and longevity, fish for increased prosperity, dumplings and spring rolls for wealth and fruit for good fortune.
Food is one of the best ways to discover a new culture, especially when travel is not feasible. Here are a few other ways to learn about Chinese New Year
- Learn more about some traditional Chinese New Year recipes, from Red House Spice.
- Find out how you can honor Chinese New Year in your family, with tips and advice from the Chinese America Family blog.
- In Chinatowns across the US, you’ll often find parades and celebrations during the new year – when it’s safe to gather in groups, of course.
- Donate to Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition created in response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the pandemic.
- No one sets resolutions around Chinese New Year, but it is a time to focus on family and prepare for a successful and prosperous year. Consider hosting friends and family for a dinner featuring traditional dishes.
If you’re celebrating, we wish you a prosperous and happy new year.