The 2022 Chinese lunar new year starts on February 1st when the Year of the Tiger roars in. Each new animal year brings its own special personality, and the Tiger is especially full of vigor, focus, and tenacity. Watch out, though, as Tiger energy can be explosive and prone to conflict.
Chinese astrology is fun to follow, but regardless of which animal is celebrated, each Chinese lunar new year carries similar traditions and enduring wisdom that we can bring into our own lives.
What’s the difference?
The lunar new year has a special significance above on beyond our western calendar new year on January 1st. According to traditional Chinese wisdom, the lunar new year is the real start of spring, even if we can’t see it yet. It’s when the first return of life begins silently, deep inside the ground, inside the roots of plants, in the stirring of sleeping animals, in the increasing hours of daylight. It’s a silent humming of new life we can almost sense, bringing hope and the assurance that winter’s days are numbered.
Ride the New Wave
Since the Chinese New Year marks the very beginning of new life and new growth, now is the time to make a resolution or start a new habit or launch a new project. In fact, if you find that resolutions you make on January 1st never stick, try making them on Chinese New Year’s Day instead to take advantage of the natural energy in the air that fosters reawakening and the start of a new cycle.
Why Celebrate Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year normally falls in late January or early February, a time when many people feel sluggish or down. It’s cold and we’ve been dutifully slogging through winter, so who couldn’t use a bright, cheerful holiday as a pick-me-up?
It’s also a reason to connect with other people. It’s easy for us all to feel isolated in the wintertime, and celebrating Chinese New Year is a fun way to meet up with friends and family, either out on the town, or at home. Now’s the time to come out of your cocoon and take the initiative to plan a get-together – others may appreciate it more than you know!
How to Celebrate Chinese New Year
If you’re lucky enough to live near an urban area with a Chinatown or Chinese cultural center, see if there is a festival or parade planned, then get out of the house and go! The noisy cymbals, firecrackers, and colorful celebration is actually meant to drive away negativity and old energy to make way for the new.
Traditional Chinese New Year customs include giving your home a good cleaning the day before, sweeping out the old dust so that you start the new year fresh and ready to welcome new blessings. Then, decorate with red! Red in Chinese culture is said to attract chi and prosperity. You could buy a red bouquet for your home, or put on a red sweater or scarf for the day.
Chinese New Year is also a day of giving, especially gifts of money in red envelopes to loved ones and children. You could take your own spin on this and send a donation to a local charity you support or take time to mail a handwritten letter to a friend or family member who lives far away.
Whether you’re cooking at home, visiting a Chinese restaurant, or ordering takeout, be sure to include a noodle dish as long noodles indicate happiness and longevity in the new year.
Celebrate Life’s Cycles
The wisdom of the Chinese calendar is that our human life has its own cycles. Nothing lasts forever, including bad or good times. Every new cycle is a chance to start anew and recognize that people and situations, like the seasons, are always changing. If we greet each new cycle with hope, happiness, gratitude, friendship, and celebration, we can make the most of these changes and reap their benefits.
Wishing you a Happy Year of the Tiger!
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.