Every different culture has its own individual nuances and traditions that may appear odd and strange to people who are not inherently a part of that culture, and Chinese New Year traditions are no different!
This holiday is (of course) celebrated every year, and occurs during the time period of “Chunyun”, called 春運 or 春运 in their native script (which is also the largest human migration seen on Earth).
During this migration, overseas Chinese people and workers in China all head back to their families for reunion dinners.
According to the traditional Chinese calendar, the Chinese New Year 2022 or the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) is celebrated on February 1st.
In Chinese astrology, each year is represented by an animal. 2022 is the Year of the Water Tiger, which is predicted to be a lucky year.
The Tiger has also been celebrated in 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010.
The Tiger has the third position in the zodiac. In China, the Tiger is portrayed as the king of animals and represents strength and courage.
The Chinese New Year, one of the world’s most important and popular festivals is the cause of the largest annual mass human migration in the world.
This holiday is celebrated in countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Mauritius, but also Europe, Australia, New Zeeland, America, Canada, especially in the areas with a big Chinese community.
Lunar New Year 2022 Calendar
The Chinese calendar is not like the Gregorian calendar, and the first day of Chinese New Year starts with the new moon, which appears between January 21 and February 20, and the last day known as Lantern festival, celebrated with night lantern displays, ends 15 days later on the full moon.
New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve are celebrated with family. Traditionally, family celebrations were religious affairs, given in honor of the household and ancestors.
The most important religious ritual was the sacrifice to the ancestors. Loved ones, dearly departed are remembered with greatest respect, as they are responsible for the present and future good family fortune.
The family celebration on New Year’s Eve is known as the “surrounding the stove” or weilu. This comprises of a dinner arranged for the spirits of the ancestors, together with the living and represents past and present, and one strong community.
The most important New Year custom is for married couples to give lucky money called ‘lay-see’ to unmarried relatives, especially children.
‘Lay-see’ is a red packet containing ‘lucky money’ which people believe will bring luck to both the receiver and giver.
Older family members must also give lucky money to all those who are younger in the family, including those who are married. Kung hei fat choy!
Why Does The Date Change?
The Chinese New Year is based on a lunar year instead of a fixed number of days. Each month the moon comes back as a new moon on a different date. On average about 29.53 days. So some months will be 29 and others will be 30 days long. 12 lunar months will take 354.36 days, short of the 365 days in a solar year.
To fix this the Chinese added an extra month every third year. In the Chinese calendar, the beginning of the month is marked by the dark moon. The new year starts on a new moon. A full moon occurs in the middle of the month.
Chinese New Year Dates 2019–2042
|Chinese New Year Date||Chinese Animal Year||Year Name|
|Jan 25 2020||Metal Rat||Geng-Zi|
|Feb 12 2021||Metal Ox||Xin-Chou|
|Feb 01 2022||Water Tiger||Ren-Yin|
|Jan 22 2023||Water Rabbit||Gui-Mao|
|Feb 10 2024||Wood Dragon||Jai-Chen|
|Jan 29 2025||Wood Snake||Yi-Si|
|Feb 17 2026||Fire Horse||Bing-Wu|
|Feb 06 2027||Fire Sheep||Ding-Wei|
|Jan 26 2028||Earth Monkey||Wu-Shen|
|Feb 13 2029||Earth Rooster||Ji-You|
|Feb 03 2030||Metal Dog||Geng-Xu|
|Jan 23 2031||Metal Pig||Xin-Hai|
|Feb 11 2032||Water Rat||Ren-Zi|
|Jan 31 2033||Water Ox||Gui-Chou|
|Feb 19 2034||Wood Tiger||Jai-Yin|
|Feb 08 2035||Wood Rabbit||Yi-Mao|
|Jan 28 2036||Fire Dragon||Bing-Chen|
|Feb 15 2037||Fire Snake||Ding-Si|
|Feb 04 2038||Earth Horse||Wu-Wu|
|Jan 24 2039||Earth Sheep||Ji-Wei|
|Feb 12 2040||Metal Monkey||Geng-Shen|
|Feb 01 2041||Metal Rooster||Xin-You|
|Jan 22 2042||Water Dog||Ren-Xu|
What are the Decorations for Lunar New Year 2022?
Aside from the celebrations across the globe, the Chinese also have a superstition that many observe around New Year’s Day: a clean house.
Probably the most commonly practiced belief is that an entire house should be cleaned before New Year’s Day. On the big day, all cleaning equipment is put away because the Chinese believe that sweeping or dusting will “sweep away” good fortune for the New Year.
After Chinese New Year’s day, the floors may be swept, but with a precise method. You must begin at the door and sweep inward towards the middle of each room. The dust is then placed in the corners of each room and cannot be disturbed or thrown out until the fifth day.
Elaborating on the previously mentioned belief that sweeping can lead to the removal of good fortune, the act of sweeping dust and dirt pass a certain threshold in a home will lead to irreconcilable bad luck and unfortunate circumstances.
All dust and dirt, once past the five-day grace period, must be swept inwards once again and taken out ONLY through the back door. Although not directly related to Chinese Astrology, these superstitions have significant influence. Generally speaking, a clean house and other Chinese superstitions center on the idea of “preserving luck”.
The doors and windows are being repainted, usually in red.
These are then decorated with red paper strips (Chun Lian) with different wishes of happiness, prosperity, and long life written on them.
What are the Lucky Colors for 2022?
Although this holiday is traditionally dominated by red, during the Year of the Tiger, the lucky colors that will bring good fortune and wellness are green, black and yellow.
Spring Festival: The 15 days of Lunar New Year
Day one – February 1st, 2022
The first day of the Chinese New Year celebration encompasses the welcoming of the deities. Most people (Buddhists especially) will refrain from eating meat on this day because they believe it will help ensure longevity. Campfires and the usage of knives are considered harbingers of bad luck on New Year’s Day, so every piece of food is cooked the day before. Firecrackers and fireworks are both extremely popular, but they are banned in some locations. To counteract this, many government cities (like Hon Kong) launch large-scale fireworks that can be seen from far away to substitute the experience.
Day two :
The second day is for birth parents to be visited by their married daughters. Chinese New Year traditions give an exception, as these daughters are usually not allowed to visit their birth parents. The Chinese will pray to all their gods and ancestors on this day, as well as show exceeding kindness to all dogs (since the second day is believed to be the birthday of all dogs). Business people (though only of the Cantonese dialect group) will hold a prayer called “Hoi Nin”, which is believed to bless all with good luck.
Day three and four are generally not good days to visit relatives or socialize with friends, since it is known as “chi kou”, or the day of “red mouth” or “the God of Blazing Wrath”.
The fifth day is the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth. It is also a part of the Chinese New Year tradition to shoot off firecrackers in an attempt to gain the attention of Guan Yu, which will bring good fortune and favor for the year.
Days six to ten: The Chinese are now free to visit their loved ones, and pray for good fortune in the temples.
The seventh day is the birthday of common man, and it is on this day that many Chinese people get together to toss colorful salad and wish for prosperity and wealth.
Day eight: Prayers are sent at midnight from the Fujian people to Tian Gong, the God of Heaven.
Day nine: Offerings are made to the Jade Emperor.
Days 10 to 12: Invites are sent to friends and relatives, to visit for dinner.
Day 13: Simple foods are eaten so as to detox after rich foods from friends and relatives.
Day 14: Time is taken for preparation for the Lantern Festival celebration on the 15th night.
While the daily customs continue to the fifteenth day, almost all of the Chinese New Year Traditions involve happiness, longevity, and wealth. Windows and doors are decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets. Food generally includes chicken, ducks, and pigs.
Red envelopes are passed as money and small gifts, which are gestures of health and fortune. The celebration is generally seen as an amazing way to forgive people of grudges, sincerely wish happiness and peace, and reconcile.
Before New Year, the Chinese decorate their living rooms with flower vases, plates full of oranges and tangerines (symbolizing great happiness) and a tray with sweets with eight kinds of dry fruit.
On the walls and at the doors, they place red paper strips (Chun Lian), on which they write greetings as: “May you enjoy a perpetual health” or “The Star of Happiness, the Star of Health and the Star of Longevity may shine upon you”.
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Lucky Foods to Eat During Spring Festival 2022
Food plays an important role during the Spring Festival. Many kinds of food cooked for this occasion are being served because they are considered symbols of luck.
For example, the fish (yu) represents “to have enough to also give others”, garlic (chiu-tsai) means “what lasts”, turnips (tsai tou) refer to “good premonitions”, while fish balls (yu-wan) and meatballs (jou-wan) represent “reunion”.
Oranges and pomegranates: One of the most known symbols of the Chinese New Year is the orange and it represents luck.
Pomegranate, on the other hand, is treasured for its many seeds, which symbolize fertility, but also for its red color that has the power to keep evil spirits at bay.
The Chinese also serve a whole fish that symbolizes abundance, and a chicken for gaining prosperity. The chicken must have the head, tail and feet still attached, connoting wholeness, perfection. The noodles must not be cut, because they symbolize long life.
The huge quantity of food served during this period is meant to symbolize the abundance and wealth of the house where they are being served. The most appreciated though is the food vividly colored in red, orange, green and gold.
Jai Traditional Vegetarian Dish
Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day, Jai consists of root or fibrous vegetables. The ingredients consist of foods that represent good fortune.
Jai will include lotus seed, representing the hope for many male offspring, ginko nut, representing silver, black moss seaweed, the hope for wealth, dried bean curd, wealth and happiness and bamboo shoots for good wishes for everything.
White is an unlucky color for New Year, therefore any white foods such as tofu are avoided.
Drinks: What to drink during the Chinese New Year
Here is a list of the most important drinks, loved by those who celebrate this important event:
- Wine (Putaojiu) and Baijiu (ad litteram, white wine), which is a strong and clear alcoholic drink;
- Tusu Wine: The Emperor’s First Drink ;
- The tea ritual starts in the first morning of the Chinese New Year , when all members of the family will drink a cup of tea.
- Other popular drinks are Mijiu (rice wine with strips), Fujian Old Wine (Fujian), Fujian Noi Jeou – rice sticky wine (fujian nuomi ji?), but also Tsingtao bear.
Chinese New Year 2022, Dos and Don’ts
- Pay off all your debts before the new year begins. You do not want to start in the hole.
- Do not lend anyone money on the day of Chinese New Year (February 1, 2022). Avoid starting the year with money flowing out from you.
- Avoid making speculative investments since the year of the Water Tiger will be overall rather prosperous; however, there will be periods of uncertainty.
- Focus on diversifying your financial portfolio to offset financial uncertainty. Try to rebalance your portfolio twice a year to further lessen risk.
- Do not wash your hair on Chinese New Year because you may be washing some good luck away
- Avoid housecleaning on Chinese New Year lest you mistakenly rid yourself of some good luck in the process.
- Reconnect with your inner self. Since the Water element balances out the Fire element, Water symbolizes rejuvenation and birth. Start that process first by focusing on yourself.
- Remember to give children “hong bao’s” or money in little red envelopes. It is good to invest in the next generation. This does not contradict lending money because you are giving money to children not lending to an adult.
- Have a child! The Year of the Water Tiger is a fantastic year to have children. Children will be particularly blessed and lead a comfortable and luxurious life.
People wish each other good luck, happiness and abundance for the Chinese New year 2022.
“Gong xi fa cai” translates Have a prosperous new year!