New zodiac sign, new year

Members of the community share Lunar New Year traditions and the meaning behind their Chinese zodiac signs


Naomi Lopez

With the new year comes 2022’s newest zodiac sign–the water tiger, which only occurs every 60 years. To celebrate, members of the community decorate their houses in red or watch lion or dragon dances to ward off evil spirits and bring luck.

Teresa Huang , Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, February 1, 2022, Lunar New Year (called 春节 Chūn Jié in Mandarin Chinese) was celebrated across the world in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia, and other countries including the United States. This year, Asian cultures welcomed the Year of the Tiger. 

Cultures in or from Asia celebrate Lunar New Year in various ways, such as getting together for a family reunion and eating cultural foods. Foods such as whole fish are eaten in China and in Chinese cultures, which is served with its head and tail intact to symbolize discipline. The rice cakes in the Korean rice cake soup 떡국, pronounced tteoggug, resemble coins, bringing wealth and prosperity to the new year, as well as a healthy and long life. 

Many Chinese cultures also enjoy having a family reunion dinner on Lunar New Year’s Eve, as well as offering sacrifices to ancestors before the reunion dinner in order to show that the ancestors eat first and adding an extra glass on the table in honor of their ancestors. Family members also exchange red envelopes with money called 压岁钱 (yaa sway chyen). According to Chinese superstition, gift amounts in even numbers such as 8 (a homophone for “wealth”) and 6 (a homophone for “smooth”), except for the number 4, which rhymes with “death.” Setting off fireworks to scare away evil spirits and watching lion and dragon dances, which are performed to bring prosperity and wealth, are also common. The longer the dragon, the more luck it will bring.

A person’s animal zodiac sign is based on the year they were born, with each animal representing a set of personality traits. With each lunar new year comes a new zodiac sign. There are twelve options that rotate in a cycle: dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, and rooster. 

Sophomore Iris Liu describes her Chinese zodiac sign and what it means to her: “My zodiac animal sign is a dog and it represents highly responsible and compassionate people.”  

People with the tiger zodiac sign are said to be courageous and energetic and are not afraid to take risks. Coming third in line, the tiger is considered “the king of beasts” and has appeared in the years 2022, 2010, 1998, and 1986. 

“My dad was born in the year of the Tiger, and I know that people born in the year of the tiger are predicted to be brave, competitive, unpredictable, and confident,” said sophomore Allie Chiu. 

This year, however, is the year of the water tiger, which only occurs every 60 years. 

“Every single animal zodiac sign expresses their own personal special qualities and is the year of risk taking and some adventure. I think that my zodiac sign as a dog is special to me since you can see who you are most compatible with through these zodiac signs,” said Liu.