Each year, millions of people across the globe celebrate a unique holiday that is rich in tradition, spectacle and pageantry. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is celebrated around the world.
In China, Chinese New Year marks the end of the coldest days on the calendar and welcomes spring with new beginnings and the start of planting season. This spectacular holiday follows the lunar calendar, so there is no set date for the event.
This year, the celebration begins on Tuesday, February 1.
Fireworks are a large part of Chinese New Year festivals. According to Chinese mythology, a monster named “Nian” would come about every New Year’s Eve, forcing people to hide in their homes. A brave boy fought Nian off using fireworks, and the following day the public celebrated their survival by setting off even more pyrotechnics. Fireworks became a key component of celebrations from that point forward.
Some other traditions associated with the holiday include burning fake paper money and printed gold bars in honor of deceased ancestors. It is believed these offerings will bring fortune and good luck to ancestors in the afterlife.
Other customs include cleaning homes thoroughly prior to the dawn of the new year, welcoming family for a big reunion and avoiding activities deemed to be taboo. Such activities may include
Money tucked inside of red envelopes is traditionally handed out to children as a token of good fortune.
hair cutting, using scissors and other sharp objects, arguing, saying unlucky words or breaking things. Children receive money tucked inside of red envelopes to help transfer fortune from elders to younger generations. In addition to red envelopes, homes and decorations are adorned in red. The red color was purported to be instrumental in scaring away Nian and bringing about luck.
Another component of Chinese New Year is the Chinese zodiac. One animal represents the entire year, and there are 12 different animals. The animal a person is born under can help decide his or her career, health and relationship status.
2022 is the year of the Tiger. The tiger holds the third sign of the Chinese zodiac, based on the tenacity he showed in crossing the perilous river during the Chinese Zodiac Race. The Jade Emperor didn’t know which big cat to include in the race, with the mighty lion garnering consideration. However, the lion’s raging temper repelled the Emperor, so the tiger was chosen instead.
The tiger has been a prominent symbol in Chinese culture. It is known as the king of all beasts, and is a symbol of strength, bravery and exorcising evils. People born during a tiger year may live to seek adventure and have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. They also may be a little reckless and restless. Tigers have big energies and are fiercely independent, according to Chinese astrologer Tiffany Lin. Enterprising and risk-takers, tigers may be natural born entrepreneurs.
The Year of the Tiger is cause for celebration. The Chinese believe your ben ming nian, or the year of your zodiac animal, is the unluckiest for you because it is a rebirth year and a time when children can easily be taken by evil spirits.
Wearing red all year is a defense against this. Those born in 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 and 2022 are all born under the Tiger.
If you are looking to join in the celebration, there are several events in the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately, the traditional Chinese New Year Festival and Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown has been canceled this year.
Chinese New Year Festival at the Huntington
Feb. 5 and 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Families can enjoy lion dancers, a mask-changing
Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession that will travel from the Pixar Pier Gate to Paradise Gardens Obelisk. PHOTO COURTESY DISNEYLAND
artist, martial arts demonstrations, music, art and craft demonstrations, and more. The festivities will take place in and around the Chinese Garden and other outdoor performance spaces.
Advanced tickers are required as there is a limit on capacity. Prices range from $13-$29. Free for members. Performances and demonstrations will be held outdoors.
For more information, visit bit.ly/3r26xOp.
Lunar New Year Festival, California Adventure Park
Through Feb. 13
Celebrate the new year with Mickey, Minnie, Tigger and all your favorite characters who will be dressed in colorful attire. Joining the celebration this year will be Raya from “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
There will be special menus celebrating Asian cuisine and live entertainment. There will also be kid-friendly crafts and activities.
For more information, visit disneyland.disney. go.com/events-tours/lunar-new-year.
Twilight Walking Tour of Chinatown
Thursday, Feb. 3, 5-7 p.m.
While the dragon parade has been canceled, a visit of Chinatown Los Angeles will still be an experience where you can be immersed in the culture. The cost is $35 (plus $2.40 Eventbrite fees)and reservations are required. For more information, visit bit.ly/3IGjUd9.