Chinese New Year – 1st February

The celebration of the Chinese New Year has its roots deep with the traditional Taoist culture of China. One of the considered original stories was of a Dragon, sometimes called Nian, that would annually appear to devour all at the New Year, yet one year a mysterious gentleman appeared in a village and repelled Nian knowing that the dragon feared the colour red and loud noises.

He was revered and considered a deity saving humanity by his deeds.

In part this tradition sustains as it is customary to ignite firecrackers and issue red envelopes with money to promote prosperity and good fortune.

Similarly, almost in a re-enactment, both in mainland China and around the world in celebration Dragon (as well as Lion and Unicorn) dances are performed to signify Nian’s response to the events on New Year.

What follows from that day is 15 days of celebrations, lantern festivals, customary giving of food and gifts to usher in a healthy, harmonious and prosperous new year ahead.

From the Taoist cosmological perspectives nature is circular and different qualities that affect the land, the elements, humans and all life constantly revolve, as well as evolve.

The Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animals signifying different qualities. However, with the 5 elements (as previously mentioned in articles) it transform a revolving cycle from 12 years to 60 years, where it is considered that nature circulates through similar experiences over time.

The 12 year cycle is based on an old folk tale called the Great Race. All 12 animals took part in a race to reach the Jade Emperor. The order they completed the race is the order in which the years are named.

The Rat won out against the bigger animals by catching a ride on the back of the ox and then jumping off its back at the last minute. The qualities of all the animals signified how they ran the race and their successes.

2022 is the Year of the Water-Tiger. The tiger is known to be king of all beasts in China and comes third in the Chinese zodiac. The qualities associated with the tiger are competitive, self-confident, brave, and with great willpower and strength. The element of Water is even more important this year as it is the element of Winter and therefore is immediate. The quality of Water is seen as will and fearlessness which also relates to patience and its endurance. This is exactly the kind of quality that is helpful during these times we currently see ourselves living through.

All around the UK there will be an opportunity for all to watch, join in or just celebrate with the community an important and historical date in the Chinese calendar.

Xin nian kuai le / Gong xi fa cai / Gong hei fat choi / Happy New Year.