Roar Incoming: the Arrival of the Year of the Tiger


Aaron Rojas

The Lunar New Year has arrived once more with this year’s animal representation being the tiger and the element of water occuring every 60 years.

Aaron Rojas, Staff Writer

The time of feasting, honoring deities and ancestors has arrived in Asia, as the Year of the Water Tiger is this year’s animal and element representation in the lunar calendar. The Lunar New Year is considered one of the most important celebrations of the year for Southeast Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, both Koreas and Singapore.

The word Lunar New Year means the transition from winter to the “beginning to spring.” It is a secular holiday that draws ideas from Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and cultural fables. Lunar New Year is celebrated for multiple days during the second new moon and after the winter solstice. Each Lunar Year is represented by 12 zodiac animals which are the dragon, ox, snake, horse, tiger, rabbit, sheep, monkey, pig, rooster, rat and dog. In addition to these 12 zodiac animals, five elements are also in the lunar calendar which are fire, water, earth, wood and metal.

While the Southeast Asian countries each have differing traditions for the holiday, there are some common agreements among all. The red envelopes are stuffed with notes that are generally made by the elders to young children of the family as a gift. They see the colors red and gold as a great fortune and a sign of good luck for the year.<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>WATCH: Malaysia ushers in the Lunar New Year with an underwater lion dance performance <a href=”″></a></p>&mdash; Reuters (@Reuters) <a href=””>February 5, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>

“I never knew that there were elements along with the Lunar New Year, I mean I knew there were animals chosen each year but it’s interesting that the holiday was drawn from religion, I always thought it was something related to war or something related to a revolution”, freshman Vanessa Arce said.

Many people also clean their homes thoroughly and hang out lanterns to drive away bad spirits. Legends have it that a mythical beast called Nian had sharp thorns around its long head that dwells up in the sea and would show up during the Lunar Year. According to the fable, the Nian would come eating people and their livestock in villages. Many of these people fled to the mountains from the monster until an old man with white hair visited the village. The old man did not hide like the villagers in the mountains and instead posted red papers on doors, burned bamboo to make a crackling sound, lit candles and wore red clothes all around the village. It is said that the Nian was scared of these loud noises and retreated to the sea, never showing up to the village as the traditions followed by the old man are continued every year.

“I have always loved the Chinese New Year holiday and hearing about the Nian fable makes the holiday more fun to enjoy. Even though I don’t celebrate the holiday as people in Southeast Asia do, I have always admired the festive lights, food and traditions on social media,” freshman Sofia Perez said.

This year, people who are born during the tiger years are said to be strong, brave and inspiring leaders according to the lunar calendar and the zodiac system. Do not forget to embrace the Lunar New Year and the good fortunes that the Year of the Tiger will bring this upcoming year.