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Lunar New Year: Asian communities celebrate Year of the Tiger

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Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2022. 9:47 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Asian communities in Belize and elsewhere are marking the start of the Lunar New Year and associated festivals.

Often called the “Chinese New Year” and Spring Festival, Lunar New Year is celebrated by nearly two billion people across the world and is marked by a rich culture and tradition that centers around the hope for good fortune and prosperity.

A number of Belizean businesses and organizations recognized the event on Facebook, while the local embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was closed for the day.

The date depends on the cycles of the moon as tracked by the lunisolar calendar which contrasts with the largely solar Gregorian calendar. The date always falls between January 20 and February 21 on the Gregorian calendar.

Another constant is that each year has a corresponding animal from the Chinese zodiac, based on ancient Chinese mythology; 2022 will mark the Year of the Tiger.

The Lantern Festival, also known as the Shangyuan Festival, is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. A beautiful display of lanterns are lit and released into the night sky, signifying the final day of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations 15 days hence.

Lunar New Year is annually linked to one of 12 zodiac animals – each possessing their own character traits. The animals consist of Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

The animals are assigned based on a 12-year cycle, making 2022 the Year of the Tiger. The Tiger is known to be the king of all beasts, and is seated third in the Chinese zodiac order of animals. Last year, 2021, was the Year of the Ox.

You’re a Tiger sign if you were born in the following (Gregorian) years: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022.

Tiger years are considered courageous, assertive, natural leaders, hungry for thrills and attention, occasionally short-tempered but capable of generosity.

Chinese zodiacs are based on the Heavenly Stems and Branches system, which coordinates one of five elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth) to each Tiger Year on a rotating basis. That means every 60 years, one element will apply to the Zodiac sign and have certain personality traits associated with it.

2022 is the Year of the Water Tiger. Those born this year are said to have great interpersonal relationships, and be very family oriented. The last Water Tiger year was 1962. Other recent years include 1950 and 2010’s Metal Tiger, 1974 and 2034’s Wood Tiger, 1926 and 1986’s Fire Tiger, and 1938 and 1998’s Earth Tiger.

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