The Year of the Tiger begins on February 1. But what does that mean?
For the uninitiated, there are 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac, each named after an animal and assigned to a year in 12-year cycles. The 2022 Lunar New Year will see the end of the Year of the Ox that we are currently in, and the beginning of the Year of the Tiger.
To find out which of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac you fall under, read below:
The Rat is the first of the Chinese zodiac animals; it is associated with wisdom. Those belonging to the sign of the rat (born in 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948 and so on in 12-year intervals) are said to be creative, resourceful and organised.
The Ox is associated with diligence. Those belonging to the sign of the Ox (born in 2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1949 and 1937) are said to be strong, dependable and determined).
The Tiger is associated with valour. Those belonging to the sign of the Tiger (born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950 and 1938) are said to value independence and have a strong sense of justice.
The Rabbit is associated with prudence. Those belonging to the sign of the Rabbit (born in 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975,1963, 1951 and 1939) are considered to be thoughtful and warm.
The Dragon is associated with strength. Those belonging to the sign of the Dragon (born in 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952 and 1940) tend to work well with others but are prone to overthinking.
The Snake is associated with flexibility. Those belonging to the sign of the Snake (born in 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953 and 1941) can appear aloof but are quick-thinking and decisive.
The Horse is associated with persistence. Those belonging to the sign of the Horse (born in 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954 and 1942) can have short tempers that make them emotionally volatile at times.
The Goat is associated with peace. Those belonging to the sign of the Goat (born in 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955 and 1943) are often generous and sociable.
The Monkey is associated with intelligence. Despite their curiosity, those belonging to the sign of the Monkey (born in 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956 and 1944) can sometimes be arrogant and self-centred.
The Rooster is associated with constancy. Those belonging to the sign of the Rooster (born in 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957 and 1945) are said to work hard but value their freedom.
The Dog is associated with loyalty. Those belonging to the sign of the Dog (born in 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958 and 1946) are thought to be observant and reliable.
The Pig is associated with amiability. Those belonging to the sign of the Pig (born in 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959 and 1947) can be materialistic but might not be responsible with their money.
However, a new Chinese zodiac year starts in January or February according to the lunar calendar. Therefore, if you were born in January or February you may be the sign of the previous year.
Feng Shui Master and consultant, Edgar Lok Tin Yung gives more insight into the complexity of Chinese astrology.
Having discovered that the 2022 Year of the Tiger is my ‘benmingnian’ (origin of life year), I was curious to get Lok Tin’s advice because there is a belief that bad luck befalls people during their zodiac year.
Turns out, it’s not quite that simple. The superstition of bad luck during benmingnian fails to take into consideration the element that is associated with the zodiac sign.
“In Chinese astrology we look at different elements; which is the water, the wood, the fire, the earth and the metal,” Lok Tin explains.
My corresponding element is Earth. Lok Tin explains that the interaction between the Earth element in my chart and the 2022 Water Tiger mean that there’s better wealth for me in the year ahead. But that wealth will come as a result of a busy year.
Anyone marking their benmingnian in the Year of the Tiger will be busy next year. But depending on whether your corresponding element is favourable or unfavourable Lok Tin says, “Some Tigers will be busy but with no reward, some Tigers will be busy with reward, that’s the difference.”
It’s not simply Tigers like me who should be paying attention to year ahead. Lok Tin explains that the Tiger, Monkey, Snake and Pig form what is called a ‘travelling star’, meaning “these four animal signs are very connected to the year of the tiger because they are in a combination relationship with the tiger.” So, people born in those years may feel the effects of the Year of the Tiger more keenly.
He says that the Year of the Tiger will particularly affect those born in the Year of the Monkey. “The Monkey and the Tiger are in the opposite directions. So, it’s like a clash.”
People born in the Year of the Monkey should expect to experience a lot of change in the coming year.
Regardless of your sign, Lok Tin says that the Year of the Tiger will bring a changing travel landscape.
“August is the Monkey month. The Monkey and Tiger activate each other so the travelling star or the travelling energy will be very strong,” he says. “My prediction is that in July/August, more travelling will be happening.”
The 2022 Year of the Tiger corresponds to the Water element. Lok Tin explains that water indicates fear; the reason that travel is unlikely to resume until the second half of the year.
When travel does resume, Lok Tin predicts that it will bring joy. “The Tiger is also the birthplace of fire,” he says. “Fire energy is joy and happiness. So, starting from next year, happiness is born.”
Lok Tin explains that Chinese astrology recognises that we are ruled by three levels of luck; heavenly luck, earthly luck and human luck.
“Heaven is what we cannot control,” he says. Earth luck can be controlled to the extent that it relates to the environment and feng shui principles. Human luck is what we have the most control over. “Human is how you behave, how you look after yourself,” he says.
Lok Tin advises that people born in the Year of the Monkey can maximise their human luck if they start saving up and preparing for the big changes that they are likely to encounter in the Year of the Tiger.
“You can plan and write down what you want to achieve for the Year of the Tiger…whether you achieve it or not, at least there’s something for you to look forward to.”
Monkeys born in 2004 will turn 18 and should, "be more cautious and pay attention,” as they transition into adulthood.
For those celebrating Lunar New Year and wanting to begin the Year of the Tiger on the right foot, Lok Tin has one piece of advice – make a plan.
In the Northern hemisphere, the Lunar New Year falls in the springtime.
“There’s a Chinese saying that, ‘The whole year’s plan starts in Spring’,” says Lok Tin. “You can plan and write down what you want to achieve for the Year of the Tiger…whether you achieve it or not, at least there’s something for you to look forward to.”