Tuesday marks the beginning of a new year — the Lunar New Year.
On this day, also known as the Chinese New Year, we bid farewell to the Year of the Ox and welcome the Year of the Tiger. Referred to as the Spring Festival in China, the holiday is traditionally a time to honor deities and ancestors.
Joining in the celebration of the new lunar year, Google created a Doodle that welcomes the Year of the Tiger. In Asian cultures, the tiger — not the lion — is considered the king of the jungle, so people born during a Tiger Year are thought to be brave and natural leaders.
Joining the tiger in Google’s Doodle are peach blossoms, traditional foods that represent good fortune and Chinese lanterns, which typically decorate houses and public places as a symbol of hope and joy.
While the new year is typically associated with a fresh start in many cultures, the Lunar New Year is seen as a time of reunion and rebirth, marking the end of winter and the start of spring. Unlike holidays tied to the solar Gregorian calendar, the traditional Chinese calendar marks the days of the year through the ancient lunisolar Chinese calendar system, which bases months on the moon’s phases.
Fireworks are set off to ward off evil monsters and bad luck. The festivities typically last about two weeks, kicking off with a nighttime parade featuring floats, dragons, dancers and musicians. And while recent celebrations have been more subdued than usual, the spirit can’t be dampened.
The most common way to wish someone a happy Chinese new year is the Cantonese greeting, “Gong hei fat choy.” However, you say it, happy Lunar New Year!