February 1st marks the 2022 Chinese New Year, ushering in the Year of the Tiger. Unlike Western festivities based on Gregorian calendars and champagne, the Chinese New Year comes from the Chinese Zodiac.
Like Western astrology, the Chinese Zodiac features 12 celestial talismans. All 12 symbols are animals, each of which has unique personalities, traits, and quips.
Moreover, each Chinese Zodiac is ruled by four elements, making 2022 the year of the Water Tiger. So, what does this mean for you? Read on to find out!
How The Chinese Zodiac Works
Unlike Western astrology, the Chinese Zodiac hands out assignments every year, not month. The Zodiac origins stretch back to the Jade Emperor. This mythical figure reigned over deities, not mortals alone, much like Zeus or Odin.
Legend states that the Jade Emperor determined the order of the Zodiac via a foot race. The Emperor invited the entire animal kingdom to participate in a race across a wide river. The Rat reached the other side first, making it the first animal of the Chinese Zodiac.
The Ox came in second, the Tiger third, and so on. The final order of the race determined the order of the Zodiac. Each animal rules over one year, which means it takes 12 years to cycle through the entire Zodiac wheel.
Each of these celestial mascots possesses inherent personality traits. But how they participated in that original race matters, too.
What Does It Mean To Be A Tiger?
In China, the “king of the jungle” is the tiger, not the lion. Their natural power and ferocity carried over into their Zodiac profile. The tiger is powerful, rebellious, and dynamic. They are adventurous but prone to impulsivity, like an Aries, but with claws.
As king of all beasts, the Tiger was overly confident in its ability to win the Jade Emperor’s race. To the Tiger’s surprise, both the Ox and the Rat beat it to the other side. The Ox crossed with hard work and perseverance.
The Rat, on the other hand, cheated by hitching a ride on the Ox’s back. Just before they reached the shore, the Rat hopped off and beat the Ox to the finish line. For some context, 2020 was the Year of the Rat. Is anyone surprised? Didn’t think so.
To its chagrin, the Tiger followed in third place. This “stolen” win created a fierce competitive strike in the Tiger, determined never to be outpaced again.
We return to a Zodiac sign every twelve years, meaning our last Year of the Tiger was in 2010. Other recent Tiger Years are 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, and 1950. If you were born in a Tiger year, then you are a Tiger.
What Does A Tiger Year Mean For You?
Each Zodiac animal is also ruled by four elements: earth, fire, water, or air. 2022 happens to be the Year of the Water Tiger, which is gentler than, say, the Fire Tiger.
The Water Tiger brings a more open-minded energy. They are less aggressive, though still highly driven. Water Tigers are often deeply devoted to their families and interpersonal relationships. They prioritize humanity over all else, putting the whole over the individual.
Tiger Years are great opportunities for taking risks and adventuring. These years often bring great enthusiasm, generosity, and progress. Water’s influence will make many of these changes emotional or creative. Consequently, most changes will likely be cerebral, not physical.
The Year of the Water Tiger will encourage us to release our pent-up energy. Laura Lau, co-author of The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, told the LA Times that this need for an outlet will create “part of the potential drama of the year.”
“Good comes out of big, passionate expressions,” Lau continued. “But sometimes it’s tumultuous.”
This could be especially true for kindred Tigers themselves. According to Chinese mythology, the unluckiest years are the ones that match your birth year’s sign. So, 1998, 1986, 1974, and 1962 babies, you’ll want to keep an eye out for rocky roads ahead.
We were foiled by 2020 and outworked by 2021. 2022 will be the year for catching up, making moves, and great progress.