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Bridging the Gap: Chinese New Year

Hong Kong is a multicultural and vibrant city full of traditions, history and celebration. The one holiday that everyone enjoys celebrating the most in Hong Kong, is the Chinese New Year. This year, it falls on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022, and celebrations will run for a few days, finally ending with the Lantern Festival on February 15th, 2022.

In schools across Hong Kong, we have a wonderful mix of international students who have the unique opportunity to learn about the rich cultural heritage of holidays that are different from the ones that are celebrated in their native countries.

A huge part of the Chinese New Year celebration is the symbolic transitioning between zodiac signs. We are moving away from 2021 which was the year of the Ox, into 2022 which is the year of the Tiger.

In Chinese culture, parents are encouraged to know their Chinese Zodiac animal because it provides guidance to help navigate life. If parents understand their children’s zodiac signs, they may be better able to understand their wants, needs and dreams. If they understand all this, they are better equipped to support, strengthen and inspire their children.

Western culture also discusses zodiac signs but they differ from Chinese Zodiac signs. Both systems are based on the date and time of a person’s birth. There are 12 symbols that are assigned meaning for each one.

In Chinese culture, the 12 signs are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. These 12 signs originally come from a tale that when God was creating the calendar, he summoned all the creatures on earth to take part in a race. The first 12 animals that crossed the finish line are what we know today as the signs in the Chinese zodiac.

The Western signs are: Ram, Bull, Twins, Crab, Lion, Virgin, Scales, Scorpion, Centaur, Sea-Goat, Water Bearer, and Fish. These 12 signs are based on the stars and the constellations' positions in relation to the earth.

To welcome in the year of the Tiger, Hong Kong will break up the festivities in the following three parts.

Little Year: Preparations begin on January 24th until January 31st.

Spring Festival: Chinese New Year officially begins on February 1st, and ends on February 11th.