Chinese New Year, Year of the Tiger: Celebrating my way


Lianne Guttadauro

10-year-old me in my Chinese dance costume.

     Walking through the town square, looking around and hearing firecrackers crackle, smelling the noodles and dumplings at the food stands.

     The square is filled with people in silk dresses and people doing party tricks. 

     February 1 is the first of 23 days of pure excitement and celebration.

     There are big statues of the Chinese zodiac animals that you can take photos with. 

     According to the Creative Arts Guild, your animal is based solely on the year that you were born. 

     There are 12 animals that your birthday can be in, these animals are the rat, pig, horse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, dog, rooster, snake, monkey, and goat.  They all have different personality traits to go along with the animal. 

     For my family, my mom and I were both born in the year of the pig, my sister was born in the year of the monkey, and my dad was born in the year of the snake. 

     The cycle of animals lasts for 12 years and then repeats itself. So, for example, if you were one year old when it was the year of the tiger, now you would be 12 years old. 

     The next time the year of the pig comes around, it is going to be the year 2031, and I will be 22 years old.  

     My house is filled with decorations for this holiday, such as Chinese books and lanterns. 

     We have celebrations with our friends and eat all the essential foods for the holiday. These foods include dumplings, lo mein noodles, and orange chicken from our favorite Chinese restaurant.

     My mom’s friend Xiaorui usually gives out red envelopes that are called hóngbāo. They are filled with money and it symbolizes good wishes for the new year. Usually, kids just get an envelope but that’s not always the case. On the fifth day of the Chinese New Year, people pray to their ancestors that have passed, however, my family doesn’t usually participate in this tradition.

     According to China Daily, sometimes, people call the Chinese New Year, “the Spring Festival.”  It is called this because the celebration starts at the beginning of spring. 

     Another tradition people celebrate in China during this time is covered in lanterns on the fifteenth day of the celebration. My family works with the International Adoption Center around this holiday, which is paired with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Beforehand they have silent auctions, henna, and reuniting with old friends. 

     Around six in the afternoon, we eat dinner.  During the dinner, they have fundraised for the children who are adopted, similar to me. While dinner occurs, they also host a fashion show and auction (which I never do). All the auction items are very expensive, for example, there is a trip for four to the Bahamas starting at $3,000. 

     The Chinese New Year doesn’t have a set date for celebration each year. Last year, the celebration started on February 12, however, this year it starts on February 1. 

     Celebrate Chinese New Year by going out and wearing red, along with eating Chinese food with family and friends. Trying new foods and lighting firecrackers to defend against bad spirits is fun, as well.