The Lunar New Year is here, beginning on February 1, 2022. What a relief. I need a break from the kids. The last time we had nine days off straight was 2015, since then it has wrapped around a weekend, meaning only six consecutive days off.
The Lunar calendar is (obviously by name) based on the moon’s phases, a 29.5 day month, and starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice. A lunar year calendar could have twelve or thirteen months, compared to the solar year.
It also goes on a twelve year cycle, with a zodiac of animals: Rat (Mouse), Ox (Cow), Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (Sheep), Monkey, Rooster (Chicken), Dog, Pig. 2022 is the third year of the cycle, year of the tiger. You can tell how seriously many people take the zodiac by the number of kids of each age. It’s not a big difference in number, but there are noticeably fewer kids age 6 and 18 because “year of the monkey” is considered unlucky.
I was born year of the goat, hence my ibex tattoo. I also have an Asian dragon tattooed on my hide where you keep your wallet. Now I wonder if I should collect the whole set.
Here’s a cheesy and silly song from 2010, the last year of the tiger:
There’s also the myth of “Nian monster”, why everything is covered in red paper and fabric, and why everyone sets off bloody annoying fire crackers for days (weeks, ugh) on end.