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Traditions to treasure

By Cheng Yuezhu Source: China Daily Updated: 2022-01-28


[Photo provided to China Daily] 

Under the Chinese zodiac, 2022 marks the Year of the Tiger. The animal is hailed in Chinese culture as the “king of all beasts”. 

Most children here, when asked to draw a tiger, would write on its forehead the Chinese character wang, as the markings on tigers’ foreheads resemble the character for “king”.

Since ancient times, tigers have symbolized power, solemnity and bravery, with objects bearing tiger-related imagery created to expel evil spirits and invoke blessings.

To celebrate this year’s Lunar New Year, it is therefore necessary to prepare in advance a few traditional tiger stuffed toys — the classic type is usually made of cloth and comes in festive colors such as red and yellow — to adorn one’s home or to give to children as a mascot for blessings.

The traditions of Spring Festival are closely followed. The eve of Lunar New Year is a time to say goodbye to the past and ring in the new year, with the reunion dinner an indispensable feature of the night.

Although foods prepared for the feast may vary throughout the country, jiaozi (dumplings) are a must-have for most families in northern China. “Auspicious” dishes like fish and chicken, the words for which sound like “surplus” and “good luck” in Chinese, are usually the centerpieces on dining tables.

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