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Feb. 1 marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year of the Tiger, 4720. Courtesy photo
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Year of the Tiger could be wild one

Gong xi fa cai! I want to wish you all a bountiful Lunar New Year of the Tiger, 4720. We get to celebrate for 16 days and wear my favorite color — red. I really like that in a holiday.

Chinese New Year starts on the day after the first New Moon that falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 — this year, that’s Feb. 1.

I love a chance to fill the coming year with luck. I especially like an alternative to the always-disappointing St. Valentine’s Day. Now, don’t call me bitter. It’s a great day if you’re 12 or under. Otherwise, men see it as a plot to make them say and do nice things against their will, and women just expect too much.

Let’s get back to the holiday that provides parties and really wonderful food. Get out your fireworks, and watch for money in pretty, red envelopes.

I am, of course, looking for anyone willing to invite me over for some pork dumplings, spring rolls, fish soup, savory noodles and tangerines. Not only are they delicious, but as you slurp, you fill your new year with good fortune.

The Year of the Tiger is pretty glamorous, and is for those born after Feb. 1 in 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 and 2022. Legend holds that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on New Year’s Day and named a year after each of the 12 animals that came. (See! Sometimes all you have to do is show up.)

The animals in the Chinese calendar are Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey and Rooster. The four signs are Water, Fire, Wood and Earth.

I swallowed hard as I read that 4720 might be a something of a wild ride. Tiger signs are said to be powerful, rebellious, dynamic, adventurous, fiery, impulsive and unpredictable.

I was relieved to hear, though, that tigers typically have strong ethics and are known to be an animal that expels all evil. And according to Chinese astrology reports, the water tiger — the animal being ushered in with this Lunar New Year — is also less aggressive and more open-minded than the typical tiger. I’m putting my money on that.

So will it be a good year for you? Well, the Chinese zodiac signs most compatible with tiger are Horse, Dog and Pig. People with these signs will be most receptive to the Year of the Tiger’s creative, wild and intense energy. Horse’s liveliness, Dog’s idealism, and Pig’s courage are said to mix well with Tiger. Sounds a bit rash to this plodding Year of the Ox.

I had a quick look at my Year of the Ox horoscope. I was delighted to read that, while I am a traditional rival of the Tiger, it is recommended that in my free time, I should arrange a trip with friends to relax and release my inner depression. Road trip, anyone?

With wishes for prosperity ringing in your ears, go put on something red, find a good Asian restaurant, pop open a bottle of warm sake or cold Tsingtao beer and celebrate. Nobody can argue with a free do-over.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer planning to buckle up snugly and keep her horns down. Contact her at [email protected].