Friday, 12 February 2010

Gong xi fa cai – welcome to the Year of the Tiger!

The Year of the Tiger begins on February 14, 2010 and preparations for the auspicious event are underway across the world.

Many Chinese pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to geomancers to help them divine what the New Year has in store. In case of bad omens, various elements are combined in creative ways to ward off evil.

Strict orthodox Muslims consider participation in any such festivities as sacrilegious. I find the lives of such Muslims quite sad; in Dubai I met several families who banned their kids from celebrating birthdays. They believe that only religious festivals are worthy of celebration.

Well, you won’t find me outdoors burning offerings to my ancestors but I do enjoy the holiday and festive cheer. I find nothing un-Islamic about families getting together and enjoying a traditional meal (pork anyone?) around a dinner table. In a sense, it’s the Chinese version of Islam’s Eid.

I digress. What I want to write about is the Year of the Tiger. The Chinese use the lunar calendar. They cycle of twelve animal signs follow each other with the advent of a new lunar year.

The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig are the twelve animal signs. Every animal has particular characteristics and people born in a specific year are believed to take on these characteristics. For those curious, I was born in the Year of the (fire) Horse.

The Tiger is the third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle. The Tiger is a sign of bravery. Tigers are physically powerful, gracious, independent and brave animals. While they are friendly and loving, tigers can also be selfish and short tempered.

Apparently, the Tiger Year will be a tumultuous year. Confusion and change can be exciting so enjoy the journey. Let’s see what we are up to at the end of the year!

Please accept my best wishes for a Happy Chinese New Year! May it be a year full of health, wealth and happiness.


  1. Thank you, Imran. I hope you will enoy the festivity. Also, I would like to compliment your attitude toward other festivals. When I was in Malaysia, I love to participate in different festival celebrations. I love the companies and food. Hopefully one day I will be able to do that again.

  2. Hi Lee,

    Thank you for your wishes and for your continued visits to my blog.

    I intend to enjoy the festivities! Perhaps you should plan your next visit to Malaysia around a holiday season - Chinese New Year, Christmas, Hari Raya, or Deepavali? It will make the visit a memorable one for you.

    Have a great Year of the Tiger ...

    Kind regards,