The Pagan Christmas Tree – Storytelling for Everyone

Legend and Lore

Victorian Christmas Tree

The “first decorated indoor tree” was recorded in 1605, in Strasbourg, Germany, decorated with roses, apples, wafers and other sweets. Demand for Christmas trees was so high in the 15th century that laws were passed in Strasbourg cracking down on people cutting pine trees.

For many, it’s unthinkable to celebrate Christmas without a beautiful evergreen fir in the living room decorated with sparkling ornaments and wrapped presents. Like most Christmas traditions, including the celebration of Christmas itself, the origin of the Christmas tree can be traced to pagan traditions. 

In fact, were it not for Queen Victoria, the most powerful monarch of her time, decorated fir trees might have remained an obscure custom that only a couple of Germanic and Slavic countries practiced. Here’s a brief rundown of the Christmas tree’s intriguing history.

Long before Christianity appeared, people in the Northern Hemisphere used evergreen plants to decorate their homes, particularly the doors, to celebrate the Winter Solstice. On December 21 or December 22, the day is the shortest and the night the longest.

Traditionally, this time of the year is seen as the return in strength of the sun goddess (Sól/Sunna/Sunne, the common Sun goddess among the Germanic tribes, from Proto-Germanic Sōwilō, and was chased across the sky in her horse-drawn chariot by a wolf) had been weakened during winter.

The evergreen served as a reminder that the goddess would glow again and summer was to be expected.

The clergy banned these practices from the public life, considering them acts of heathenry. So, some collected evergreen branches or trees and brought them to their homes, in secret.

During these early days of the Christmas tree, many statesmen and members of the clergy condemned their use as a celebration of Christ. Lutheran minister Johann von Dannhauer, for instance, complained that the symbol distracted people from the true evergreen tree, Jesus Christ. 

The English Puritans condemned a number of customs associated with Christmas, such as the use of the Yule log, holly and mistletoe. Oliver Cromwell, the influential 17th-century British politician, preached against the “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.”


In mild climates, the Christmas rose flowers in winter, which accounts for its common name. This association with the Yuletide season was emphasized by medieval Nativity plays which presented a story similar to one associated with the poinsettia in later years.

The story tells of a young shepherd girl who was tending her family’s flock on Christmas eve. After witnessing the events of that night, she eagerly accompanied the other shepherds to visit the Holy Child. Distraught that she had no gift to offer, the girl began to cry.

An angel had pity on her led the girl outside where the cherub touched the cold ground. Immediately, a Christmas rose appeared and provided the girl with a gift to offer.

Because of this legend, it was long believed that the Christmas rose was a holy flower with mystical powers. It was often planted close to the entrance of a home in the belief that it would prevent evil spirits that might be passing by from entering the house.



Goddess Demeter – Storytelling for Everyone

Greek Mythology

Demeter appeared most commonly as a grain goddess. The name Ioulo (from ioulos, “grain sheaf”) has been regarded as identifying her with the sheaf and as proving that the cult of Demeter originated in the worship of the grain mother.

Demeter, in Greek religion, daughter of the deities Cronus and Rhea, sister and consort of Zeus (the king of the gods), and goddess of agriculture. Her name indicates that she is a mother.

Demeter is rarely mentioned by Homer, nor is she included among the Olympian gods, but the roots of her legend are probably ancient. The legend centers on the story of her daughter Persephone, who is carried off by Hades, the god of the underworld. Demeter goes in search of Persephone and, during her journey, reveals her secret rites to the people of Eleusis, who had hospitably received her (see Eleusinian Mysteries).

Another important aspect of Demeter was that of a divinity of the underworld; she was worshiped as such at Sparta, and especially at the festival of Chthonia at Hermione in Argolis, where a cow was sacrificed by four old women.

The epithets Erinys (“Avenger”) and Melaina (“the Black One”) as applied to Demeter were localized in Arcadia and stress the darker side of her character.

Demeter also appeared as a goddess of health, birth, and marriage. A certain number of political and ethnic titles were assigned to her, the most important being Amphiktyonis, as patron goddess of the Amphictyonic League, subsequently well known in connection with the temple at Delphi.

Among the agrarian festivals held in honour of Demeter were the following: Haloa, apparently derived from halōs (“threshing floor”), begun at Athens and finished at Eleusis, where there was a threshing floor of Triptolemus, her first priest and inventor of agriculture; it was held in the month Poseideon (December).

Chloia, the festival of the grain beginning to sprout, held at Eleusis in the early spring (Anthesterion) in honour of Demeter Chloë (“the Green”), the goddess of growing vegetation.

Proerosia, at which prayers were offered for an  abundant harvest, before the land was plowed for sowing. It was also called Proarktouria, an indication that it was held before the rising of Arcturus. The festival took place, probably sometime in September, at Eleusis.  

Thalysia, a thanksgiving festival held in autumn after the harvest in the island of Cos. The Thesmophoria, a women’s festival meant to improve the fruitfulness of the seed grain. The Skirophoria held in midsummer, a companion festival.

Her attributes were connected chiefly with her character as goddess of agriculture and vegetation—ears of grain, the mystic basket filled with flowers, grain, and fruit of all kinds. The pig was her favourite animal, and as a chthonian (underworld) deity she was accompanied by a snake.

In Greek art Demeter resembled Hera, but she was more matronly and of milder expression; her form was broader and fuller. She was sometimes riding in a chariot drawn by horses or dragons, sometimes walking, or sometimes seated upon a throne, alone or with her daughter.

The Romans identified Demeter with Ceres.



Author adminPosted on July 11, 2022Categories Legends, Myth, Nature, SeasonsTags Ceres, Eleusinian Mysteries, grain, greek, harvest, mythology, Persephone, wheat

Mabon—Autumn Equinox – Storytelling for Everyone

Welsh Mythology

This festival is named after the God of Welsh mythology, Mabon. He is the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron.

Here is another point of perfect balance on the journey through the Wheel of the Year, its counterpart being Ostara or the Spring Equinox. Night and day are again of equal length and in perfect equilibrium – dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, in balance. But we are again on the cusp of transition and from now the year now begins to wane and from this moment darkness begins to defeat the light. 

The cycle of the natural world is moving towards completion, the Sun’s power is waning and from now on the nights grow longer and the days are are shorter and cooler. The sap of trees returns back to their roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the fire of autumn, to the flaming reds, oranges and golds. We are returning to the dark from whence we came.

This is the Second Harvest, the Fruit Harvest and the Great Feast of Thanksgiving. The Goddess is radiant as Harvest Queen and the God finally dies with His gift of pure love with the cutting of the last grain. He will return. As the grain harvest is safely gathered in from Lammas and reaches completion, we enjoy the abundance of fruit and vegetables at this time. It is time to thank the waning Sun for the wealth of harvest bestowed upon us. It sometimes seems that each Festival requires the making of celebration and the giving of thanks, but this really is so, each turn of the Wheel brings both inner and outer gifts and insights.

So, Mabon is a celebration and also a time of rest after the labour of harvest. In terms of life path it is the moment of reaping what you have sown, time to look at the hopes and aspirations of Imbolc and Ostara and reflect on how they have manifested. It is time to complete projects, to clear out and let go that which is no longer wanted or needed as we prepare for descent, so that the winter can offer a time for reflection and peace. And it is time to plant seeds of new ideas and hopes which will lie dormant but nourished in the dark, until the return of Spring.

Symbols & Rituals of Mabon

The Cornucopia
The Cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, is a traditional symbol for Mabon. It is a wonderful symbol for the wealth of harvest and is beautifully balanced symbol which is both male (phallic) and female (hollow and receptive)

The Apple
The apple is the symbol of the Fruit Harvest. The apple figures significantly in many sacred traditions. It is a symbol for life and immortality, for healing, renewal, regeneration and wholeness. It is associated with beauty, long life and restored youth. The Ogham name for apple is Quert and Quert is the epitome of health and vitality. The apple is at the heart of the Ogham grove and is the source of life.

For Pagans, the apple contains a ‘secret’: Cut an apple width ways and it reveals a pentagram containing seeds. It is a much loved symbol of Paganism. The five points represent the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water with Spirit at the top, and thus also the directions of East, South, West, North and Within.

A circle around the pentagram represents the eternal circle/cycle of life and nature, and of wholeness. In ritual and ceremony the pentacle corresponds to the element of Earth. It is believed to be a protection against evil for both the person and the home, worn as an amulet or used to guard entrances to the home through windows and doors.

Colours of Mabon
From green to red, orange, yellow, brown and gold.

The Mabon Altar
Your altar should be dressed in the very best produce you can find from field, forest and market, from garden and the wild. Apples, pears, damsons, sloes, rose hips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, the possibilities are large. If you collect from the wild, be not greedy – always leave plenty of fruit and berries for the birds and wee creatures.

Make an outdoor shrine for the nature spirits in thanks for the bounty they help to provide. Leave one of each flower, fruit and vegetable that you have, as a gift.

Great Feast of Thanksgiving

Celebrate with a feast for friends and family using as much fruit & veg, locally grown, as you can.

Go Walking
Go for a walk and collect as much of nature’s wild abundance as you can, while respecting the need to leave enough for everyone else including the nature spirits. You will find wild damsons, sloes, rosehips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries and more. Remember the fruit is the carrier of the precious seed.

Clear Out and Complete
We think of Spring as the time to clear out but now is the perfect time to complete unfinished projects and clear your home of unwanted stuff. Prepare to hibernate.

Plant Bulbs
This is an excellent time to plant tree seeds and shrubs.They have all of winter in the darkness to establish and germinate. Plant bulbs which will hide in the earth until early Spring beckons. Make each one a hope, idea or aspiration for Spring and wait until their little green buds show above ground – to remind you.


The Little Drummer Boy – Storytelling for Everyone

Modern Christmas Legend

According to legend, there was once a young boy who was sound asleep. A sudden noise woke him and he was startled to find a parade right outside his house. As a child, this young boy, Zach, was fascinated with parades and always wanted to be a part of them.

He would often dream about dressing up and marching with others in the parade while playing the drum. Zach’s parents gifted him with a drum set for his birthday, and seeing the parade taking place outside his house, Zach realized that it was his only chance to get out, play the drums and be a part of the colorful gala.

He was stunned to see that the people who were parading outside were not ordinary men and women. They looked like wealthy people who were sitting on camels and were richly dressed. There were servants who led these camels, and Zach believed that this parade was headed towards a palace.

Therefore, like any other inquisitive boy, Zack slipped out of his house, making sure not to awaken his parents and took his drum with him. Once he crept out of the door, he began playing the drums as he got in line with the parade, somewhere behind the last camel.

Little did Zack know that the parade was actually headed towards Bethlehem, towards a shed where a baby boy was born.

The people knew right away that the newborn baby was special because there was a single star that shone brightly in the sky above. All the wise men on the camels and the shepherds who were part of the parade carried princely gifts with them. Little Zack had nothing with him, but his drum. Zack noticed that the even the poorest widow at the shed had something to present to the newborn.

After all the other onlookers left, the little drummer boy stood alone in the shed, his presence unnoticed. He was disappointed at not having a single gift with him. Without knowing what to do next, he began playing his drum, slow at first and then louder.

Legend states that Baby Jesus responded to the sound, turned his head towards the drummer boy and smiled; the first response to any gift presented to him on this special day.

The drummer boy was no longer sad, as he believed that he presented Baby Jesus with the greatest gift of all, the gift of love.

The Little Drummer Boy Christmas Song

A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum

To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum

I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum

I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum

That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

on my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum

The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum.

The legend of the Drummer Boy is a popular song and marks the significance of the greatest gift one can present to another during Christmas: one’s unique gift of love.



Legend of Babushka – Storytelling for Everyone

A Russian Folktale

It was the night the dear Christ-Child came to Bethlehem. In a country far away from Him, an old, old woman named Babushka sat in her snug little house by her warm fire. The wind was drifting the snow outside and howling down the chimney, but it only made Babushka’s fire burn more brightly.

“How glad I am that I may stay indoors,” said Babushka, holding her hands out to the bright blaze.

But suddenly she heard a loud rap at her door. She opened it and her candle shone on three old men standing outside in the snow. Their beards were as white as the snow, and so long that they reached the ground. Their eyes shone kindly in the light of Babushka’s candle, and their arms were full of precious things—boxes of jewels, and sweet-smelling oils, and ointments.

“We have travelled far, Babushka,” they said, “and we stop to tell you of the Baby Prince born this night in Bethlehem. He comes to rule the world and teach all men to be loving and true. We carry Him gifts. Come with us, Babushka.”

But Babushka looked at the drifting snow, and then inside at her cozy room and the crackling fire. “It is too late for me to go with you, good sirs,” she said, “the weather is too cold.”

She went inside again and shut the door, and the old men journeyed on to Bethlehem without her. But as Babushka sat by her fire, rocking, she began to think about the Little Christ-Child, for she loved all babies.

“To-morrow I will go to find Him,” she said, “to-morrow, when it is light, and I will carry Him some toys.”

So when it was morning Babushka put on her long cloak and took her staff, and filled her basket with the pretty things a baby would like—gold balls, and wooden toys, and strings of silver cobwebs—and she set out to find the Christ-Child.

But, oh, Babushka had forgotten to ask the three old men the road to Bethlehem, and they travelled so far through the night that she could not overtake them. Up and down the road she hurried, through woods and fields and towns, saying to whomsoever she met, “I go to find the Christ-Child. Where does He lie? I bring some pretty toys for His sake.”

But no one could tell her the way to go, and they all said, “Farther on, Babushka, farther on.” So she travelled on and on and on for years and years—but she never found the little Christ-Child.

They say that old Babushka is traveling still, looking for Him. When it comes Christmas Eve, and the children are lying fast asleep, Babushka comes softly through the snowy fields and towns, wrapped in her long cloak and carrying her basket on her arm.

With her staff she raps gently at the doors and goes inside and holds her candle close to the little children’s faces.

“Is He here?” she asks. “Is the little Christ-Child here?” And then she turns sorrowfully away again, crying, “Farther on, farther on!”

But before she leaves she takes a toy from her basket and lays it beside the pillow for a Christmas gift. “For His sake,” she says softly, and then hurries on through the years and forever in search of the little Christ-Child.


Children’s Book of Christmas Stories, edited by Asa Don Dickinson and Ada M. Skinner, Doubleday, Doran & Company Inc., 1913.

Note: The Legend of Babushka is similar to the ancient Italian Legend of La Befana who visits children in early January as an old witch. On the eve of the Epiphany, the old, tattered, and soot-covered Befana flies around the world on a broomstick and comes down chimneys to deliver candy and presents to children who have been good during the year. To those who have been naughty, Befana leaves lumps of coal.

This Italian tradition precedes our modern Santa Claus by centuries. Instead of milk and cookies, Italian families leave her a glass of wine and a plate of sausage. They celebrate the Epiphany on January 6th, as the end of the Christmas, its twelfth day.

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Aine, Goddess of Summer, Wealth, and Sovereignty – Storytelling for Everyone

Celtic Myth

Aine is often remembered as a Celtic goddess of love. But she was also a deity of wealth, sovereignty, and the summer. Her sensitive and joyful personality brought her many followers in the Celtic world. The heart of her cult was located in Limerick, Ireland, though her fame spread like the sun’s rays over many other regions.

Associations between Aine with Venus, Aphrodite, and any other love deity are vague. She was a very complex goddess. One may assume that the goddess of love would have had bright and happy myths surround her, however the legends about Aine are rather depressing. Stories often told of the goddess being raped and murdered, as well as facing many other difficult situations.

Yet these sad stories actually brought her closer to the women who lived in the tough Celtic world. It is important to remember that when the Celtic army worked for others or fought for their land, women also had to protect their homes, towns, and settlements. Therefore, death, cruelty, and sexual abuse were unfortunately quite common for women.

Despite the sad tales, Aine brought women hope and reminded them of the joys of summer and more pleasant times. This may be why she was worshipped instead of some other deities. Aine brought women hope and reminded them of the joys of summer and more pleasant times.

A Sunny Goddess

Celtic legends say that Aine was the daughter of Eogabail, who was a member of the legendary Tuatha Dé Danann. In folklore, she was also recognized as the wife of the sea god Manannan Mac Lir – a deity who was very important for Celtic warriors.

In ancient Irish myths and legends, Aine is described as a Faery Queen, a goddess of the earth and nature, and a lady of the lake. It was believed she brought luck and good magic to her worshippers. Some identify her as a brighter side of the famous goddess Morrigan.

Aine is also known as the goddess who taught humans the meaning of love. She took many human men as lovers and bore many Faerie-Human children. There are countless stories about her escapades with human lovers. Most of the stories about Aine and her lovers were happy and peaceful tales, but some were also sad or disturbing.

Aine’s Encounter with Ailill Aulom

One of the unpleasant legends speaks of a man who didn’t want to learn the meaning of love, but was only driven by his sexual desires. This lout was the King of Munster called Ailill Aulom. According to the traditional story, he raped Aine, so she bit off his ear – which made people call him ‘One-eared Aulom.’

In Old Irish law, kings needed to have a perfect appearance and a complete body. Thus, Aulom lost his authority. This story shows that Aine was also a powerful goddess of sovereignty. As a deity, she granted power to good people, but also took it away from the bad.



Author adminPosted on June 23, 2023Categories Fairy Tales, Legends, Myth, Nature, SeasonsTags Celtic, Faery, fairy, goddess, Ireland

Summer Sun Goddesses – Storytelling for Everyone

By Susan Morgaine

Hemera, Goddess of the Day

With the Summer Solstice upon us, it is time to turn our attention to the Summer Sun Goddess: Goddesses we can call on while meditating on a sandy beach, or invoke at a warm summer dawn.

There are many Goddesses associated with summer and the sun; these are but a few. May you be blessed by Her this summer.

Hemera (Greek)

Her name, which means “light,” Aurora/Eos is the Goddess of Dawn. She rode her chariot, bringing light across the sky. It is said that She had strong sexual urges, kidnapping men for her own uses. She brought forth hope in every new day and that Her tears create the dew of the morning.

Hemera, is a Greek Goddess of the Day. Her mother, the Goddess Nyx, brought darkness each night and each day, Hemera would brighten the world once again with her morning greeting.

Aestas (Roman)

While there is not much known about this Goddess of Summer, She stands by the throne of Phoebus, the Sun-God. Her name means summer or summer heat and She is depicted standing naked with only wheat sheaves in Her hair. She reminds us to enjoy the abundance and glory of summer.

Aditi (Hindu)

The Hindu Goddess and keeper of all light, Aditi illuminates life as we know it. She has no mother and had no birth. She exists for and from all time. It is said that She birthed a large egg, that moved into the sky and became the sun.

Hathor (Egyptian)

The Egyptian Goddess of the sky, She is still worshipped today. She is the “Mother of the Sun”, and is depicted with a solar disk on Her headdress. Many festivals are held in Her honor, but on New Year’s Day, Her image was brought out of the Temple at Dendera to catch the rays of the newborn sunlight. “She is the body in which the soul resides.”

Aine (Irish)

The Sun Goddess of Ireland, Her name means brightness, joy, radiance and glow; She brings us the power of the sun and the abundance of summer. She was honored at mid-summer at the top of Her Hill on Cnoc Aine. It is said that She gave the gift of grain to the people of Ireland. She could assume the shape of a red mare, at will.

Ameratsu (Japanese/Shinto)

A Japanese Shinto Goddess, She is honored as the ruler of all other deities. As the guardian of Her people, Her name means, ”great shining in heaven.” Her emblem, the rising sun, is on the flag of Japan. She is worshiped at the Shinto Grand Shrine of Ise in Japan.

Wishing you all the joys and blessings of Summer!



(Originally Published at August, 2015)

Author adminPosted on June 24, 2022Categories Folktales, Legends, Myth, Nature, SeasonsTags goddesses, summer, Summer Solstice, sun goddesses

Rain Dance – Storytelling for Everyone

Native American

Native American rain dances have been around for centuries as a ceremonial ritual to help with the growth of harvests, and can be appreciated now in an exhibition or commemoration of Native American history.

The Reasoning of the Rain Dance

A rain dance is one of the most famous ceremonial dances of choreographed movement which once held the responsibility of appealing to the various Native American gods. The rain dance in particular was a way to gain favor and summon rain to come down and nourish the crops that would serve as sustenance for a specific tribe.

The Cherokees in the Southeast are one tribe famous for using the rain dance for rain induction and the cleansing of evil spirits. Since the crops were the livelihood of many Native Americans, the special dance seemed like a reasonable activity for those hoping to get the very best out of their harvest.

Cherokee legend dictates that the amount of rain received each year was filled with the spirits of the tribe’s past chiefs, and that as the raindrops fall, these good spirits battle evil in a transitional spiritual plane. For this reason, the rain dance is considered to be religious, and many of its elaborate versions could invoke acts of uncommon, extreme worship of spirits by those specific dancers.

Details of Native American Rain Dances

When the Native American Relocation took place in the United States during the 19th century, many of these traditional dances that were so special to the Indians were considered to be backward and dangerous by those of the modern world. In turn, the government banned many of the Native American dances, but the rain dance was able to continue as the tribes masked it as a different dance when government officials interrogated them. Depending on the region being persecuted, the rain dance covered up for other illegal dances such as the sun dance. It all became interchangeable – confusing to the outside world, but still impressively organized and reverent to the Native Americans themselves.

Like many aspects of tribal life, certain elements of the earth are represented in their dances. Feathers were used to represent wind, while turquoise on their costuming was used to symbolize rain. Since rain dance traditions have been continued via an oral history, the specific traditions of each tribe’s rain dance have evolved as the story has been passed down. However, the main symbols of feathers and turquoise, and the same mentality and purpose of dance has successfully continued downward.

Apparently early Native Americans found success in their rain dance, as they have been credited by scientists as being some of America’s earliest meteorologists. Those Indians who lived in the Midwest often knew how to follow and track various patterns of weather, and sometimes bartered with settlers of the new world – a rain dance in exchange for some modern items.

Learning About Rain Dances

Today, many school children learn about rain dances by experiencing one first hand. Though far from the traditional dance meaning and environment, teachers sometimes incorporate a Native American lesson into history class. This usually involves the listening of a traditional tribal song and then quizzing the children on what they have just heard. What instruments were used? What were the different sounds? What type of people made this sound? Why?



Author adminPosted on October 18, 2021Categories History, Legends, Nature, SeasonsTags Indigenous Peoples Day, Native American, rain dance

Water Tiger – Storytelling for Everyone

Lunar New Year 2022

Lunar New Year is on Tuesday, February 1st. Also known as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, Lunar New Year is celebrated at the second new moon following the Winter Solstice.

This festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of a long-awaited spring! According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. So what does the Year of the Tiger have in store for us? And will it be better than 2021 (The Year of the Ox)? Let’s find out!

What does the Tiger mean?

The Chinese Zodiac dates back to the Qin Dynasty over 2000 years ago and is rooted in a system of zoolatry (or animal worship). As the legend goes, the Jade Emperor challenged all the animals in the Kingdom to a “Great Race.” Whoever arrived at his palace first would win his favor. The Tiger was sure that he had the race in the bag, but ended up placing third after the cunning Rat and workhorse Ox snuck in ahead of him. Thus, Tigers are extremely competitive people, known for their courage and ambition.

Tigers are ambitious, but they’re also extremely generous with a drive to help others. Tigers want to win, but they’re also always seeking justice.

Was I born during the Year of the Tiger?

If you were born in 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 or 2010, you were born during the Year of the Tiger. Famous people born during Tiger years include Queen Elizabeth II, Christopher Lloyd, Stevie Wonder, Martin Short, Jon Bon Jovi, Leonardo DiCaprico, Penelope Cruz, Lady Gaga, Jon Batiste and Shawn Mendes. That’s some mega-talented company!

So what’s in store for the Year of the Tiger?

The Year of the Rat (2020) was about survival, and the Year of the Ox (2021) was about anchoring ourselves in a new reality. The Year of the Tiger will be about making big changes. This will be a year of risk-taking and adventure. We’re finding enthusiasm again, both for ourselves and for others. Everyone is fired up, generosity is at an all-time high and social progress feels possible again.

The Tiger is associated with Yang (masculine, active) energy. Tigers do things their own way and hate being told what to do. Expect things to rapidly change this year. Sudden disruptions in career, romance and home life should be expected. Some of us will thrive through taking great leaps, while others might crash and burn. So while it’s important to follow our intuition and run with our wildest dreams, that means we also have to keep our egos in check.

In addition to the animals, the Chinese Zodiac also cycles through five elemental types. So, this is not only the Year of the Tiger, it’s the year of the Water Tiger. Water years bring out our emotions more than any of the other elements. Water Tigers are family-oriented and have wonderful interpersonal relationships. Though they’re extremely driven and can be brash, their goal is always to do what’s best for everyone, not just for themselves.

Overall, this is a year for switching careers, building teams or getting back into creative projects. Life is short so why not be happy?

I’m a Tiger. Is 2022 going to be my best year ever?

Born under this sign, you might think that the Year of the Tiger is your time to shine, but sadly, it’s actually the opposite. Traditionally, a zodiac sign’s year is the most unlucky for them in Chinese astrology. That said, since 2022 is about fiercely pursuing passions for all of the signs, as a Tiger, you know how to go big or go home better than most. You may be rewarded for the bold risks you’re willing to take.

Though this isn’t the ideal year for the Tiger, this year will be great for Horses (who prioritize freedom over everything), Pigs (who are pragmatic yet pleasure-driven), and Dogs (who are fiercely loyal). Monkeys (who are driven by intellect rather than action), and Snakes (who love strategizing in secret) may have a harder time this year.



Year of the Black Water Rabbit – Storytelling for Everyone

Lunar New Year 2023

On January 22nd 2023, the Lunar New Year of the Rabbit bounds into action. All Rabbit years are believed to bring happiness and good luck, but this is no ordinary Rabbit year, for 2023 is the year of the Black Water Rabbit—a specially gifted, creative Rabbit that has not been seen since 1963.

After the chaos and tumult of the departing Year of the Tiger, Water Rabbit energy promises to restore peace and harmony and shower the world with a myriad of opportunities. But will you benefit from the Rabbit’s generosity? The Year of the Rabbit might bring hope and prosperity your way—as well as a few surprises.

This is quite different than last year’s Tiger year. Think of it this way: “Tigers can take on anything and bring courage, a strong moral code and responsiveness,” says Ingress. “Whereas this year, we can anticipate more diplomacy or more cautious approaches on the world stage and for individuals.”

The Meaning of Chinese New Year’s customs

Chinese New Year is the most widely celebrated Chinese holiday across the globe. This year, it falls on Jan. 22, 2023, and will begin the Year of the Rabbit. “Different regional cultures celebrate through distinct activities and food,” says Jenny Leung, executive director of the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. “For example, people in northern China eat dumplings on Lunar New Year’s Eve, while people in southern China prepare rice cakes, with the meaning of ‘climbing higher in the new year.’” 

As a holiday that goes back thousands of years, there are a wide variety of Chinese New Year traditions that have been passed down. Some are based on myth, some on symbolism, some on superstitions, and some on wordplay. Each individual may choose to celebrate a little differently based on preferences, beliefs, and location, but almost everyone spends time with family and eats Chinese New Year food.  

Chinese New Year is also referred to as Lunar New Year, a term that includes other cultures that celebrate the start of the new year using the same calendar system. In China, it’s also known as Spring Festival. “Lunar New Year celebrates the first days of spring on the lunar calendar,” says Leung. “Historically, celebrating Lunar New Year in China was meant to pray for good blessings on farming in the new year—hence, worshiping ancestors has always been a critical component.”

Clean to prepare for the new year

Each year is seen as a fresh, new beginning, so starting it off with a clean house is important. Giannina Ong, editor-in-chief of Mochi Magazine, the longest-running online publication for Asian American women, advises that the timing of your cleanup is crucial. “Leading up to the New Year, you should clean as much as possible to clear out the bad luck and any leftover ill feelings from the previous year,” she says.

Decorate to invite good fortune

In terms of decoration, Ong says “everything is red because a fire sign symbolizes new life and prosperity.” The origins of red’s lucky properties may stem from a legend about a beast named Nian (an approximate homophone for the Chinese word for year), who appeared on New Year’s Eve to wreak havoc. People figured out that Nian was afraid of the color red, and to this day, people hang red lanterns, couplets written on red paper and the character fu (meaning good fortune) on red paper.

That character is usually hung upside down—the word for turning something upside down, or pouring, also sounds like the word for arriving, so an upside-down fu symbol invites good luck to arrive. Flowers and kumquat fruit trees are also symbolic of prosperity, so after cleaning, you can bring some blossoms into your house for extra good luck. In addition to these Chinese New Year traditions, check out these tips from feng shui experts to keep the good vibes going all year long.

Visit family

Family is the cornerstone of Chinese life, so naturally one would aim to start each new year in the company of their loved ones. In China, the Spring Festival comes with a one-week vacation. People across the country flock to their families in what is often called “the world’s largest human migration.” Leung explains that “similar to Thanksgiving and Christmas, Chinese New Year is also a holiday for people to get together with family members, to celebrate the spring and the start of the new year.”

Eat delicious and auspicious food

One of the most popular Chinese New Year traditions is the food. Who doesn’t love an excuse to eat a festive meal? These dishes also have special symbolism attached to them. “On both birthdays and Lunar New Year, we make sure to eat long noodles,” says Ong. “You can’t break them while cooking or cut them while eating either, because the length of the noodles is a symbol of longevity. So get slurpy!”

In addition to these long-life noodles, spring rolls (shaped like gold bars) and dumplings (which resemble silver ingots, or boat-shaped blocks) are eaten for prosperity, and a number of other foods are eaten because of how their names sound. For example, , the word for fish in Mandarin, sounds like the word for surplus. Fish for Chinese New Year dinner is most often prepared steamed and whole. Don’t worry if you can’t finish it—leaving a little left over further enhances one’s surplus. In other parts of the world, these are the New Year’s Eve foods believed to bring good luck.



8 Chinese New Year Traditions, Explained