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  • Debra Palmen

The Year of the Tiger - what does that mean?

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Happy Year of the Tiger! Well, almost.

In celebration of the coming Lunar New Year, I have prepared a gift for Newsletter subscribers.

Spoiler alert: it looks a lot like a certain sign of the Chinese zodiac.

The Chinese zodiac has 12 creatures, and 1 February 2022 will start the Year of the Tiger. Working backwards a little way, if you were born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974 or 1962, then according to Chinese astrology your personality is governed by the powerful tiger.

The tiger was respected in ancient China as the mightiest of all the beasts on earth. It was seen as the natural partner of the dragon, which reigned over the heavens. Both were powerful and strong, and so became the classic symbols for yin (tiger) and yang (dragon).

But it’s a little more complex than 12 zodiac creatures broadly representing each of us. Within every creature are the different elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. 2022 is not just the Year of the Tiger, it's specifically the Year of the Water Tiger. I’m a water tiger, but you can jolly well guess what year I was born in.

So what can we look forward to in 2022? Whatever Chinese zodiac sign you are, it’s all good news. Chinese astrologers predict that we can all expect good fortune in our relationships, and if we’re determined and work hard we will succeed in our careers. If you don't have or want a career, I suppose that means you can scrap the 'work hard' bit. Yay!

Specifically for Tigers of any element (not just Water), the colours green and blue will bring further good fortune, but we should steer clear of white. Our lucky numbers will be 1, 3 and 7, but 4 and 9 will not work for us.

Here’s what I’ve learned about the personality traits of different elemental Tigers, some good, some dodgy:

Wood Tiger (1914, 1974)

These tigers seem to have easy-going characters and impress as smart and sensible, so they socialise well. But secretly they’re often proud and arrogant and aren’t nearly as easy-going as they appear. They make fast and sometimes rash decisions. But their sense of justice drives them to instinctively sympathize with the weak, and they readily help those in need.

Fire Tiger (1926, 1986)

These tigers might seem aggressive and serious, but they’re big softies - tender, gentle and considerate. Their sense of honour is important to them, and they’re faithful and steadfast friends. They strive to be strongly independent but can falter and need help as they have little willpower. The overriding importance they place on money and power means they are susceptible to flattery and being cheated.

Earth Tiger (1938, 1998)

These tigers are ambitious and unrestrained. But they also have tender and kind hearts, and are willing and selfless when helping people in need. They have long memories and know how to hold a grudge. They’ll definitely remember who they believe helped or hindered their endeavours. If you’ve helped them, they’re generous in return. If you’ve hindered them, no excuse will suffice. They have great self-confidence and aren’t afraid to tackle greater and greater life challenges, both physical and financial.

Metal Tiger (1950, 2010)

These tigers are frank and forthright. They have strong willpower and endurance, and a positive and passionate attitude to life. They’re supremely self-confident and have an unalterable faith in themselves, whether or not it’s always warranted. Female metal tigers tend to be highly enthusiastic about almost everything, which can be exhausting. Male metal tigers can be hesitant and stubborn, which can be infuriating.

Water Tiger (1962, 2022)

These tigers are unlike the other elemental tigers as they often appear sedate and calm, even in highly stressful situations. They have wide-ranging curiosity and are fast learners. They can do well in social situations because they’re usually gentle and mild. Usually. Although they try to mask it, they have strong egos and are reluctant to take advice.

Do you know a classic Tiger personality? Or do you just like these fascinating and beautiful animals? In any event, if you would like a free vintage tiger graphic - in fact, the one I've highlighted here - just pop over to my website You can use this image in craft projects, as a screen saver, just print it for your wall, or whatever else you can imagine.

It’s a beautiful vintage image, a close-up fragment from an old Australian travel advertisement. I'm offering it with my compliments to my website’s subscribers, to celebrate the Lunar New Year. But it will be available for free for a limited time only.

To get your free download, go to the bottom of the website’s home page and just click on the tiger image. Easy peasy.

If you know someone who might be interested in subscribing to the Newsletter, by all means invite them to join us. When they sign up, they'll be the first to hear about antiques news, information and entertainment, can follow along on our buying trips (one day!), see new book releases, and be offered great freebies.

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