Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rabbit


A look at the global celebration: Members of the Edinburgh, Scotland Chinese community kick-off the city’s Chinese New Year Festival on Jan. 8, 2020. Jeff Mitchell//Getty Images

Wren Wilson

On Sunday, January 22, 2023, and the 16 days after that, 1.5 billion people in South Korea, Vietnam, and China, will be celebrating Chinese New Year. But that number doesn’t include the people that don’t live in China and celebrate elsewhere. London, San Francisco, and Sydney are said to have one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations in the world outside of Asia. In the original fable, Jade Emperor held a race to see which animals would be in the cycle every 12 years. Every year is assigned a zodiac and is repeated every 12 years. If you were born in 2008 your zodiac is the rat, 2007 is the pig, 2006 is the dog, 2005 is the rooster, and 2004 is the monkey. Based on the year you were born, you can read your zodiac. This year is the year of the Rabbit, marking the transition between the zodiacs. In the fable, Rabbit was first in the race, so he decided to go take a nap to wait for the other animals. When he woke up and went back, he was too late. 3 other animals were already there. Making him the fourth zodiac in the zodiac circle.

Lucky things for this year include the colors such as red, pink, purple, blue, the numbers three, four, and nine. You are destined to find love from the east and to find wealth northeast and southwest. But in 2023 stay away from the colors brown, gray and white and the numbers five and eleven, said to bring unfavorable fortunes.

People that were born in the year of the rabbit, tend to be more goal-oriented even if others put them down for pursuing it. A plain and simple life is not for them, craving exploration and living life to the fullest in every aspect. They are followers of the truth and seek knowledge everywhere their life takes them. Some people might perceive them as soft and weak but truly a strong and confident person is under their shell. Earnest in everything, rabbits expect the same thing from the people that they spend time with. In Chinese culture, Rabbits represent the moon and the white part (known as yin) of yin and yang.

When people sit down to celebrate the holiday, family is the most important element. In another fable told around Chinese New Year, a monster, named Nian, (which means new in Chinese) would come and hurt the people in ancient Chinese villages. The people in the village would hide in their homes with their family and prepare a feast. Then they would offer the feast that they cooked to the gods and their ancestors and hope for the best for their family and the village. This is what started the celebration and the feast of Chinese New Year. There are so many versions of this story, if you were to travel to China and other places that celebrate, you might get a different story in each town that you go to.

Some more modern traditions for the Spring Festival (another name for Chinese New Year) are hiring a fake significant other to take home. When it comes to nosy relatives, the Spring Festival is a hot spot. So some singles will hire a fake partner to take home to show the family that they’re doing well and in a happy relationship. Children also receive money in lucky red envelopes. Not only children get the envelopes, friends, and coworkers can get this lucky red money. Digital red pockets are growing in popularity too with more access to technology. People can send one to friends or a group chat and multiple people can fight and win the money sent. The money given or sent to meant to grow your wealth in the coming new year.

To everyone at Ryle, Xin Nian kuai le!, (Happy New Year!) and Gong Hei fat Choy! (congratulations on the wealth)