This weekend, billions of people around the world will come together to celebrate the New Lunar Year.
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.
Detail on a pair of Bronze and multi-metal vases depicting Moon-gazing Hares
Steeped in symbolism, the Rabbit is seen by many as a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity. The Chinese Zodiac calendar assigns one of the five elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth to each year. The complete cycle takes 60 years to complete before starting over. Like 2022, 2023 is a Water Year so we are entering the Year of the Water Rabbit.
The water rabbit has further positive symbolism as it is believed to be amicable, gentle and well equipped to handle changing situations. As such, there is much optimism that 2023 will be a year of hope and good fortune. Furthermore, those born in the Year of the Water Rabbit are believed to be quick-witted, compassionate and very intelligent. Some (presumably jealous) people believe that their kindness can be a weakness and that those born in the year of the Rabbit can be vain and over-cautious.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated across South-East Asia although Japan doesn’t officially recognise the Lunar New Year. Saying that, the animals of the Zodiac feature heavily in Japanese legend and mythology. The rabbit is believed to be a Kami (Messenger of the Gods) and it represents fortune, intelligence and progression. The Samurai famously used the Rabbit as a representation of speed into battle.
Around the world, the rabbit is generally thought of as a lucky animal which is appropriate for Chinese New Year as there are many customs believed to bring good luck… as well as a few unusual ones that are to be avoided to prevent any misfortune.
Here are some of our favourite customs:
- Before the New Year, it is important to thoroughly clean the whole house. Red lanterns and decorations are then put up as Red is believed to be a lucky colour in most countries that celebrate the Lunar Year.
- Families will often celebrate with a big meal! Noodles, spring rolls and dumplings are favourites.
- As in the West, it is thought that offering Good Wishes to family and friends as the clock hits midnight will bring good luck.
- Fireworks are set off at midnight. It is believed that these loud explosions will scare away monsters and evil spirits that emerge at the New Year to eat children and crops. It is also thought the traditional Lion Dances performed at this time of year are to scare off these evil forces.
- On New Years Day, families congregate and exchange gifts. Red envelopes containing money are given to children and this is thought to expel bad luck and bring good fortune.
There are also a few unusual New Years’ Day customs that are followed to avoid bad luck. You shouldn’t shower for fear of washing away any good fortune. It is also forbidden to swear, argue or use any negative words.
It is believed that using scissors or knives on New Years’ Day will sever your stream of success and if you take any medicine on the New Years’ Day you run the risk of being sick for the whole year. Bad News if you start the year with a hangover!
You can read our previous Blog post about the Year of the Tiger by clicking here.
We’d like to wish all our friends and followers around the Globe a very Happy New Lunar Year!