January 22, 2023: Today, around the world, we celebrate the Lunar New Year.
The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, originated in China and is observed by numerous nearby cultures. Lunar New Year festivals are also celebrated in the Hindu and Buddhist calendars of South and Southeast Asia. The date of the lunar new year depends on the phase of the moon and varies from year to year.
Americans are usually most familiar with Lunar New Year in China, where you will see dragon parades, boat races and fireworks. At the end of the New Year season, the Lantern Festival includes paper lanterns and treats like tangyuan, a dessert of gooey rice balls.
Across Asia, red and gold symbolize good fortune. Many people wear red during Lunar New Year, and children often receive red envelopes stuffed with money. Families will hold feasts, thoroughly clean their homes and visit shrines to honor deceased relatives.
Each year in the lunar calendar is associated with one of 12 Chinese zodiac animals derived from ancient Chinese folklore. Repeating on a rotating basis, these animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.
About the rabbit: In Chinese culture, the rabbit is known to be the luckiest out of all the twelve animals. It symbolizes mercy, elegance, and beauty. People born in the years of the Rabbit tend to have some characteristics of real rabbits: quiet at most times but also act swiftly when needed. Generally, the rabbits are cheerful and gentle individuals.
Though looking mild and soft, the Rabbits in fact are alert to strangers and outsiders. They don’t trust others easily, unlikely to be fooled by others. However, they do have courteous manners in social settings.
In the past 100 years 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 and 2011 were all rabbit years.
Happy Lunar New Year!