By: Gisselle Venable
Jan. 22 marked the year of the rabbit in the lunar calendar. The Lunar New Year – also referred to as the Chinese New Year – is celebrated worldwide, primarily in a number of East Asian countries where it is an observed holiday. Even now, celebrations are growing around the world with each passing year. This year, we celebrate the rabbit – it has waited 12 long years for its time to shine, with the last year of the rabbit all the way back in 2011!
The Chinese zodiac is made up of 12 animals and five elements attached to each year. The 12 animals are, in order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster and dog. Every year, usually between the dates Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 (in accordance with the lunar calendar), another animal takes the stage and has the privilege of representing the new year.
Alongside a year, an animal is also connected with one of five elements: metal, water, wood, fire, or earth. This year, Jan. 22, 2023 through Feb. 9, 2024 belongs to the water rabbit. As there are 12 animals and five elements that rotate as the years pass, it will be quite a while until we have another water rabbit year! For reference, the last year belonging to the water rabbit was in 1963, and the next will be in 2083 – there is a 60-year cycle with the zodiac.
Although the animals in the zodiac were originally used to measure passing time, personalities have been attached to each animal, some believing that the individual personalities correspond with those born in the animal’s year. The development of these personalities arose through stories and folklore, with each animal given a different personality and role to play.
The rabbit is known to be gentle, quick-witted and responsible, but can also be timid and vain. Rabbits are generally conflict-avoidant, which can serve as both a positive and a negative. These traits are all emulative of the real animal.
The year is predicted to be one of hope, peace and prosperity, all symbols of the noble zodiac rabbit.