Lunar New Year: What To Expect In The Year Of The Rabbit
8 minutes read
As the twinkle goes out of our high streets and homes, we can get into the festive spirit again. Chinese New Year falls on January 22, and 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. The 2023 lunar new year animal, the Rabbit,is said to be a symbol of good luck in Chinese culture and is known to be the luckiest out of all the twelve zodiac sign animals.
Lunar New Year is the most important occasion in the Chinese calendar and is celebrated in many East and Southeast Asian countries. While it’s yet to be discovered precisely when the festival originated, it has been marked in China as early as the Shang Dynasty in the 14th century BC.
So 新年快樂, Xīnnián kuàilè (in Pinyin) and ㄒㄧㄣ ㄋㄧㄢˊ ㄎㄨㄞˋ ㄌㄜˋ (in Zhuyin), directly translates to New Year Happy! Another common greeting at this time of year is gong xi fa cai (in Mandarin Chinese) or gong hei fat choy (in Cantonese Chinese), which means ‘I wish you prosperity,’ wishing riches and affluence to all you say it to.
What is The Lunar New Year?
With festivities lasting up to 16 days, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is the grandest festival in China, with preparations beginning about a week before the big day.
On the 26th day of the 12th lunar month – in 2023, this falls on January 22 – cakes are baked, and tucking into them is believed to bring prosperity for the upcoming year. Homes are cleaned and spruced, aiming to strip your house of any bad luck that has accumulated over the last year and might still be lurking.
Family is at the festival’s heart, and a sumptuous feast is held on Lunar New Year’s Eve, bringing family together from far and wide. The menu is bursting with dishes associated with luck or even resembling riches themselves. Chinese-style dumplings look much like gold pieces or ingots used as money in the past, a sign that affluence is on the horizon for the new year. After the meal, some family members will stay up late, or even through the night, putting to bed the past year’s events and welcoming in the new – this is called shousui.
It’s a time to be reunited with family members, and as the new year kicks off, people visit their loved ones – with one notable exception, the third day of the month, when it’s believed that tension is more likely to arise. There are many traditions and superstitions associated with this time of year. For example, people are discouraged from washing or cutting their hair on the first day of the Lunar New Year. This is because the Chinese character for hair is the first character in the word for prosper – and of course, it would be foolish to wash or cut away any upcoming prosperity.
Red clothing is worn in abundance, and houses are adorned with rich red decorations as the colour is associated with good luck, success, and happiness. Red envelopes (called hóngbāo in Mandarin and lai see in Cantonese) are filled with money and given to children. After midnight, fireworks and firecrackers are set off and the sky is filled with glorious and colourful displays while the loud bangs scare away evil spirits.
Is the Lunar New Year the same as the Chinese New Year?
Lunar New Year is often referred to as Chinese New Year, especially in the West, but the festival is celebrated in many countries, and its name refers to the lunar cycle based on the lunar calendar. Unlike the Gregorian calendar used in the western world, the lunar calendar is based on astronomical observations and, most importantly, the moon’s phases.
Many countries in the East have adopted the Gregorian calendar, but many traditional festivals and holidays, such as New Year, remain based on the lunar calendar.
Celebrations differ worldwide and include Seollal in Korea, where sliced rice cake soup is made, Tết in Vietnam, where flowers play a vital role in the proceedings; and the Philippines, Filipinos eat Tikoy, sweet sticky rice cake. Eating Tikoy signifies that you will have a better year ahead. Lunar New Year is also often referred to as Spring Festival.
When is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year celebrations begin when the second new moon after Winter Solstice rises, which falls between late January and mid-February every year.
In 2023, Lunar New Year is January 22, 2023, with celebrations set to last for two weeks and end with the Yuan Xiao Festival or Lantern Festival (February 5, 2023), where thousands of paper lanterns fly through the sky.
The Rabbit Lunar New Year starts on January 22, 2023 (Chinese New Year) and ends on February 9, 2024 (Chinese New Year’s Eve).
How can you participate in the Lunar New Year?
Many events take place across the UK to celebrate Lunar New Year, including parties, cooking classes, exhibitions and more. In addition, you can welcome the Lunar New Year into your home by decorating with red lanterns and paper decorations.
Why not host a reunion dinner and bring your family together to share lucky dishes of fish, dumplings, spring rolls and oranges? And be sure to share gifts with your loved ones. Take time for you and your family’s wellbeing and celebrate the majestic nature of the Rabbit with gifts.
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The Lantern Festival falls on February 5 this year, and events have taken place up and down the country to mark the occasion.
Try delicious rice balls (Tangyuan), the festival’s traditional food, and try to solve the riddles you will often find written on the lanterns themselves. Finally, and importantly, let go of the events of the previous 12 months and enter a peaceful reconciliation for the new year.
What does it mean to be the year of the Rabbit?
Every Lunar New Year signals a time for new beginnings, and each year in the lunar cycle is associated with an animal: the 2023 lunar new year animal is the Rabbit.
The Rabbit, specifically the Water Rabbit, is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity in Chinese culture, meaning 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope for everyone.
Legend has it that all animals in the Kingdom were challenged to a race by the Jade Emperor – with the winner sure to win much-coveted favour in his eyes.
The year you were born links you to one of the 12 animals who took part in the famous race, and you are said to inherit the characteristics and traits of your animal. Features shared include an ambitious nature, courage, abundant enthusiasm, and a passion for adventure.
The Rabbit is the fourth animal in the Chinese zodiac. According to Chinese astrology, people born in the year of the Rabbit are gentle, quiet, elegant, alert, quick, skillful, kind, patient, and very responsible. However, they are sometimes reluctant to reveal their minds to others but are always faithful to those around them. So, in 2023, the Rabbit’s Year, unravel 2023 with a calm attitude and extra boldness to chase your golden dreams!
Beauty Daily Lunar New Year edit:
Rabbit-inspired buys for you to give or receive this LNY.
This ultra-posh and plush rabbit velvet vanity pouch is the perfect Lunar New Year’s gift for yourself or your girlfriends. This Embroidered Hare at Midnight design is sure to add an air of mystique to any vanity table, perfect to celebrate the year of the Rabbit with a bang! In addition, this vanity kit is super roomy – there’s plenty of space for all your cosmetic essentials, and it comes with complimentary gift packaging.
In China, red symbolises vitality, celebration, good fortune, good luck and prosperity, and there’s no better time to put on some red pout than the Lunar New Year itself. The Joli Rouge Shine Lipstick in Jolie Rouge, compliments any skin tone. Don’t be fooled by its high shine though, as this luxuriously hydrating lipstick stays firmly put for hours.
We don’t blame you if you want to celebrate the Lunar New Year in a cosy, comfy sweater. After all, we’re still in sweater weather, but let’s do it in style.
Tory Burch recently launched a 2023 Year of the Rabbit limited capsule in celebration of the Lunar New Year.
From the collection, this cosy boyfriend sweater caught our eyes. It features pixelated rabbit characters stitched in a luxe Italian cashmere, with sporty dropped shoulders and contrasting ribbed trim. Wear it layered over dresses or paired back with long skirts and jeans.
Eau Dynamisante, £39
To boost energy and uplift slumping spirits for the 16-day Lunar New Year festivities, you or your lucky recipient will need a spritz of the universally loved Eau Dynamisante, £39. This ginger and lemon-infused fragrance make a perfect introduction for anyone who loves to explore the world of aromatherapy and essential oils. A great discovery for 2023!
If you or your recipient are into commemorating a particular occasion with accessories or jewellery, then check Kate Spade’s Limited Edition Year of the Rabbit Linear Earrings.
An excellent gift for people who love to chat down notes and ideas or looking for new pages to fill in the next 365 days, this luxe Mont Blanc Rabbit Lunar New Year Red Notebook makes an exceptional gift for him or her.
Read next: Gifts To Cheer Someone Up