The Year Of The Rabbit is incoming when Chinese New Year starts this weekend, and below is all you need to know about this major celebration.
When Is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is the first day of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, this year it comes particularly early against the Western calendar on Sunday 22nd January. The celebrations last for a fortnight and close with the Lantern Festival, officially Sunday 5th February, on the 15th Lunar day of the new year. This two week period is also referred to as the Spring Festival.
Every Chinese year is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals, which according to tradition determines your personality and characteristics. 2023 is the Year Of The Rabbit, symbolising mercy, elegance, and beauty.
People who are born in the year of the rabbit are deemed to be calm and peaceful. They avoid fighting and arguing at all times, but are artistic and have good taste in life. The rabbit is also known to be the luckiest of the twelve zodiac animals.
You can find your own animal by the lunar year you were born below. However, those born in the calendar months January to March will need closer inspection, as they may fall in the previous lunar year.
Rat – 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Ox – 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Tiger – 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Rabbit – 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Dragon – 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Snake – 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Horse – 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Sheep – 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Monkey – 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Rooster – 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Dog – 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Pig – 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
During the days that precede Chinese New Year, we witness the greatest migration of people on earth as the Chinese public often go to extraordinary lengths to be with their families.
This year’s travellers should be boosted by the Chinese government’s recent move away from a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to Covid, which has hampered previous year’s travel.
Many Chinese thoroughly clean their houses in the build up to Chinese New Year and often decorate them with red lanterns. Tradition suggests that this cleaning wards off bad spirits and bad luck.
Brightly coloured dragon dances line the streets in parades with loud drums to bring good fortune to the local area. Like cleaning the house, the loud drums are believed to drive the bad luck and spirits away.
Children often receive red envelopes during the celebrations, with money inside of them. This can be any amount as long as it does not include the number 4, or be divisible by 4. This is because the number four in Chinese sounds similar to death.
At midnight on the turn of the new year fireworks are released, as they are in the West, but there is more significance in China. Legend suggests that the fireworks scare off a beast called Nian, who would otherwise come down from the mountains to destroy fields, crops and animals, the myth is that Nian does not like loud noises or fire.
The public holiday lasts for 7 days into the Chinese New Year, but many organisations, businesses, shops and factories remain closed for the entire Spring Festival fortnight.