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Before I learned anything about the modern astrology of zodiac signs and planets, I grew up with the lunar calendar in my Chinese-American household. The most influential time in the lunar calendar was always Chinese New Year, now culturally known as Lunar New Year. And because we’re about to begin the Year of the Rabbit 2023, it’s time to talk about what that means for you as an individual and us as a collective.
What excited me most as a child with no income were the red envelopes (hong bao), always filled to the brim with coins and single bills that I received from parents and aunties. This gesture always symbolizes prosperity and universal kismet for the upcoming year. The heaps of steaming dishes that would appear in front of my greedy little childhood eyes didn’t hurt either. I would giggle as I poached bites of bouncy and oily long wheat noodles (for longevity!) or snuck a freshly packed dumpling into my mouth before anyone caught onto me as the perpetrator of food thievery.
This celebration is based on the 28-day lunar cycle, because the moon’s calendar spans twelve to thirteen months and usually falls twenty to fifty days behind the Gregorian solar calendar we use now. A lunar month begins during the new moon phase, when the moon moves in line with the Earth and Sun, while a full moon happens in the middle of lunar month. This lunar calendar was used to let people know which dates are filled with good fortune (and which were not), making it easier to decide when to farm, work or even get married!
Here’s everything you need to know about Lunar New Year 2023:
What Is Lunar New Year?
The Chinese zodiac has twelve zodiac signs as well, just like the modern astrology we are used to. However, each sign is associated with one of twelve animals and an element (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) that spans a whole year, as opposed to just a month. Legend has it that the full zodiac kicks off with the Year of the Rat and ends twelve years later with the Year of the Pig. Depending on which Chinese zodiac year you were born into, you’re rumored to have attributes of that animal. 2022 was the Year of the Water Tiger—a year of passion, emotion, courage, strength, relationships, flow and flexibility. As Lunar New Year kicks off on Sunday, January 22, 2023, the energy shifts to the Year of the Water Rabbit. The whole celebration spans fifteen days until February 5, where the send-off Lantern Festival honors our ancestors while bringing peace and enlightenment on the first full moon of the lunar year.
What Does the Year of the Rabbit 2023 Have in Store?
Don’t be fooled; these cute, fluffy creatures are more than just docile and adorable companions. Rabbits are known to be incredibly witty, outgoing, well-spoken, creative, empathetic, thoughtful and meditative; the water element of 2023 means this year will bring even more introspection, peace and hope. Transience and malleability will be the name of the game. 2023 is a great year to be firm with your budgets, finances and plans, while maintaining an open mind to grand opportunities and changes. It’s a season to hone into your imagination, intuition and instincts. With artistic inspiration as a focal point, the rabbit encourages you to fill your heart and soul with hobbies and crafts. Poetry, painting, making music—any activity that instills inner harmony will reign supreme. Meanwhile, water signifies ease and mobility. Use your consciousness for developing multiple backup plans in case of surprises and switch ups, and make sure to assess and read the situation before making a move. However, it’s likely possible exciting travel or moving aspirations are cementing to reality! It’s time to get started on solidifying your next grandiose adventure.
As we navigate our changeover from the fierce, straightforward and interpersonal-focused Water Tiger of 2022, the Water Rabbit of 2023 calls onto us to bestow upon ourselves what we are looking for. Concentrate on tuning into your gut and emotions—the universe is ushering us officially into our self-care eras. Everything we are working on and desire is in us, as long as we approach it with kindness, sensibility, cunningness and ambition.