How to celebrate the Chinese New Year in 2023 - the year of the Water Rabbit
- Chinese New Year takes place in late January to early February every year and runs for two weeks
- Preparations and time spent with family, eating meals together and honouring ancestors all play a big part in the celebrations
- Each year brings a new energy in line with the Chinese zodiac. 2023 brings in the witty, adaptable, easy-going and friendly energy of the Water Rabbit
As you’re getting into the swing of the New Year you may be wondering if there’s anything exciting coming up on your calendar. Don’t forget about the Chinese New Year which falls in late January or early February every year. Everyone is welcome to join in and visit their local Chinatown. If you can’t make it on the day, don’t worry - the celebrations stretch on for two weeks! So, why not check out how your local community is celebrating Chinese New Year and welcome in the Year of the Water Rabit in 2023?
What is Chinese New Year and how is it celebrated?
Like so much of Chinese culture, Chinese New Year has roots that go back over 3,000 years. Although Chinese New Year's Eve falls on January 22nd in 2023, celebrations continue right up until the 5th of February, ending with the visual feast that is the Lantern Festival. It’s not just about the fireworks and colourful decorations. This is a time that’s traditionally set aside in the Chinese calendar to celebrate and carve out time with friends and family near and far – enjoying good food together is also a big part of this! The celebrations start with cleaning the house and shopping for Chinese New Year supplies up to seven days before Chinese New Year’s Eve. Then, on Chinese New Year’s Eve, families put up spring couplets (poetry written vertically in either black or gold on red paper), enjoy a meal together, give red envelopes or ‘lucky money’ to children and stay up late. On Chinese New Year’s Day, fireworks and firecrackers are an important part of the celebrations, along with offerings to the ancestors.
Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate ancestors
Honouring the ancestors is an essential part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Family members that have passed over are considered to still be present with their living family in spirit. They watch over their loved ones and hear their prayers and communication. So, when Chinese New Year comes around, acknowledgement of the ancestors and gratitude for influencing your family’s good fortune is a significant part of the tradition.
Paying tribute to ancestors takes place in the form of a dinner that includes the favourite dishes of the ancestors and other dishes of significance. As this time is both private and sacred, these tributes take place in the family home. A joss stick – a type of incense – serves as a way of greeting and communing with the spirits of the ancestors before the offerings of food are put forward.
After the excitement of Chinese New Year’s Day, celebrations continue for another seven days, mostly by way of visiting friends and family. The 15th day marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Families visit the Lantern Festival to watch the beautiful floating lights and fireworks displays and eat dumplings, of course.
What is 2023 in the Chinese zodiac?
Starting from February 1st, 2023, we will be in the year of the Water Rabbit. In Chinese culture, the rabbit is a symbol of quick-wittedness, adaptability, self-protection, and - for obvious reasons - fertility.
The rabbit also symbolises the moon in Chinese culture due to the ancient Chinese belief that a rabbit lived on the moon. Both the Water Rabbit and the moon are considered to be ‘yin’ energies, meaning that they are more feminine, contemplative and peaceful. Want to know if you’re more yin or yang? Take our quiz and find out here.
Similar to western astrology with the 12 star signs that cycle through the 12 months of the year, in Chinese astrology there are 12 signs that cycle through 12 years. The Rabbit is the fourth sign in the Chinese zodiac - the last time we were in a Rabbit year was in 2011, before that 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, and 1939. So, if anyone you know was born in one of those years, be sure to wish them a happy Rabbit New Year.
If you were born in one of these years or have a child or partner who is a Water Rabbit, find out if the Water Rabbit personality resonates. Keep reading to learn more about the Rabbit personality traits and the energy of 2023.
The energy of 2023 according to the Chinese zodiac
In the Chinese zodiac, each year is also attached to one of the five elements - either earth, fire, water, wood or metal. Following on from the Year of the Water Tiger, a yang energy, we are now in the yin energy of the Water Rabbit. Yin is the energy of rest, introversion, contemplation, receptivity and passivity. While yang is the doing, yin is the being - but rather than being opposing forces, they are necessary and complementary of each other.
So how does this energy apply to your 2023? It certainly doesn’t mean there won’t be change and action - think of how a rabbit conserves its energy but can move quickly and deftly when the situation calls for it. While the more yang energy of the Tiger 2022 caused more extroversion, the Rabbit energy of 2023 will ask that you spend more time and focus within your own home and community. Get involved in home renovation projects, your kids’ school activities, or volunteer for a cause close to home (literally and figuratively).
Take the lessons about being assertive and taking action that 2022 taught you into 2023 to balance out the energies. Remember that being too yin can cause a yang deficiency, which can cause you to overthink, overeat, oversleep and feel generally more sluggish. Not sure if you are more yin or yang or how to balance these energies? You can find out here.
Remember that how you move, what you eat and your lifestyle all impact the yin and yang energies in your life, and that a balance of both is important for optimal health and happiness. You can discover more about the importance of yin and yang in traditional Chinese medicine and culture here.
The lucky colours for the Water Rabbit in 2023 include red, pink, purple and blue - try to include more of these colours in your house or wardrobe as much as possible. Wearing the colour red as well as keeping jade stone nearby are thought to repel negative energies for Water Rabbits -along with everyone else during the year of the Water Rabbit.
Health in the year of the Water Rabbit
The potential health issues that those born in the year of the Rabbit may face will be something for everyone to keep in mind in 2023. That being said, Rabbit signs are pretty lucky when it comes to their physical wellbeing, having no major health issues. Small niggles or injuries are the most likely issue - so don’t let anything bothering you fall by the wayside, have it checked out and, where necessary, look to complementary treatments like acupuncture, osteopathy, and massage.
Rabbit signs tend to eat on the run and may not take their nutrition that seriously. Remember to practice mindfulness at mealtimes and include healthy fats, proteins and complex carbohydrates with each meal, plus a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.
While Rabbit sign people are pretty lucky when it comes to the physical side of health, mental health may be another story. There is more of a tendency towards anxiety and bottling up emotions, which may lead to depression. Practising regular mindfulness meditation and eating well for your mood can go a long way - but remember to reach out to your GP, therapist or trusted friend if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
The Rabbit personality
Each of the five elements alters the characteristics of the zodiac sign they are attached to. The Rabbit sign is well-liked as they are soft-spoken and tend to avoid conflict. This doesn’t mean they’re pushovers, however, as they have their limits and once crossed they will either speak up or check out.
The strength of the Rabbit sign lies in their many likeable qualities - they are patient, kind, gentle, quiet, intelligent, thoughtful, tactful, quick-witted, modest, and tend to have a calming presence. Given the right environment, they can use their natural powerful intuition to their advantage and have the capacity to be remarkably ambitious. As friends, they are loyal, giving, light-hearted and easy to be around. Rabbit sign people are innovative, creative, sensitive and artistic - leading them to make great connections with other people through artistic pursuits.
The weaknesses of the Rabbit personality are their difficulty expressing their true thoughts and emotions for fear of upsetting others. They can sometimes seem lacking in complexity because they try to be agreeable and please everyone around them. As the saying goes “when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one” - this is a tough lesson for the Rabbit to learn. Being soft-spoken and peace-loving can also lead them to not speak up for what they want or need and to miss out on opportunities.
What does the water element mean in the Chinese zodiac?
People born during the Water Rabbit years are more yin in nature - sensitive, tending towards introversion and needing alone time to process and reflect on the events of the day.
The element of water in all Chinese zodiac signs is empathetic, passive, and calm, but like the water, they can also be strong-willed, inspiring and ambitiously carve out their own path with patience - just as water does with rock.
Wishing you a happy Chinese New Year
Fusion is built on the principles of ancient Chinese wisdom to achieve harmony in mind, body and spirit. Celebrating the Chinese New Year is one of our favourite ways to honour the ancient wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine that we all can benefit so much from.
From the Fusion family to yours, Happy Chinese New Year – we hope it’s filled with rewards, abundance and delicious food!
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- China Daily. Chinese Culture about Rabbit. Accessed December 2022 from https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-01/27/content_11927584.htm
- Pure Wow. (2021).. Chinese Zodiac Elements: How to Know What Yours Is and What It Means. Accessed December 2022 from https://www.purewow.com/wellness/chinese-zodiac-elements