By Elaine Dunn | January 2023
As of January 22, the lunar new year will be the Year of the Water Rabbit. The year of the what??! Never heard of it? You’re not alone.
We’re all familiar with the 12 animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig) of the Chinee zodiac that is associated with each lunar year. But apparently, each of these animals is also paired with the five elements (earth, fire, metal, water and wood) in rotation, creating a 60-year rotation.
Rabbits have a unique spot in Chinese folklore. There’s the Jade Rabbit: supposedly the Jade Emperor disguises himself as a beggar to search for an animal to help him find the elixir of life. He came across a rabbit that jumped into the fire to provide food for the “beggar.” Impressed by the altruistic act, the emperor took the rabbit to the moon where they make the elixir of life to this day.
What did the past three regular Rabbit years bring? 1975 saw the Vietnam War come to an end. 1987 was the year President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev agreed it was time to bring down the Berlin Wall and reunite Germany, which happened three years later. The most recent Rabbit year, 2011, saw the release of “The Help,” an exposé of the lives of African American maids in the 1960s.
The last time there was a Water Rabbit year was 1963 – the year President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. What will this Water Rabbit year bring?
Some Chinese astrologers say 2023 will bring harmony, prosperity, luck and peace. Rabbit years bring lucky breaks, the water element of 2023 may bring major shifts in politics – “wake ups” for those at the top! For the rest of us, it will be a year of changes AND possibilities.
For those born in the Rabbit year, the astrologers predict “a calm, measured life …” and cautioned to stay in your comfort zone and to avoid drastic, sudden changes. Australian scientist-turned-psychic Sarah Yip advised: Think back to your dreams from 2011 and bring them to life in 2023. Further, “2023 is the time to become a highly paid specialist, so hit the books and grow.” “Rabbit people” also should avoid risky investments and save up to meet unexpected needs. Anything else? Yes, when it rains, it pours! More bad news for the Rabbit folks. Per China Travel’s website, if you were born in a Rabbit year, you may “suffer from nervous system disease this year … The best way to solve this problem is to stay positive and keep a balanced diet.” “Your” year will consist of twists and turns, bringing surprises and bewilderment!
From the feng shui-ers, 2023 represent continued instability and disorder. They say the Rabbit, while more agreeable and less fierce than a tiger, is as cunning as a fox. Those born in Rabbit years have the powerful backing of the tai sui (太歲, gods who directly oppose Jupiter). But it’s also a good, lucky year for all the other zodiac signs. According to the 2023 Year of the Rabbit Feng Shui Report, the year comes with “a gentleness that only a bunny can bring … this is the perfect time to remove everything you don’t absolutely love in your home and fill it with absolutely everything you do.”
After the challenges presented by the past few years, we can all do with what the Water Rabbit year promises: hope and prosperity -- a respite from the cold austere energies (to quote the Feng Shui Report).
Chinese New Year: name and decorations, January 2022
Chinese New Year do’s and don’ts, February 2021
Auspicious snacks of Chinese New Year, January 2018