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Out of This New Year’s Celebration Hat Comes . . . a Rabbit

This January is special because it is is blessed with the start of both new solar and lunar years. The former starts . . . well, you know when, and the latter occurs on the 22nd, making the entire month worth celebrating.

With the arrival of this new lunar year, we welcome a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature from the Chinese zodiac, commonly known as the rabbit, or, more specifically in 2023, the Water Rabbit, since the rotation of the zodiac’s 12 animals is combined with the cycle of the five fundamental elements of our world: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.

This furry, adorable creature hops into our lives with its exciting New Year proclamations and predictions to please our ears and give us hope. Chosen as part of the Chinese fairy god’s kingdom and known as an ancient being of wisdom, it will also caution us about the potential obstacles ahead (for those who want to hear), and provide possible remedies to overcome them.

In the Western world, rabbits are more associated with childhood love and fun. Boys and girls cuddle with their stuffed bunnies as they listen to the exciting adventures of Peter Rabbit. Children wake up early one morning each spring in hopes of finding hidden goodies left by the Easter Bunny. And, perhaps the most magical moment of seeing a real one, face-to-face, is the time it is pulled out of a tall black hat during a magic show. The surprised look on that rabbit is met with equally stunned expressions from the young audience.

In China, the Rabbit represents tenderness and wit, elegance and beauty. Those born in a Rabbit year are said to be quick on their feet and gentle in character. They are good-tempered, nonconfrontational, and trustworthy – all wonderful traits to have in friends and family.

Similar to the West’s view of a rabbit’s foot as a symbol of luck, the Chinese zodiac’s Rabbit is also a sign of good fortune. Add to that the fact that water is a symbol of wealth in China, and a Water Rabbit promises us an extraordinarily lucky and prosperous year.

We cannot wait to welcome this year’s good fortune. We are eager to adorn our doors and windows with red and gold Chinese lucky words and strings of large, decorative silk firecrackers to start our lunar year celebration. May the Water Rabbit bring us all health, wealth, and happiness!

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Reflections From the East Column

By Qin Sun Stubis

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