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It's that time of the year again when we all celebrate the Chinese/Lunar New Year. 恭喜发财! Gong xi fa cai! (in Mandarin) Kung Hei Fat Choy! (in Cantonese)
What is Lunar New Year? When is it and how long do you celebrate for?
Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year (CNY), or Spring Festival, is an important celebration of the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. It is celebrated mainly in China and is popular in other East Asian countries and around the world!
CNY marks the transition between zodiac signs in 2023, ending the Year of the Tiger and commencing the Year of the Rabbit. This year's celebrations begin on January 22 and will run until February 9.
About the 2023 Chinese Zodiac - The Rabbit
As aforementioned, 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit! The Chinese Zodiac is a repetitive classification cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by a different animal and its attributes. The animals are ordered as follows:
By this numerical list, you can tell that next year in 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon!
According to Chinese Astrology, the Rabbit represents peaceful and patient energy. The year 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope. Recent years of the Rabbit include the following:
Characteristics of someone who is born in the Year of the Rabbit would be:
Chinese New Year Stamps
The 2023 CNY stamps dedicated to the Year of the Rabbit were released on January 5, 2023. One of the stamps is designed with a blue rabbit holding a pen and a letter. The other is three rabbits in a circle, implying the "circle of life," with another rabbit, thought to be the jade rabbit, in the background.
The artist of these stamps is 99-year-old Huang Yongyu, who was also the artist of ChinaPosts' first zodiac stamp in 1980 – The Year of the Monkey.
Read more about the stamps: China Issues Special Stamps Marking Year of the Rabbit - All China Women's Federation (womenofchina.cn)
It is said traditionally that there are some ways to promote good fortune into the new year, such as hanging the traditional calligraphy word "fú (福)" upside down. "fú (福)" translates to fortune or happiness, but when turned upside down it means "here," which in turn is taken as "happiness/fortune is here."
Another tradition for CNY is Red Pockets/Red Packets/Hong Paos. 'Lucky Money' is put into the envelope and then given traditionally to children and/or elders, and even unmarried friends, to bring them luck. Nowadays, it is common for Red Packets to be handed out with varying sums of money to close family and friends on almost any occasion.
What to Eat
While celebrating the Chinese New Year, some popular foods are eaten that are also said to be lucky for various reasons. If you're trying to promote your luck for the new year, we suggest stocking up on these food items on your next grocery trip:
- Dumplings – Wealth
- Fruits – Fullness and Wealth
- Sweet Rice Balls – Family Togetherness
- Chinese New Year Cake – Higher Income
- Noodles – Happiness and Longevity
- Fish – Prosperity
What to do
Looking at ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Here are some activities available to the public within British Columbia:
- Host your own dinner party! Grab decorations, provide lucky foods, wear red, and give out red packets. Enjoy ringing in the new year with the people closest to you in hopes of a prosperous New Year.
- Attend a Parade near you. There is an upcoming parade on January 22, 2023, in Vancouver at West Pender Street entrance of International Village Shopping Centre (88 W Pender St. Vancouver), or you can join in virtually here.
- Don't worry. If you can't make it to an in-person event, you can celebrate by visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art's website for several online programs and performances between January 20 and January 22.
Want to learn more about the Chinese New Year? Check out our 2022 Blog post here.