This Lunar New Year, it’s all about the Rabbit.
Originating in multiple countries in east Asia, the holiday is filled with rich culture and tradition that centers around the hope for good fortune and prosperity.
Though the date differs each year based on the cycle of the moon, it always falls between Jan. 20 and Feb. 21 on the Gregorian calendar.
Each year also has a corresponding animal from the Chinese zodiac, based on ancient Chinese mythology; last year was the Year of the Tiger, and 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.
The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. It is the most solemn festival of the year for every Chinese and has been celebrated in China for thousands of years, with various forms of activities among the diverse regions of China.
The New Year celebration is centred around removing the bad and the old, and welcoming the new and the good. It’s a time to worship ancestors, exorcise evil spirits and pray for good harvest.
Today it’s celebrated also by Chinese communities outside the country. Lion dance, dragon dance, temple fairs, flower market shopping and so on are just a few of these rich and colourful activities.
In the run-up to the new year people will clean their houses to get rid of dirt, rubbish and other unwanted items. They will redecorate them with red couplets, lanterns, new flowerpots and furniture, and will shop for foodstuffs for banquet specialities.
The New Year is an important family reunion occasion, so those who are living or working far away would return home prior to the holiday. In China this is now known as Chun Yun Moving in the Spring): tens of millions of people travel on the country’s vast public transport systems or via private means, coming home to be with their loved ones.