And the answer: Rabbit.
The Chinese zodiac revolves through 12 signs represented by animals, and 2023 is the year of the Rabbit. Based on the lunar calendar, this zodiac system differs from the Western zodiac in that it cycles in years rather than months, and the signs are not associated with constellations. The last year of the Rabbit was in 2011, and the next will be in 2035.
Although the Gregorian calendar year ends on December 31st, the Chinese New Year—or Spring Festival, as it’s also known—is celebrated each year in mid-January. The festivities mark the end of the coldest days of the winter and the start of spring, but the Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year due to its close association with the lunar calendar.
Regardless of when it falls in January, though, the Spring Festival is accompanied by reunions between family members, fireworks, meals of dumplings, and often, traditional celebrations which ring in the good and push out the bad for the year to come. Originally, the Spring Festival was a ceremonial day used to pray to gods and ancestors for a good planting and harvest season. As a result, many of these celebrations—such as burning fake money or printed gold bars—are still widely observed during the Chinese New Year.
Did you know?
Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese New Year! The celebrations typically span 15 (or more) days, culminating in the Lantern Festival which falls on February 5 this year. The many activities include moon gazing, lighting lanterns, riddles, lion dances, and eating rice balls—to name a few. Learn more about the Chinese New Year celebrations and history here.