Happy Lunar New Year

The year of the rabbit brings celebrations in China and across the world

Chinese New Year or 'Lunar New Year' is China's most important holiday. Every year it is named after one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, with this year being the year of the Rabbit. Chinese New Year marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, which starts the day after the first new moon rises between January 21 and February 20 every year. The festivities typically prompt the world's largest annual migration, as millions of Chinese people return to their homes to celebrate together with their families. This Lunar New Year is significant as the Chinese government has abandoned its zero-Covid policy, marking the biggest festive celebration since the pandemic began three years ago. The celebration lasts for two weeks, not only in China but also in Asian communities in other places worldwide. 

Lunar New Year, also called the Spring Festival, marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, symbolising reunion and rebirth. The holiday is celebrated with dragon dances, performances with traditional dresses and family gatherings with lots of red and gold decorations. According to Dr Hongling Liang, lecturer in Mandarin at the University of Glasgow's School of Modern Languages and Culture, the year of the Rabbit embodies the energy of relaxation, quietness and contemplation and is "likely to be calm and gentle, bringing an energy that will help those looking for more of a balanced life" (BBC, 2023). Rabbit has a vital role in Chinese folklore as Chang'e, the Chinese Goddess of the Moon, is often portrayed alongside her rabbit companion.