The Chinese zodiac calendar is a repeating 12-year cycle — with one animal assigned to each year. It starts with the rat, followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig. It also has five element years: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. How did this come to be? Think of it like the Noah’s ark story without the flood. Here’s how the myth goes: The Lord Buddha was planning to depart Earth, all animals were summoned for a last farewell, many RSVP-ed but only 12 turned up.As a reward, each got a year named after them, according to the order that they arrived. Chinese zodiacs are also based on the Heavenly Stems and Branches system, which coordinates with one of five elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth).   Chinese New Year 2023 is a Year of the Rabbit, more specifically, Water Rabbit, starting from January 22nd, 2023, and lasting until February 9th, 2024.

The Year of the Water Rabbit, which previously occurred in 1963. The Water Rabbit is said to have the ability to turn unfortunate events around, despite their upbringing, per Chinese New Year.

For those born during the Year of the Rabbit, is all about "letting go," per This includes decluttering your life, letting go of toxic relationships or moving on from a job.

As people with the Rabbit sign let go of old things, it's also a good time to try new things as Rabbits have "extra luck and opportunity in the water Rabbit year,"

But wait! there's More!

The Legend of Monster Nian

There are countless folktales attached to Lunar New Year, but the myth of “Nian” stands out as the most iconic and fun.

Legend has it Nian was a ferocious underwater beast with sharp teeth and horns. Every Lunar New Year’s Eve, it crawled onto the land and attacked a nearby village.

On one such occasion, as the villagers rushed into hiding, a mysterious old man showed up and insisted on staying in the village despite being warned of impending doom.

To the villagers’ surprise, the old man and the village survived utterly unscathed.

The man claimed to have scared Nian away by hanging red banners on the door, lighting firecrackers and wearing red clothes.

This is how wearing the fiery color – right down to undergarments – along with hanging red banners with auspicious phrases and lighting firecrackers or fireworks became Lunar New Year traditions, all of which are still followed today.

Chinese Zodiac

As with many winter solstice celebrations, the symbolic darkness of night is banished by the light of fireworks, lanterns, and candles. Man-made paper lanterns are hung by the hundreds in public areas, bringing good luck to the new year.

There are dragon dances, performances, and festival parades with music and acrobatics. The festivities continue for two weeks, finishing with a special lantern festival, which signals the end of the New Year celebration period.