Ringing in the Year of the Rabbit
by Susan Leem, associate producer
Parading in Puerta del Sol, Spain. (photo: PepeZoom/Flickr)
One of the most important Chinese holidays is Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year. Following the lunar calendar, this year the celebration fell on Thursday, February 3rd, which is also the year of the rabbit. The rabbit is the fourth animal in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Images of the rabbit become part of the celebration. The theme for festivities is to spread luck and good fortune, and the rabbit (remember your lucky rabbit’s foot?) is symbolic for both.
Oranges and tangerines also symbolize good luck and wealth. The word for tangerine has the same sound as “luck” in Chinese, and the word for orange sounds like “wealth.”
The presence of leaves are important too, representing longevity, branches of a family, and a secure relationship with the person to which you are gifting the leafy citrus.
Red is an important color in Chinese culture; it represents integrity and strength. Red envelopes, as seen in the image above, are called Hong Bao and are given to children and unmarried people with an even number (odd numbers are traditionally for funerals) of Chinese Yuan. Red is a central color in Chinese weddings as they promote good fortune.