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February 2, 2023

The Year of the Yin Water Rabbit

With the recent shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, we honor those whose lives have been lost, and are holding in our hearts all those who are grieving among the AAPI community. This time of year is supposed to be a time of celebration. While this year’s celebrations are clouded with trauma and grief, we can look to the Water Rabbit for hope.

lunar new year

Rabbits in the Chinese Zodiac

Each year, according to the Chinese zodiac calendar cycle, a heavenly stem, one of the five elements, is paired with an earthly branch, one of the 12 zodiac animals. This year is the Gui Mao, or Water Rabbit year. Gui represents water, while Mao represents rabbit. Both of these hold significance, and can offer insights into the year ahead.

While there are many variations of this story, according to ancient legend, the Jade Emperor invited all the animals to participate in a race for his birthday. Twelve animals lined up at the start of the race: a pig, dog, monkey, sheep, horse, rooster, dragon, tiger, rabbit, ox, rat, and a snake. As a prize, a year would be named after each animal, but their finish would determine the order! Each animal had a different experience and adventure crossing a river to complete the Emperor’s race. The rabbit arrived in fourth place, but how? The rabbit was quick, and hopped from stone to stone across the river. Partway through, the rabbit slipped and fell into the river, but was able to climb onto a log floating in the water. The dragon, who was right behind the rabbit, saw the rabbit floating on the log, and gave a supportive breath to blow the rabbit to shore. (Want to learn more about the other finishers? Read more about the race here.)

The Yin Water Rabbit

According to Five Element Theory, the rabbit represents wood. When we think about the relationship between water and wood, water generates or nourishes wood. Think about the way that watering our plants help them to grow. This can indicate that this is a year can be a year of prosperity, hope, and flourishing. Additionally, both water and wood are associated with Yin. Yin is slower, darker, quieter, while Yang is faster, brighter, louder. If we’re in a Yin year, we can interpret that this might be a good year for rest, reflection, slowing down.

While water is associated with fear, it also is associated with calm. The rabbit is viewed as a symbol of intellect, longevity, peace. Rabbits also have qualities of kindness, empathy, and patience. Some believe 2023, the Gui Mao Water Rabbit Year, will be a year of hope. To learn more about the Yin Water Rabbit and the upcoming year, check out these helpful (and fascinating!) links:

  • Want to learn more about the Water Rabbit? Read more here!
  • Curious about what 2023 has in store for your Chinese Zodiac? Check out Astrologer Susan Levitt’s predictions here!
  • Learn about the year ahead: For an extensive forecast for the upcoming year, including insights into what the Water Rabbit might bring to your health, relationships, work, lifestyle, and many other aspects, check out this in-depth review!

lion dance

Celebrating Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year celebrations last for fifteen days. Lunar New Year kicks off the Spring Festival, where each day has specific significance and traditions and customs. Spring Festival culminates with the Lantern Festival, always landing on the first full moon of the new lunar year, and this year, landing on February 5th.The Lantern Festival is the celebration of looking to the future, and also releasing the past.

Here are some tips for celebrating, and some great local events to check out!

This Water Rabbit year we look ahead with hope for prosperity, growth, kindness, community, and peace. We wish you all a prosperous Water Rabbit New Year!

About the Author

Molly wears a checkered dress in front of a wood panelled backdropMolly Pilloton Lam is a first-year Master’s student at AIMC with a background in working with BIPOC communities in education, educational leadership, public health, and trauma-informed youth mental health program settings. She is interested in expanding education and equitable access to acupuncture and EAM in BIPOC and communities, particularly to support people with the impacts of trauma. She is excited to be a student at AIMC for her pathway to acupuncture, and looks forward to uplifting its traditional practices and other BIPOC practitioners’ voices.

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