The Lunar New Year Brings the Year of the Rabbit—And a Calm, Level-Headed Vibe

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If 2022 brought all the bold fierceness of the tiger (consider how we were all freed, at least in part, from our pandemic-era cages), 2023 will take a turn for the tame. As we welcome the Lunar New Year on January 22, we’ll also usher in the Year of the Rabbit, “an animal known in the Chinese zodiac for its sense of calm and peacefulness,” says Danielle Chang, founder of event company Luckyrice and co-founder of modern Chinese remedies brand The Hao Life.

You can expect the resulting energetic contrast from last year to this one to be profound. Not only are the two animals themselves, the tiger and the rabbit, about as different as they could be in general temperament, but they also reflect oppositional energies in the Chinese zodiac: The tiger embodies yang energy and the rabbit, yin.

Experts In This Article

According to doctor of Chinese medicine Anna Hsieh Gold, DACM, LAc, yang energy is associated with fast-paced movement and action—which is why the Year of the Tiger was “unpredictable, and sometimes even aggressive and chaotic,” she says. Yin energy is far more passive, says doctor of Chinese medicine Jenelle Kim, DACM, LAc, author of Myung Sung: The Korean Art of Living Meditation. As a result, we can expect the Year of the Rabbit in 2023 to be a period of time well-suited for “reflection, rest, and renewal,” she adds.

“The Year of the Rabbit is a time for reflection, rest, and renewal.” —Jenelle Kim, DACM, LAc, doctor of Chinese medicine

That certainly isn’t to say it’ll be boring, though. Quite the contrary, the reflective vibe of this year will give us all a chance to get on top of our stuff and make smart, sustainable progress toward our goals. “Rabbits are also thought of as rational, level-headed thinkers,” says Chang of the support we’ll have in putting our best feet forward this year. Indeed, the rabbit is actually the luckiest of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, says Dr. Kim, “so this year is said to bring hope and prosperity.”

How we can expect the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rabbit to pan out energetically

Last year’s tiger year reflected the dynamic start of the spring season within the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Now, moving into the Year of the Rabbit, we’re more fully immersed in spring vibes, says Dr. Gold. So, we’re still sprouting, growing, and moving forward, “but this year, we have the calming characteristics of yin to help with grounding that energy,” she says.

Not only is the rabbit an embodiment of that yin vibe, but so is this year’s element, water (each year in the Chinese calendar is tied to an element in addition to an animal). “This means that things will feel more fluid—and require more fluidity this year, too,” says Dr. Kim.

“We should expect more softness in the way people express themselves, both in words and appearance.” —Anna Hsieh Gold, DACM, LAc, doctor of Chinese medicine

There’s also some positive synergy between the water element and the rabbit, given their matching yin energies. “In Chinese astrology, the water element is associated with the moon and aspects of our inner lives, like emotions, spirituality, and intuition,” says Dr. Gold. And in much the same way, the rabbit’s power lies within, finding its roots in intellect rather than in physical gusto. In turn, “the yin water rabbit year is going to be about tapping into your inner wisdom,” says Dr. Gold. “We should expect more softness in the way people express themselves, both in words and appearance.”

At the same time, however, we shouldn’t mistake softness for weakness. “Remember that although rabbits are gentle, they’re also agile and cunning,” says Dr. Kim. “So, in 2023, we will be able to navigate life more deftly while better avoiding stressors, which will give us the opportunity to confidently, if quietly, overcome obstacles to our goals.”

How to make the most of the Year of the Rabbit's soft yet smart energy

Above all, the experts suggest adopting a go-with-the-flow attitude, both because of the rabbit’s non-confrontational approach and the water element’s, well, watery flow. “With water on our side, we'll do best by embracing its fluidity and stream of possibilities,” says Chang.

In keeping with the rabbit’s internal wisdom, this is also a great year to work consciously toward personal growth by investing in your health and wealth, says Dr. Gold. Doing so in a way that feels aligned and sustainable may also require you to “pay attention to your instincts, get in touch with your emotions, and trust that your gut reactions will lead you down the right path,” says Chang. “Rabbits are known for their gentle perseverance, so it’s worth noting that a little patience in these endeavors will also go a long way this year.”

Additionally, it's important to remember that not all personal growth happens during quiet time spent solo, reflecting and the like. Indeed, the flowing water element of this year could open up opportunities to expand our consciousness beyond ourselves, adds Chang. In turn, it’d be wise to keep an open mind when it comes to the activities with which you engage and the people with whom you surround yourself. “Invite over a new neighbor, embrace a new sport, or add a new element to your health routine,” suggests Chang. After all, any of the above has the power to infuse your life with new meaning and potential this lucky water rabbit year.

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