Ring in the Year of the Rabbit with These 23 Lucky Luxury Items

Take a crash course on the Lunar New Year, and browse some festive finds.

Rooted in tradition, legends and community, Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and celebrates the promise of the months ahead. This is the year of the rabbit, the 4th of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. Keep reading to learn more about the history of the holiday, and then browse 23 striking pieces featuring the animal of the moment.

The History of Lunar New Year

The custom of celebrating the Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is said to have originated during the Han dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 220), when the date beginning a new cycle was fixed. Markings etched on oracle bones, however, indicate that the calendar was in use as far back as the Shang dynasty, which ruled China from 1600 to 1046 B.C. The Lunar New Year is traditionally associated with farming, as a time to pray to the gods for a bountiful harvest and honor ancestors and family.

It is also associated with many legends. One tells of Nian, a terrifying monster that attacked villages, causing the inhabitants to flee, until one clever villager realized it feared the color red and bright lights. These elements, used to drive the creature away, appear in modern-day celebrations.

Red remains an auspicious color in China and is prominent in contemporary Lunar New Year celebrations. Rites also include cleaning, to sweep away the past year and bad fortune, as well as feasting, to welcome in a year fresh with golden possibilities.

When Is Lunar New Year?

Because Chinese New Year is based on a lunar calendar, it has no fixed date in the solar Gregorian calendar, occurring some time between January 21 and February 20; the 2023 festivities begin January 22. Celebrations last around 15 days, concluding on the full moon with the Lantern Festival, which is marked with fireworks, delicious food shared with family and friends and, as its name suggests, glowing lanterns of all shapes and sizes. Some of these symbolize good wishes for the future while others contain riddles to solve.

Why Are Chinese Years Named after Animals?

Each lunar year is associated with one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac: the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig. They appear in that order in a 12-year cycle that repeats itself.

According to legend, the Chinese zodiac originated from a race in which the Jade Emperor invited all of the earth’s animals to compete. The 12 who showed up were rewarded by having years named after them, in the order in which they finished. Some dozed off or were distracted, but the crafty rat, after enlisting the help of the ox to carry it across a river that was part of the course, scampered ahead to take its place at the beginning of the zodiac.

What Is the Chinese New Year Animal for 2023?

This year’s animal is the rabbit. People born in the year of the rabbit are known for their creativity and gentle nature.

Other Names for Lunar New Year

In addition to the Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year is often referred to as the Spring Festival, alluding to its association with farming and the vernal equinox.

Balloon Rabbit (Red), by Jeff Koons

Van Cleef & Arpels Rabbit Pendant

Lemon Bunnies, by Hunt Slonem

Hi June Parker Bunny Signet Ring

Stefano Giovannoni Red Velvet Baby Rabbit Chair

Chinese Zodiac Rabbit Sculpture in Pink, by Zou Liang

Moooi Rabbit Table Lamp

Judith Leiber Swarovski Crystal Rabbit Minaudière

Björn Dahlström for Playsam Rabbit Rocking Chair

Yellow-Gold and Carved-Jade Bunny Rabbit Brooch

Tiffany & Company Bunny Rabbit Coin Bank

Loewe Rabbit Crossbody Bag

Bronze Censer Supported by Three Rabbits

Early 20th Century Bronze Censer Supported by Three Rabbits
Bronze censer supported by three rabbits, 1900s

Lladro Red-Gold Rabbit

Simone Crestani Rabbit Vase

AVGVSTA Rabbit Cufflinks

Bronze Bunny Rabbit on Leaf Tray Sculpture

Buccellati Silver Furry Rabbit

Kirsten’s Corner Signature Running Rabbit Pendant

Jonathan Adler Red Lucite Giant Rabbit Sculpture

Stefano Giovannoni for Ghidini Rabbit Salt and Pepper Shakers

rabbit salt and pepper shakers
Stefano Giovannoni for Ghidini 1961 rabbit salt and pepper shakers, new

Hermès Rabbit Bib

Gold, Turquoise and Ruby Rabbit Brooch

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