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Chinese New Year 2011: The Year of the Metal Rabbit - February 2011 Newsletter


Lunar New Year

Everyone is dressed in brand new clothes, and all around, the festive feeling is in the air with red decorative scrolls with words of good fortune and auspicious wishes hung all around the household.  At wet markets, you will find lucky and auspicious items on sale.  From the well-loved mandarin orange, popular at this time of the year for the sound of its name that resembles the Chinese word “lucky”, to Peach blossoms that is rumored to bring one luck when it comes to romance, many of these lucky and auspicious symbols are brought home in celebration of Chinese New Year.  Children also receive lucky red envelopes containing money from parents and elders as a form of well wishing and blessing. 

For the Chinese, Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is a time of celebration of life’s renewal.  It is the arrival of spring and everyone celebrates the return of life to the earth with lots of joy and festivity.  Lucky and auspicious symbols are important ways for the Chinese to welcome the arrival of another year.  It is widely believed that starting the New Year on an auspicious note will carry one through the rest of the year. 

During this time of the year, Chinese children are also often told of the myth behind the celebration of Chinese New Year.  In Chinese mythology, a beast by the name of Nien, which has the same pronunciation as the word “year”, was said to attack villages on the very first day of New Year.  The beast Nien would devour livestock and children.  To prevent Nien from eating the children and livestock, the villagers would offer food outside their doors and hope that Nien would have its fill and leave.  It was later discovered that Nien was afraid of the color red, when a child wearing red scared Nien away. All the villagers wore red in attempt to scare off the beast.  When it was realized that Nien was also afraid of loud noises, people took to banging their pots and setting off firecrackers.  It is in this way that Nien stayed away from villages and children were safe.  As a form of celebration and remembrance, Chinese continue to wear red and light firecrackers during the New Year.

While many unfamiliar to Chinese culture may find many of the Chinese customs during the Lunar New Year simply forms of superstition, these customs are in fact founded on a deep understanding of the workings of symbolism in one’s life.  These customs also form traditional bonds that connect the very young to the very old.  It is also a time when families reunite and enjoy the blessings and ties of kinship. 

Other than the use of lucky symbols in the decoration of one’s living space, there is another deeper layer of symbolism in the celebration of Chinese New Year that is closely connected with the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese Zodiac

In Chinese astrology, there are twelve different zodiacs that are represented by twelve different animals.  Every Lunar Calendar Year is presided by one zodiac animal, so children born in years under a certain presiding animal would be said to have the strengths and qualities of their representative zodiac animal.  The Chinese Zodiac functions in a similar way to Astrology in the Western world.  It is a combination of the year, month, day, and time of birth, and Chinese astrologists look at all these factors when determining a person’s luck and his or her lot in life.

The twelve zodiac animals in order of their place in the zodiac chart are as follows:

Zodiac Year of Birth
Rat 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996
Ox 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997
Tiger 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998
Rabbit 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999
Dragon 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000
Snake 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001
Horse 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002
Sheep 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
Monkey 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
Rooster 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
Dog 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
Pig 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

All of these zodiacs have a cycle of 12 years.  Every twelve years, the same zodiac animal would preside.  However, this does not mean that there are only twelve personality traits across the board.  This is because the year’s zodiacs are further divided into five elements:  Earth, Fire, Wood, Water, and Metal.  Every zodiac is further classified into these elements.  For example, the approaching lunar New Year would be the arrival of the year of the rabbit.  More specifically, however, it would be the year of the Metal rabbit.  The personality trait of a person born in the year of the metal rabbit would differ from someone else born in the year of a wood rabbit or earth rabbit. 

When a Chinese astrologer wants to study someone’s luck for the New Year, he or she would usually take into consideration the element of a person’s zodiac.  This is coupled with a combination of other factors such as a person’s time of birth and elements of a person’s birth name.  At Mrs. Lin’s kitchen, we carry a range of Chinese zodiac products, from tea sets , to Chinese chops , to jade pendants that will make great collectible items and lucky charms.

Year of the Rabbit

2011 is the year of the rabbit.  People born under the rabbit zodiac are said to be articulate, talented and ambitious.  Often financially lucky, those born in the year of rabbit are also often admired by those around them.  Those of a rabbit zodiac are good-natured and very seldom lose their temper.  Those born in the year of dog, sheep, and pig are the most compatible with those born in the year of rabbit.

According to Chinese astrological predictions, 2011, the year of the metal rabbit, will prove to be a calmer year than 2010 that was presided by the tiger, and home and family life will play an important part in the coming year for all twelve zodiacs. 

For those born in the year of rabbit, 2011 will be a year full of good fortunes and obstacles.  The rabbit may face some emotional problems that involve mood swings, and hot tempers.  2011 is also a year where arguments may arise for those born in the year of rabbit.  The Romance luck of those of the year of rabbit will be average, and as with the other areas for the rabbit, arguments are prone to occur.  Career-wise there may also be misunderstanding between the rabbit and their co-workers, but given the calm and persistent nature of those of born in the year of rabbit, their patience, caution and nobility will see them through these obstacles that may arise.  And as the rabbit is a fortunate zodiac, many of these obstacles will be overcome by the naturally lucky and positive disposition of the rabbit. 

Whatever zodiac animal you may be born under, we at Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen wish you a wonderful Chinese New Year and may this year of the metal rabbit usher in lots of new and exciting opportunities and good fortune your way!

Chinese New Year 2011:  The Year of the Metal Rabbit

Red Envelopes: Asia's Ancient and Auspicious Gift-Giving Tradition















Rabbit Chop and Ink Set (5004)

Rabbit Ceramic Lucky Charm

Rabbit Chopstick Rest (10952)

Small Genuine Jade Chinese Knot Rabbit Charm (7948)


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