Chinese New Year 2023: Year of the Water Rabbit and the lunar celebration explained

Chinese New Year 2023 welcomes in the Year of the Water Rabbit - here's everything to know about the celebration and its lunar connections

Chinese New Year 2023: 2023 New Year's card with a cute rabbit.
(Image credit: shironagasukujira/Getty Images)

Chinese New Year 2023 will bring us into the Year of the Water Rabbit. The huge annual event will be celebrated across the globe, so here's everything to know about its origins and what the Year of the Water Tiger represents.

Chinese New Year is an annual celebration that is connected to the first New Moon of the Moon Calendar 2023.

You may have heard plenty about festivities surrounding the sacred event, also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, as just shy of two billion people across the globe celebrate it annually.  

But did you know about its origins?

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year 2023: Chinese lanterns during new year festival,Chinese new year lanterns in chinatown, firecracker celebration,for background - stock photo.

(Image credit: kowit1982/Getty Images)

Chinese New Year is an annual 15-day festival celebrated in China and by Chinese communities all around the world. The festival's importance is rooted deep in China's rich cultural history, and it's believed that it has been celebrated for over 3,500 years.

As History.com (opens in new tab)reports, "it began as a time for feasting and to honor household and heavenly deities, as well as ancestors."

Although China adopted the Western calendar back in 1912, Lunar New Year is still celebrated with the traditional greeting, "Kung hei fat choi."

To this day it's still regarded as the most important occasion for multiple generations of families to gather in celebration. It's also believed to be significant to ensure good fortune in the year ahead.

It's a time to spend time together, feasting, enjoying each other's company, playing traditional games. People enjoy fireworks, wear special clothes, exchange gifts, and hang red lanterns to mark the occasion. 

When is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year 2023: Chinese New Year celebration on 22 January 2023. Chinese New Year 2023: Chinese festive season concept.

(Image credit: Jerome Maurice/Getty Images)

Lunar New Year falls on the Aquarius New Moon, which happens each year between January 20 and February 20. This year, the Year of the Water Rabbit, will be celebrated on the January New Moon 2023, on January 22. 

Paying attention to the lunar cycle is a commonality between the Chinese zodiac and Western astrology. Apart from this trait in common the two art forms have many fascinating differences.

Itching to learn more, woman&home reached out to astrologer, tarot reader, and psychic Inbaal Honigman (opens in new tab) to gain a deeper understanding of the differences between the Chinese zodiac and Western astrology.

What's the difference between Chinese astrology and western astrology?

Chinese New Year 2023: Symbol of the Chinese New Year of the rabbit. New Years card of 2023. Happy New Year Chinese Rabbit 2023.

(Image credit: Maria Paina/Getty Images)

Inbaal tells us, "Chinese Astrology, unlike Western Astrology, covers the whole year, starting each time with the Chinese New Year, towards the end of January or beginning of February."

The astrology expert continues, "In Western Astrology, the sign changes every month, so each 12-month cycle is a year. In Chinese astrology, there are still 12 signs, but each one lasts a whole year."

Each Chinese year is one of five elements - Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. Whereas Western Astrology has 4 elements - Water, Fire, Earth, and Air.

What are the five elements in the Chinese zodiac?

  • Water. 
  • Wood.
  • Fire. 
  • Earth.
  • Metal.

Expert Donna Stellhorn spoke to woman&home, explaining the difference between each element in the Chinese Zodiac. "Wood element people are born in a year ending in the number 4 or 5," she says. "Fire element people are born in a year ending in 6 or 7. Earth element people are born in a year ending in 8 or 9."

Donna continues, "metal element people are born in a year ending in 0 or 1. And Water element people are born in a year ending in 2 or 3. If you're born in an even-numbered year, you're born under Yang energy. If you are born in an odd-numbered year, you were born under Yin energy."

What are the signs of the Chinese zodiac?

Chinese New Year 2023: Chinese New Year Of The Rabbit, stock photo of two rabbit figurines and some cherry blossom branches.

(Image credit: Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images)
  • Rat.
  • Ox.
  • Tiger.
  • Rabbit.
  • Dragon.
  • Snake.
  • Horse.
  • Goat.
  • Monkey.
  • Rooster.
  • Dog.
  • Pig.
Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.