This past Sunday (January 22) was the start of the Lunar New Year! Celebrated by many countries, including China, Vietnam and Korea, this day marks the beginning of the new year on the calendar. For those who celebrate, the celebration will last for days and will be filled with fun, food and fireworks.

2023 is the Year of The Rabbit. In western astrology, your zodiac sign coordinates with the month you were born. In the Chinese zodiac, your sign coordinates with the year you were born. This Chinese zodiac has been adopted and changed throughout much of Asia. For example, Vietnam is celebrating 2023 as the Year of the Cat!

Nha Trang, Vietnam – 13 January 2023: decoration with golden cats and flowers for Tet Lunar New Year

While the Lunar New Year is largely associated with China, the event is celebrated throughout Asia. There are celebrations held in Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines and many other countries.

Chinese Lunar New Year or 春節 is celebrated for 15 days! There is celebration, parades, feasts and more to commemorate the welcoming of spring. Red is the color of luck and red envelopes are exchanged between family and friends to spread good fortune.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year or Tết Nguyên Đán is celebrated as a fresh start! It’s a time to clear debts, clean house and make ammends. In the Vietnamese zodiac, there is no rabbit. Instead, 2023 is the year of the Cat. People born in this year are flexible individuals, who are social and friendly. Cats are well-liked and hard-working, but very easy to get along with.

Korean Lunar New Year or 설날 is celebrated in both South and North Korea. Like other lunar new year celebrations, it is a time for food and social activities. Traditional dishes are prepared and many people return to their hometowns to spend time with family.

The tale goes that the emperor called for a race of animals on his birthday…

There’s a variety of tales that include different variations of the race or animals that show up and complete the race, but in the end it is twelve animals that are now the symbols of the zodiac calendar.

The most popular variation is that the Jade Emperor requested the animals complete a race in which they had to swim across a great river, and they would measure time based upon the animals who finished first and so forth.

Many animals arrived to compete in the race, including the Cat and the Rat. Knowing that they would never swim fast enough to win, the clever animals asked the kind Ox if it would carry them across. The Ox agreed, carrying them on its back towards the shore line, but just as they neared the river bank, the clever Rat pushed the Cat off and jumped ahead. The Rat was named the first place winner, with the Ox finishing in second.

The determined Tiger finished third, having swum hard against the river currents. The smart Rabbit finished fourth, using the logs to jump across. The Dragon, who had been busy helping others, finished fifth. The Horse was racing towards the line, but was surprised by the Snake who had sneakily snuck under his hooves. This startled the Horse, allowing the Snake to finish in sixth and the Horse in seventh. The Goat, Monkey and Rooster shared a raft that allowed them to finish in eighth, ninth and tenth. Lastly came the Dog, who had stopped to bath in the river and the Pig who had fallen asleep. The Dog placed eleventh and the Pig placed twelfth.

The Cat, finally climbing out of the water, was very angry with the Rat and they have never been friends since.

The years were then named and carried on according to the animals, and while we could trace it back through time, we’ve instead included the most recent years and the animals they coordinate with.

Traditional Chinese zodiac animals set.

The Rat:

…1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020…

Those born in this year are clever, witty and resourceful, but often lack courage. Due to their good insight, Rats are serious workers. They are very frugal, which can lead to wealth in life or make them money motivated.

The Ox:

…1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021…

Those born in this year are diligent, kind, hardworking and reliable, but they are stubborn. Ox individuals have strong faith and are persistent. The lily of the valley and bamboo are lucky flowers. Oxen tend to seek out stability, making them great fits for group work and family life.

The Tiger:

…1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022…

Tigers are ambitious, courageous, enthusiastic and confident. They have a sense of justice and greater good, but can be arrogant and be rebellious. Tigers are enthusiastic in all aspects of their life, including career.

Shanghai, China – Jan. 16, 2023: Lantern Festival in the Chinese New Year( Rabbit year), colorful lanterns in Yuyuan garden.

The Rabbit:

…1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023…

Those born in the year of the Rabbit are social butterflies, but polite and kind. They are thoughtful, empathetic, artistic and pay attention to detail. Rabbits lucky colors are red, pink, purple and blue.

The Dragon:

…1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024…

Dragons are steadfast, noble, sincere, and energetic. On the other hand, they often have high self-esteem and are unwilling to admit mistakes. Dragons are great at most careers. They represent imperial power in China.

The Snake:

…1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025…

Those born in the year of the Snake are sometimes misunderstood. Though they can be skeptical and possessive, on the inside Snakes are perceptive, intelligent, humorous and elegant. Snakes have a keen eye for most things and bring joy to situations.

Chinese festival series: Lantern Festival in the Chinese New Year( Horse year). February 16, 2014 in Shanghai, China.

The Horse:

…1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026…

Horses are positive and full of energy. They love to be able to express themselves and boost the optimism in the room. On the other hand, this expressiveness can make them bad secret keepers.

The Goat:

…1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027…

Those born in Goat years are pure and welcoming. They are always willing to share, but are also good persuaders. Goats are amicable and can be sensitive, putting much thought into thee well fare of others. Primroses and carnations are the flowers for the Goats.

The Monkey:

…1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028…

Monkeys are jack of all trades, trying things until they succeed. They’re crafty people, good learners and curious about life. Unfortunately, this “try everything” mentality can sometimes lead to unfulfilled efforts. They don’t let that stop them! Monkeys are jokesters, finding the laugh in all situations.

Shanghai, China – Jan. 22, 2017: Lantern Festival in the Chinese New Year( Rooster year), beautiful big rooster lamp isolated on black bancground, night view.

The Rooster:

…1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029…

Those born in the year of the Rooster are observant folks, with a keen eye to sense how other people think and feel. They are intelligent, especially emotionally, and are resourceful. They get along great with Dragons, but not so well with Rabbits.

The Dog:

…1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030…

Dogs are the best of friends, they are loyal, agreeable, careful and kind. On occasion, they can be a bit conservative and prefer to lead a quiet life. Though not always great communicators, Dogs will always show their love and appreciation for the people who are important to them.

The Pig:

…1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031…

The last of the race contestants, the Pig is the realist. People born in this year are providers, they take their time and face life with logic. They can get agitated easily, but Pigs are kind hearts. They are often blessed with good fortune in life.