The Year of the Rabbit 🐰 Everything You Need to Know || Luck, Culture and Compatibility
In this 12-part blog post series, we’re taking you on a tour of the different Chinese zodiac animals.
From what they represent to how they influence modern Chinese culture and language, we explain everything you need to know.
Today, we’re continuing our journey through the Zodiac with:
The Year of the Rabbit 兔年 (tù nián).
Years of the Rabbit include:
1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
The Year of the Rabbit || Origin Story
The Year of the Rabbit || Rabbits in Chinese Culture
The Year of the Rabbit || Year of the Rabbit Personality
The Year of the Rabbit || Celebrity Rabbits
The Year of the Rabbit || Lucky and Unlucky Symbols
The Year of the Rabbit || Work and Relationships
The Year of the Rabbit || Rabbits and Tourism
The Year of the Rabbit || Rabbits in Chinese Language
The Year of the Rabbit || Rabbits in Chinese Food
The Year of the Rabbit || Around the World
The Year of the Rabbit || FAQs
The Year of the Rabbit || Origin Story
The Rabbit 兔子 (tùzǐ) was the fourth animal to cross the line in the famous Great Race.
The first part of the race was no real challenge for this speedy runner. But the river was a different story.
As a weak swimmer, the Rabbit knew it didn’t stand a chance of placing if it couldn’t find another way to cross. So, the quick-thinker began crossing by hopping from stone to stone.
However, this was proving more tiring than expected. And with the mighty Dragon close behind, the Rabbit was beginning to lose hope.
That was when a log floated by.
The Rabbit jumped onto the log and began sailing the rest of the way to the shore.
The Dragon could easily have overtaken the small, tired animal. But instead of claiming fourth place, it decided to help the Rabbit by blowing the log the rest of the way.
And that’s how the Rabbit ended up fourth in the Chinese Zodiac cycle.
Chinese Zodiacs || Year of the Tiger (A Complete Guide)
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Year of the Rabbit || What’s the Year of the Rabbit known for in Chinese culture?
Thanks to its good fortune in the Great Race, the Rabbit is known for being the luckiest of the zodiac animals.
After all, had the log not floated by at the right time and the Dragon not decided to be so kind, the Rabbit could have ended up in the river!
It’s status as a symbol of good luck makes the Rabbit extremely popular in Chinese culture. The animal has appeared in art, literature and folklore for centuries, perhaps most famously in the legend of Chang E.
Chang E was the Chinese goddess whose story is celebrated during the Mid-Autumn festival. After swallowing an elixir of immortality and arriving on the moon, Chang E met the Jade Rabbit, who became her loyal companion.
The Rabbit has since become a symbol of the Mid-Autumn Festival, symbolising mercy, elegance and beauty.
It also appears around Spring Festival, when many people hang Rabbit heads made of dough on their front doors to ward off evil spirits.
Chinese Zodiacs || Year of the Rat (A Complete Guide)
The rat symbolises fresh beginnings in Chinese culture. The Year of the Rat is considered the perfect time to pursue new opportunities and start afresh.
Year of the Rabbit || What is the Personality of a Rabbit like?
People born in the Year of the Rabbit are said to be calm, reserved and sensitive. They are gentle, hospitable people who are pleasant to be around.
As such, they usually have a lot of friends who they’re incredibly loyal to.
Rabbits don’t like conflict of any kind. They don’t take criticism well, and they hate unpredictable situations and taking risks.
When their environment gets too unstable, Rabbits like to escape to safe, peaceful places — much like the animal that burrows into a den.
Their quiet nature means that Rabbits don’t always like to share their thoughts and opinions with people they don’t know well. But don’t underestimate them. They are intelligent people who have a lot to say when they feel comfortable enough!
Year of the Rabbit || Celebrities Born in the Year of the Rabbit
If you were born in the year of the rabbit (or know anyone who was!) you might want to see which celebrities they share their Chinese zodiac with.
It turns out the year of the rabbit is actually pretty star studded!
Here’s our list of most famous celebrity rabbits:
🐰 Albert Einstein: 1879
🐰 Michael Jordan: 1963
🐰 Angelina Jolie: 1975
🐰 Frank Sinatra: 1915
🐰 George Orwell: 1903
Chinese Zodiacs || Year of the Ox 🐂 (A Complete Guide)
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Year of the Rabbit || Lucky and Unlucky Symbols
The Rabbit might be the luckiest zodiac animal, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the auspicious symbols that can increase your luck even further.
Lucky symbols for the Year of the Rabbit
Lucky days: 26th, 27th, and 29th of every Chinese lunar month
Lucky months: The 1st, 4th, 8th and 11th of any Chinese Lunar month.
Lucky numbers: 3, 4, 6 and any combination of numbers containing them
Lucky colours: Red, pink, purple, blue
Lucky flowers: Plantain lily, jasmine
Lucky directions: East, south and northwest
DID YOU KNOW Each of the Chinese zodiac animals is associated with the elements — Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water — in a 60-year cycle.
That means each lunar year isn’t just ‘the Year of the Rabbit’ and so on.
👉 More specifically, it’s the year of the wood, fire, earth, metal or water Rabbit.
Each element-animal combination has its own characteristics that differentiate people born in different Rabbit years.
For example, Fire Rabbits are thought to be more lively and expressive than Water Rabbits, who are gentle and empathetic.
Unlucky Symbols for the Year of the Rabbit
Unlucky numbers: 1, 7 and 8 (and any combination)
Unlucky colour: Dark brown, dark yellow, white
Unlucky direction: North, south and southwest
Year of the Rabbit || Work and Relationships
Although it dates back centuries, the Chinese Zodiac is still widely respected in modern China, and its influence can be felt in everything from personal relationships to work.
Here’s how the Rabbit zodiac sign influences modern-day life.
Rabbit Zodiac at Work
Rabbits’ empathetic, people-oriented nature makes them good leaders suited to working in roles that serve others. They may enjoy working as a teacher, a politician or a doctor, where they can truly make a positive impact on people.
However, their aversion to conflict and unpredictable situations means that Rabbits may want to avoid aggressive, high-pressure work environments.
Although people born in the Year of the Rabbit are generally sensible and level-headed, this flies out the window when it comes to money management.
Their generosity and love for shopping is said to leave them with little left in savings.
So, if you’re a Rabbit with a bad spending habit, blame it on the Zodiac!
Rabbit Zodiac in Relationships
Zodiac signs also influence romantic relationships, and many young Chinese people consider them an important indicator of compatibility.
Unsurprisingly, Rabbits like stable partners.
They are warm, understanding people and they seek equally gentle partners. It might take a while for a Rabbit to open up to you, but once you win their trust, you can expect them to be incredibly romantic, loyal and trusting partners.
Young Chinese people are often set up with potential partners by family members.
But this might not be the best option for Rabbits, who take time to warm up to people. They may find it easier to connect with someone they already know through existing friendships.
As reliable, family-oriented people, Rabbits match particularly well with Sheep, but they clash with the obnoxious and selfish Snake and Rooster.
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Year of the Rabbit || The Rabbit and Tourism
Some people also use their zodiac signs to choose travel destinations. This has become a popular trend among travel companies, especially at the start of a new year.
It goes without saying that Rabbits should avoid putting themselves in stressful or unpredictable situations. Guided tours and relaxing destinations might suit you best.
Like the look of Xi’an? Check out our immersive Chinese programs that take all the stress and unpredictability out of exploring this historic city!
A Guide on How to Travel to Xinjiang
Travel to Xinjiang (新疆) || If you’re looking to explore the less-known parts of China, follow our guide here to China’s beautiful Xinjiang province.
Year of the Rabbit || Chinese language
When it comes to language, the Rabbit is usually associated with positive characteristics. Here are some examples.
兔友 (tù yǒu)
Meaning: Rabbit friend
This is a slang term used to describe a fan or supporter of a celebrity or public figure.
It’s formed of the word “友” (yǒu), which means friend, and “兔” (tù), which, as you know by now, is ‘Rabbit’.
It’s kind of like the English term “fanboy” or “fangirl.”
米兔 (mǐ tù)
Meaning: Me Too Movement
This was a term adopted during the Me Too movement of 2018. Although its literal translation — ‘rice bunny’ — isn’t related to the English phrase, the pronunciation is about as close as you can get to the English campaign name.
Due to the heavy restrictions on Chinese social media channels, trending hashtags and terms like this run the risk of being censored.
Giving it a name that has no clear relation to the meaning behind the Me Too campaign allowed social media users to circumvent censorship and spread their message.
Want to learn the newest Mandarin slang? Check out our guide to Slang in Chinese here!
兔子三窟 (tùzi sān kū)
Meaning: A rabbit has three burrows
This idiom describes resourceful people who always have alternative plans or options.
兔起鹘落 (tù qǐ hú luò)
Meaning: Rabbits rise, falcons descend
This idiom is used to describe a significant shift in power or fortune.
兔子不吃窝边草 (tùzi bù chī wō biān cǎo)
Meaning: A rabbit does not eat the grass near its burrow
This idiom is usually used in a derogatory sense to describe people who are careful not to harm people living around them to protect their interests.
Naming Year of the Rabbit Children
Names hold deep cultural significance in China. Parents across the country carefully consider their children’s names, as they are believed to play a role in determining their future.
It goes without saying that the Zodiac plays an important part in this decision.
Certain Chinese characters are considered more suitable for babies born in certain years than others. This is based on the characters’ meanings and the corresponding zodiac characteristics.
For those born in the Year of the Rabbit, suitable radicals include 艹，米，口，彡 and 亥.
These are considered lucky for Rabbits because of their association with fur, herbivores and food that Rabbits enjoy.
茶 (chá) – Tea
豆 (dòu) – Bean
麦 (mài) – Wheat
豪 (háo) – Heroic
家 (jiā) – Family or home
红 (hóng) – Red
祝 (zhù) – Wish or bless
Year of the Rabbit || The Rabbit in Chinese Cuisine
Animal lovers, cover your eyes! Or scroll past this point. Because, yes, our fluffy bunny friends also double up as the star of a few Chinese dishes.
兔头 (tù tóu) – Rabbit Head
In Sichuan Province, rabbit heads are considered a delicacy.
They are typically seasoned and spiced, then deep-fried or grilled and enjoyed as a snack, usually accompanied by a beer.
卤兔 (lǔ tù) – Braised Rabbit
Rabbit meat is braised in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices to create a tender and flavorful dish enjoyed in Sichuan.
Vegetarian? You might want to skip this section, but here’s a guide to navigating Chinese cuisine as a vegan or vegetarian.
Year of the Rabbit || The Influence of the Chinese Zodiac on a Larger Scale
China isn’t the only country that follows the Lunar Calendar.
The calendars mostly follow a similar pattern in all of these places. However, the Vietnamese cycle includes a cat instead of a rabbit.
There are lots of theories for why this happened.
One is that cats are well-liked by Vietnamese rice farmers, who face the threat of rats destroying their crops. Cats bring good luck by hunting pests and protecting the yield.
Another theory relates to language. It’s said that the Vietnamese misinterpreted the Chinese word for Rabbit as ‘mao’, which sounds like ‘meo’ — the Vietnamese word for ‘cat’.
Whatever the reason for this decision, the zodiac animals share many similarities. The Year of the Cat is also considered extremely lucky in Vietnam.
Chinese Proverbs || 11 of our Favourites (with Bonus Proverb Quiz)
Chinese Proverbs (or Idioms) and sayings (谚语 yànyŭ in Chinese) are a great way to expand your Chinese vocabulary when you’re learning mandarin.
The Year of the Rabbit || FAQs
When is the next Year of the Rabbit?
We’re almost at the end of the Year of the Rabbit! As the Chinese zodiac calendar is 12 years long, the next Year of the Rabbit will be 2035.
What comes after the Year of the Rabbit?
The Year of the Dragon comes after the Year of the Rabbit. Stay tuned to read the story behind the Dragon’s decision to let the Rabbit beat it!
What is my Chinese Zodiac sign?
Use our Zodiac calculator to find out!
What signs is the Rabbit not compatible with?
People born in the Year of the Rabbit are not romantically compatible with the Snake and the Rooster. This is because the calm, loyal, quiet Rabbit clashes with their loud, egotistical personalities.
Rabbits are better suited to the Sheep, Monkey, Dog or Pig.
Why is the Year of the Rabbit lucky?
The Year of the Rabbit is lucky because the Rabbit experienced good fortune during the Great Race. Had it not been for the log floating by at the right time and the Dragon’s act of kindness, it could have fallen into the river and struggled to swim to shore!
The Rabbit is also seen as a symbol of wit, elegance and peace.
What are people born in the Year of the Rabbit like?
People born in the Year of the Rabbit are calm, reserved, sensitive and hospitable. They are incredibly caring and popular people. But they also struggle with uncertainty and risk, which can be a shortfall!
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