By Qin Sun Stubis
(Originally published in The Santa Monica Star)
This year, as we pack up our holiday decorations and return to our regular lives, a mysterious, large-eared stranger is making his way around the globe to visit every home and bring us something sweet. No, I’m not talking about Easter, but another tradition that started in the Far East and is now spreading around the world: The celebration of the Lunar New Year, or as some call it, Chinese New Year. And it’s the Year of the Rabbit!
According to the lunar calendar, February 3rd marks the end of the terror reign of the ferocious Tiger and the beginning of a tranquil and joyful Rabbit era. While not all Tiger years are scary and horrible, this last one has been. In America, the signs of damage from the claws of the raging Tiger are everywhere: Rows of houses sit empty with “foreclosed” signs and families shiver in the cold. The job market dried up in many cities, while torrential rains flooded others, tornados struck far and wide, poisonous oil was pumped onto our coastlines, and in Arkansas it rained dead blackbirds.
The vicious Tiger wreaked havoc on us emotionally, physically, economically, environmentally, and politically. We battled hard and we bled. Now is the time to nurse our wounds and get back on our feet, and we couldn’t have found a better year to recuperate. Just as a rabbit foot is taken as a lucky charm in the West, Asians consider the rabbit to be a lucky animal. Derived from the good nature of its namesake, a Rabbit Year is soothing, calm and peaceful. It’s a therapeutic time for self-reflection and strength-building, which we all need.
The placid nature of the Rabbit Year also allows us to concentrate on the softer sides of home, friends and family, focusing on creating a stable life with the resources we have. Those who suffered last year will learn to adjust to the new environment, rebuild confidence and look forward to a year of stability and accomplishments.
Since real rabbits are vulnerable prey animals with a short lifespan, it’s hard to believe that in China, rabbits are symbols of longevity. When westerners look up in the night sky they see the Man in the Moon. In the East, we see the Immortal Jade Rabbit. I still have fond childhood memories of holding a steamed “rabbit” bun with two small red beans as its eyes as we celebrated the day of the full moon.
To maximize your good luck during this Rabbit Year, I suggest that you make some “rabbit” friends, for people born in these years [1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927] are known to be gentle, attentive and friendly. They are good-natured and great listeners. When we are with our “rabbit” friends, we feel relaxed and comfortable enough to share our ideas, tears, laughter and ambitions. “Rabbits” are friends forever.
Now that you know some of the positive elements of the Rabbit Year, I also want to warn you that even a lagomorph’s luck has its limitations. Sometimes, even a rabbit has to stand firm for its rights and snatch its carrot back from other more aggressive animals.
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