What comes in the year of the rabbit? serenity

Imagine you are sitting next to a tiger on a park bench. Thoughts would race through your head: Is it aggressive? is it protective Is it too boisterous or too loud? And of course: is it hungry?

Now imagine you are sitting on this bench with a little white rabbit: calm, serene, gentle, accommodating.

The tiger was 2022. The rabbit is 2023. Now breathe.

On January 22, the Chinese zodiac transitions into the year of the Yin Water Rabbit, a far cry from the unpredictable Tiger. Because the Chinese Zodiac works in a wheel within a wheel, each of the five elements rotates with the 12 zodiac signs, so each element-animal combination appears every 60 years.

“Water Rabbit offers a chance for diplomacy and negotiation, a year of hope,” says Nan Hall Linke, a therapist/landscaper/astrologer based in Houston who enjoys exploring the connection between Western and Eastern astrology.

The upcoming Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival (or Tet in Vietnam), has always been an important religious and social event in local Asian communities, but it was hardly a civic event.

“It’s a big, big family holiday, like Christmas and Thanksgiving,” says Kevin Shu of the Houston Cultural Center of the Taipei Bureau of Economics and Culture.

In general, workers from across China and other Asian countries make a journey back to their rural homes. “Everyone comes home to see their family, even if they haven’t for two or three years,” Shu says. His mother is in Taiwan and he plans to come back to see her.

Glenda Joe, executive director of Lunar New Year Houston, recalls what celebrations were like in the city in the 1980s. “Asian groups were whistled like hell,” she says, simply partying alone in restaurants, shops, and other unadvertised locations.

Joe vowed to create the first Pan-Asian cultural festival in the United States

This is now the 14th year of the Lunar New Year Houston event taking place January 28-29 at the Viet Hoa Center at West Sam Houston Parkway and Beechnut. A million firecrackers! lion dances! It’s free!

And now, Joe’s group isn’t the only one offering inclusive holiday celebrations. On Jan. 28, the Asia Society will celebrate Houston from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with family activities, some ticketed performances, arts and crafts and refreshments, says Stephanie Todd Wong, director of communications and audience engagement.

The story of the rabbit dates back to the mythical time of the Jade Emperor. The animals had to cross a river to get to the emperor’s palace, but the rabbit hated getting his feet wet and hopped from rock to rock across the river. Then it took an unfortunate nap and woke up only to find itself fourth in line for the blessing of the Emperor, thus becoming the Fourth House of the Zodiac.

Linke believes we can get a sense of what kind of energy to expect from the last two Water Rabbit years, 1963 and 1903. She sees 1963 as both elegant and trendsetting. Scroll back to Jacqueline Kennedy in the White House, the March on Washington, new ZIP codes, the space race… and the assassination of JFK. No year is really all good or bad. In 1903, Teddy Roosevelt was President, the Wright Brothers flew, and colored pencils were invented.

“Clothes are getting nicer this year,” says Linke. high time!


How to prepare for the Lunar New Year

Even if you don’t have Asian heritage, you can jump into the bunny hop. Here are some tips from experts in feng shui, the art of aligning your space with the prevailing energy, to tell you how. (Spoiler alert: It’s all about intent and decluttering.)

Belinda Mendoza, Energy Design, Austin:

Mendoza began preparations in November. She urges households to adapt to the changing energy of a new year.

Complete all house cleaning before the 22nd. Then don’t do anything on New Year’s Day, not even sweep or shampoo, or you’ll wash away your finances.

On the 22nd, eat dumplings (“purses,” as she calls them) and uncut noodles for longevity — and no tofu. It’s also a great day to give out red envelopes.

She places (unlit) firecrackers on the door to ward off evil. She also runs a $20 Zoom Fest for her clients.

“Set a goal for the year,” Mendoza says.

Sara Geralds, Maybe It’s Feng Shui, Austin:

Gerald’s cleans and declutters ahead of time. She recommends setting up a lucky bowl with nine oranges, symbolizing gold coins. And it could be a good moment to buy a new welcome mat.

If you can, get away from nine objects on each of the nine days.

Open a window.

If you were born in the year of the Rooster, attach a dog tag to your keychain.

“Bring intention into the way you live,” says Geralds.

Peg Donahue, Feng Shui Connections, New Hampshire:

Clean up your mess.

Make changes to your household organization on February 4th, the traditional day for such work.

Always keep a pretty vase of cut flowers.

If you want to orientate your living space intensively according to the cardinal points – a principle of feng shui – a professional can prevent you from committing a feng shui faux pas.

“Be kinder and more decent. It would be really welcome,” says Donahue.

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