Out of the 12 Chinese animals of the zodiac, it is the Rabbit sign that rules this year 2023. The previous Rabbit year was 2011 and the next one will be 2035 as each sign rules once every 12 years. This year is a Yin Water Rabbit to be more precise. This Chi (energy) of the year brings a mix between Yin Water and the Wood contained in the Rabbit sign. I will soon post my yearly forecast and predictions for 2023 on this site, I promise
So when does the Chinese New Year start in 2023? The Chinese year of the Rabbit will start this year on the 22nd of January 2023.
Is that all? Well not exactly, as the Chinese calendar is complicated! The answer is not that simple. With the Chinese system of metaphysics and calendar, it is always a bit complex and also more accurate. Most of you have noticed by now that the Chinese New Year date changes every year, contrary to the Western one. This can seem odds until you see what it is based on.
That date is according to the lunar or moon calendar…Chinese use a bi-calendar, both moon and solar based and the solar date is different from the lunar date! This calendar is known as the farmers’ calendar or Hsia (Xia) calendar. In this article I am going to explain all the different dates relating to the Chinese New Year and also the astrological and astronomical logic of when years start and why you should celebrate even if you are from another culture. So let’s see the complex Chinese calendar and understand when the Chinese Year of the Water Rabbit “truly” starts in 2023.
When does the Chinese Yin Water Rabbit year of 2023 truly start?
This changing date is devised on a lunar year. It takes about 29.5 days for the moon to make a full orbit around our planet earth. This is one lunar month. A lunar year is made of 12 lunar months. 12 x 29.5 = 354 days for a lunar year. As you are all smart readers, you’ll notice that 354 is shorter than 365 days. This explains why the start of the Chinese year is different each time.
To compensate for the shorter year compared to the solar one, Chinese people add an extra lunar month every 3 years. An intercalary month somehow…Why every 3 years? Well there is 11 days difference between a lunar and solar year. After 3 years have fully passed, we have a 3 x 11 = 33 days difference. It is close to the 29.5, and so the time to add the extra month to balance out the whole system is on this third year. And so by adding this extra lunar month in the system, there is never a huge gap growing between the lunar and solar year. Those years with one extra lunar month are known as leap years. 2023 is a leap year with a 13th lunar month added to compensate.
Right! I hope you are still following. With this lunar year of 354 days…
The year of the Yin Water Rabbit starts on the 22nd of January 2023 for the lunar calendar.
This is the first date to remember. Now as we have Yin and Yang forces, Chinese people account for both moon and sun. The second date is based on a regular solar year of 365 days. The start is however not based on the solar solstice. It is a different logic, which I explain in the next paragraph. This solar start of the year is usually on the 3rd, 4th or 5th of February.
The solar date for the year of the Rabbit 2023 is on the 4th of February 2023.
This is the second date to remember. It is the one we take for some calculations in Chinese metaphysics, such as the Qi Men Dun Jia oracle, on which my membership is based on.
As the Bazi is a solar type of astrology, the date taken for a baby to be a Rabbit is 4th of February. Babies born on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of February are still under the Tiger sign (unless you use the Bazi based on lunar calendar, but that is not what most practitioners use).
Now that you know the 2 dates, you might wonder why it is relevant to your life; especially if you are from a culture that is not Chinese…
I am not Chinese: why should I celebrate the Chinese New Year?
The simple answer is that astrologically and astronomically, it makes much more sense. The Western year and its start on the 1st of January is a convention. Not to say that customs have no effects on our lives, far from it. They connect to the human part in the concept of the cosmic trinity: the taoist 3 lucks. But they change over time and reflect cultural rather than cosmic forces. For a long time the start of the Western year was on the 1st of April – and I am not joking! The start of the year on the 1st of January is based more on the logic of people who wants to control natural cycle and impose a human vision on it. And at a time when we discover how much manipulation there is in our world by the elites, including with magical ritual, a date that is not aligned with the cosmic order is not helping us to live in synch with the Universe. A start of the year based on the movement of the planets is a different logic; one where we, humans, acknowledge that there are greater forces than our will influencing our lives, and that we want to be in harmony with them.
So to summarise the Western start of the year is more a control freak logic, with possible vested interests, while the Chinese start of the year is more attuned to natural laws.
The further proof that the date of the 1st of January is a civil one rather than astronomical, you can look at the history of civilisations. Depending of whom you consider – Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, Celts – the date for such celebration was based on the different equinox and solstices, which make more sense. The vernal equinox around the 20th of March, the autumnal equinox around the 20th of September, or the Winter solstice around the 20th of December. The Romans at some point celebrated their year on the 1st of April, close to the Vernal equinox. And for a long time it was the date chosen to start the year in Western calendars. The custom of celebration on that day was somehow kept with the April’s fool, but the move to the 1st of January is something else. It was introduced in 1582 by the Gregorian calendar, a decision made by Pope Gregory XIII. And so as you can see it is a papal decision that reshaped Western civilisations, but as nothing to do with the greater movements of nature and the Universe.
And so which dates should we logically consider to start a new year? Solstice and equinox were indeed a good logic. The boreal Winter solstice is now around the 22nd of December. In the Northern hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year; after that, the days get longer. Which means that the Yang energy grows again from this point onward, until it reaches its peak in summer. So astrologically, a date around the 20th or 22nd of December could be the start of a year.
However this is not what Chinese people use, however. That would be too easy!
Based on lunar and solar movement now, the two dates that start a Chinese year are aligned with a new orbit for the moon around the earth, or for the Earth around the Sun. Those two dates chosen for the Chinese year therefore also make sense as they represent a real shift in energy.
You will notice that this year, like last year, both dates are quite apart: there is actually 9 days separating the lunar and solar start. It is therefore ideal to already by in the shift of energies from the 22nd of January but also mark with a celebration on the 4th of February. To do so, you can follow my advice for 13 Feng Shui tips for a lucky year of the Rabbit 2023.
To summarise, the movements that represents change of Chi between September and February are:
- The autumn equinox, around the 20th of September
- Samhain/Halloween, half way through the autumn equinox and winter solstice (31st of October)
- The December solstice. On the next day, the Yang energy grows again and the Yin decline in the Northern hemisphere. A good case could be made for this date to be the “real” beginning of the year.
- The lunar start of the year in either January or February. To be technical: it must start on the 11th lunar month and is based on a new moon during this period. This is the time of the year when the moon starts a whole new cycle.
- The solar start of the year in February, when the Sun is at 315 degree exactly. It usually falls on the 4th of February, but can be on the 3rd or 5th. This is the beginning of the new solar cycle for a year and for Chinese the beginning of the Spring season.
Culturally of course the 1st of January has a weight, but it has more to do with cultural customs. In term of real shift of the Chi and start of new energies, those astronomical events which are the lunar and solar start of a cycle are more logical. This is also the reason why the influences of the Chinese New Year can already start after the December solstice (Yang energy rising) but this is foreplay; the real shift is with the lunar and then solar starts. The Western date can still be used for numerology however, another metaphysical practice based on human’s influence.
By now you understand that the dates of the Chinese New Year represents a change of Chi, a new energy; the Western date is a human decision less based on natural movements. And so back to the question: why should you celebrate the Chinese New Year?
Simply put, to have a good life, your intents and actions must be in synch with the flow of the Universe. We all have the power to create part of our lives, but we are also part of something much greater. By following the movements of nature the Universe and aiming at being in synch with it, you will then be in the flow of the New Year and its energy. It comes to: swimming with the river or trying to swim upstream. Which one is effortless and will save your energy? Why one takes you somewhere else faster? Going with the flow of the river of course. You then have much better chances to bring prosperity, abundance and even love within your life by aligning your intent with the “music of the spheres”, the movement of the planets influencing us all.
So it doesn’t matter if you are Chinese or not: celebrating the Chinese New Year properly will give you higher chances to be lucky and manifest the life you want in 2023, year of the Yin Water Rabbit. Celebrate it both on the 22nd of January 2023 (lunar calendar) and on the 4th of February 2023 (solar start). Even better, make this whole week one of celebration to welcome the new energy!
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