Say goodbye to the Tiger; it’s time to hop into the Year of the Rabbit.
For many people, Lunar New Year, which falls on January 22 this year, is a time to consult the stars to find out what lies ahead in the coming months.
Most people know the basics: The 12-year Chinese zodiac calendar cycle is represented by 12 different animals – the Chinese zodiac signs. Your zodiac animal is determined by your year of birth.
But that’s only the start. For faithful followers of the system, a year isn’t just categorized by its animal. There’s also a complex sexagenary cycle made up of 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches.
Heavenly stems and earthly branches
Every year, a heavenly stem (one of five elements, which fall into the yin or yang category) is paired with an earthly branch (one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals).
Gui Mao is the 40th element of the Chinese sexagenary cycle – the Heavenly Stem “Gui” represents water, whereas the earthly branch “Mao” represents Rabbit. That makes 2023 the Year of the Water Rabbit.
“Gui Mao Rabbit Year is quite a special year – when all the elements in a year are yin,” says Thierry Chow, a Hong Kong-based geomancy consultant known for blending traditional Chinese geomancy with modern design elements.
“It’s also uncommon to have the combination of water and rabbit. The rabbit represents wood. Water nurtures wood (according to Chinese geomancy).”
She says industries with wood as their main element – like culture, publishing, agriculture and furniture – would benefit. Fire industries, on the other hand, including digital and technology businesses, may suffer as fire is afraid of Water.
“The Year of Water Rabbit is going to be a gentler year. We’ll have time to take a breather. We’ve been in the tunnel for the last few years, and the light is getting bigger now,” says Chow.