Symbolism of The Rabbit

2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, beginning Sunday 22nd January 2023 with the first full moon following the winter solstice, and ending on Saturday 9th February 2024.

Often considered as the luckiest out of all of the animals in the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit symbolises mercy, elegance and beauty. It is believed that people born in the Year of the Rabbit are calm and peaceful, who avoid fighting and confrontation, and who are artistic, intelligent, and complete everything to the best of their abilities. 

The rabbit is a significant cultural symbol in Chinese culture, associated with popular and widely loved folktales. Not only is the rabbit one of the 12 animals in the zodiac, but it also plays a prominent role in many other stories, including that of the Moon Goddess and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The moon 

The rabbit is often used to symbolise the moon. In ancient times, the Chinese believed there was a rabbit who lived on the moon (known as the Jade or Moon Rabbit). The rabbit was the closest companion to the immortal Moon Goddess, and it would sit with her making medicine by grinding herbs with a mortar and pestle.   

One story says that once upon a time, the Jade Emperor disguised himself as a poor, starving old man, and he begged for food from a monkey, otter, jackal and rabbit. Monkey gathered fruit from the trees, while otter gathered fish from the river. Jackal stole a lizard and a pot of milk curds. However, rabbit could only gather grass, and knowing he couldn’t offer this as food he decided to offer up his own body as sacrifice, throwing himself into the fire the man had started. Somehow, though, the rabbit wasn’t harmed! The old man revealed himself to be the great Jade Emperor, and he was so touched by the rabbit’s selflessness that he sent it to the moon to become the immortal Jade Rabbit.

The saviour 

According to Beijing folklore, the Jade Rabbit came down to Earth as a girl, riding on a horse, a tiger or a lion, travelling through the city and saving many from a serious and dangerous epidemic, thus Beijingers make statuettes of a rabbit wearing armour and riding a tiger in tribute.

The white rabbit

Rabbits, especially those with white fur, are a symbol of longevity in traditional Chinese culture. The ancient Chinese believed that the white rabbit was an incarnation of Alioth, the brightest star of the Triones.

Year of the Rabbit celebrations at Yauatcha

Yauatcha is celebrating this Chinese New Year by paying homage to the lucky rabbit.

Our restaurants in Soho and City have been transformed with paper bunny lanterns, window decorations and more, and we are offering an exclusive Year of the Rabbit menu, cocktail and macaron for guests to enjoy during this time. We are also offering pineapple pastries, made with pineapple jam symbolising fortune and prosperity, available for nationwide delivery: the perfect gift to celebrate Chinese New Year for loved ones.

For those interested in the culinary art of dim sum, we are hosting a special, one-off Chinese New Year Dim Sum Masterclass, allowing guests the opportunity to learn how to roll and fold their own dumplings before enjoying a special lunch featuring limited edition dishes from the Year of the Rabbit menu.


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