Year of the Rabbit: What 2023 Has in Store for You
The Year of the Rabbit might bring hope and prosperity your way—as well as a few surprises. Here's when you can expect luck to be on your side.
The last time it was the Year of the Rabbit, astrologer Jen Ingress found a new home. Like a rabbit deciding on the perfect spot to create a burrow, she was faced with a barrage of options. “It was hard for me to decide—there were many pros and cons,” she says. “I’m not saying that the Rabbit is indecisive. It just may not be entirely obvious what is the right decision when making a choice, and you might have to do some thinking like I did.”
That was 2011, and it was a year marked by decisions—something that will also characterize 2023’s Year of the Rabbit, which starts when the Lunar New Year kicks off on the second new moon after the winter solstice. (This year, it falls on Sunday, Jan. 22.) There will also be a need for grace when it comes to interactions with others. This is quite different than last year’s Tiger year. Think of it this way: “Tigers can take on anything and bring courage, a strong moral code and responsiveness,” says Ingress. “Whereas this year, we can anticipate more diplomacy or more cautious approaches on the world stage and for individuals.”
But that’s not all: In Chinese astrology, there aren’t just 12 astrology signs but also five zodiac elements, and this year, that element is Water. It’s the first time there’s been a Water Rabbit in 60 years—and the last one, back in 1963, changed the course of American history. So, what will 2023’s Year of the Water Rabbit hold for you? Let’s find out. Then, once you’re up to speed, check out the Chinese New Year traditions that can help you start 2023 on the right foot.
Get Reader’s Digest’s Read Up newsletter for more zodiac insights, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.
Rabbit zodiac personality traits
Rabbits are known for being cute, lovable and high-spirited (not to mention bouncy), but they’re also a bit enigmatic. After all, you can never really tell what they’re thinking because they don’t exhibit a variety of facial expressions. “Rabbits are well-liked, but they’re not that easy to read or transparent,” Ingress notes. “These individuals are socially graceful, charming and diplomatic, but they also need time to themselves.”
A potential pitfall for Rabbit people is that like an actual rabbit, they will tend to seek an easy escape when put on the spot or might not want to face the reality of the situation. And that’s definitely something to keep in mind when entering an entire year represented by this animal.
How 2023’s Year of the Rabbit will affect you
In general, Rabbit years abound with creativity and an appreciation for the arts. You might feel yourself being pulled toward exploring museums, music festivals and performances. In social gatherings, the Year of the Rabbit will encourage more cordiality and social niceties. If disputes arise, diplomacy will win out. Chances are, you’ll also face many options, but like the rabbit’s burrow, you should have multiple exit points and not get too attached to specific decisions. “Rabbits always like having a plan B,” Ingress says. “So this is a year to have more than one plan B—and [to have] continued social interactions in order to reach a decision.”
RD.com, Getty Images
Now let’s turn to 2023’s zodiac element, water, which signifies travel and movement. While 2022 was also a water year, it was more of a flood. People were itching to get back out into the world after COVID restrictions were lifted, so there was movement in the form of travel. On another note, the Russian invasion of Ukraine forced people to seek refuge in other countries. The element of water paired with the Tiger sign made the year one that required quick reactions and strong responses in the face of upheaval.
In comparison, the Year of the Water Rabbit will feel more like a small stream when it comes to going places and, more generally speaking, the movement in our lives. “This year will bring learning opportunities, an expansion of ambitions, more time reaching for goals and a general sense of curiosity,” says Ingress. However, because of the unpredictable nature of water, the world might still feel precarious in 2023. The last time there was a Water Rabbit, in 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated, notes Ingress. It was a moment felt by many but not an event that moved the masses to make tough decisions. So this year, it will be important to stay alert—be ready to manage surprises and get comfortable with uncertainty in your life and the world.
Which signs will thrive in the Year of the Rabbit?
The Chinese zodiac signs that will have a great year are those that are compatible with the Rabbit—namely, the Sheep, Dog and Pig. Each of these signs will see a wealth of opportunities for growth in their careers, relationships or creative passions. That said, not all opportunities will pan out: Like in the rabbit’s race with the turtle, do not be deceived by appearances when it comes to decision making—what appears to be the best decision might not be so. Specifically, Dogs and Pigs might face difficult decisions in the workplace.
For all these signs, it is important to stay calm this year, even when things seem to be going well. Of course, that’s usually easier said than done, though these animal signs are the best equipped to face that challenge—especially when in one another’s company. Pig and Rabbit are a perfect match for each other in terms of temperament and personality. Add Sheep and Dog into the mix and you’ve got yourself a party. “When they’re all together, they balance each other out,” says Ingress. People with these signs tend to have an easygoing way about them and are deeply compassionate, and both of those qualities jibe with the Rabbit. Sheep’s romanticism, Dog’s supportiveness and Pig’s relatability work well with Rabbit, and a gentle yet responsive energy will radiate from groups of friends with these signs.
Which signs will have more difficulty in the Year of the Rabbit?
Sorry, Dragons, Snakes, Roosters and Rats—you will clash with the Rabbit energy this year. Dragons are born leaders and enjoy conquering challenges, but an eagerness to achieve will not pan out in the slower-paced Rabbit year where decisions will have to be deliberated carefully and a person’s choices might have to be revisited.
Snake is sometimes considered a small dragon, and similarly, their determination may prove challenging this year. Rooster is also tenacious and high-achieving, as an animal known for greeting the morning sun. Finally, the resourceful and quick-witted Rat may be able to adapt to the surprises the Year of the Rabbit brings, but their lack of courage may cause them to falter when plans change.
But don’t worry—all is not lost for these signs in 2023. According to Ingress, a specific Chinese zodiac year won’t predict whether luck comes your way or doesn’t, but rather whether the year will be like a river that is “smooth flowing or one that is more choppy and therefore stressful, with multiple obstacles to face.” Organizing your home according to the principles of feng shui is one way to help you deal with the stress life brings.
How will the other signs fare in the Year of the Rabbit?
People born in Ox, Horse and Goat years generally won’t experience any extreme highs or lows in 2023. Ox’s determination and Horse’s energy should be able to handle what the year throws at them. Comparably, Goat’s perseverance should propel them through what’s thrown their way. But Tigers may face some ups and downs. Tiger’s enthusiasm and boldness may or may not work to their advantage when it comes to the surprises a Rabbit year brings.
As for people with the Rabbit sign, things are a little less clear-cut. You may have heard that a person’s zodiac birth year (Ben Ming Nian) can be extremely unlucky. So, should Rabbits watch their backs this year? Not necessarily. Ingress notes that this idea comes from another Chinese belief that change will occur every 12 years, in the Jupiter cycle of a person’s life. “That change could be positive or negative,” she shares. “But there is a change.”
Lucky times of the year for each sign
What do the tides of the Water Rabbit hold this year? Scroll down and find your Chinese zodiac sign to learn which months in 2023 will be the most prosperous for you.
Birth years: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
People born in the Year of the Rat will likely experience abundance throughout the Year of the Water Rabbit, because like Rabbits, Rats are able to form networks and connections. In May, Rats will feel appreciated by others, and next January, Rats will have an opportunity to grow their wealth.
Birth years: 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
For those born in the Year of the Ox, December will be a lucky month. Ox people will feel a sense of balance throughout the year, without many highs or lows, though June and April may be trickier for them.
Birth years: 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
March will be the luckiest month for those born in the Year of the Tiger. May, on the other hand, might be more challenging. Overall, Tiger people will find themselves more in the middle of the road in 2023, faring well but not experiencing extraordinary success.
Birth years: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Get ready, Rabbits: Your lucky month is right around the corner! You’ll find increased luck in February, as well as in July. You might find yourself making less forward movement in April, June, September and December. Water Rabbits born in 1963 should be careful, as too much water elementally can be difficult to bear and cause stress. Check out these zodiac memes when you need a laugh.
Birth years: 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
May and September will be fairly good months for Dragons, but they should be cautious in March, April, October and January. “The Dragon is struggling,” Ingress acknowledges. But, she adds, this should not be a cause for concern, because “in Buddhist tradition and the history of the Asian culture, there is a sobering tendency to acknowledge suffering more than success because successes are typically few and far between.”
Birth years: 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Snake people may have a more trying year because their energy clashes with Rabbit energy, and they will have to deal with more conflicts throughout the year. April is their luckiest month of 2023, when they could attract more attention from colleagues or romantic interests.
Birth years: 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
The outlook for Horses in 2023 is a steady one, but they should proceed with a bit more caution in March and January. In February, there will be opportunities to develop relationships, and November looks to be the month where they will find the most luck. Those born in the Year of the Metal Horse (the last one was in 1990) should be more cautious about impulsive decisions this year.
Sheep (or Goat)
Birth years: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Sheep will find opportunities throughout the year but especially in March, June and November. Just be warned that October and next January may be less steady. Wood Sheep, born in 1955 and 2015, will find this year to be one of growth.
Birth years: 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
September will be an optimal month for Monkeys. On the other hand, they should be wary in May, July and November, as surprises from the Water Rabbit might lead them to make rash decisions.
Birth years: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Rooster people might experience a turning point during the year when it comes to their health, career or finances. For the Rooster, April and August are shaping up to be months in which they will fare the best. September and December will pose more challenges for them.
Birth years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
While Dogs will experience many opportunities throughout 2023, they won’t all culminate in success. November may change all that, as that’s this sign’s luckiest month this year. September is the one month when they might feel their career trajectory take a downward turn.
Birth years: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
If Pigs focus their energy in March, July, August and October, their concentration should pay off. Born in 1935 or 1995? Those are the years of the Wood Pig, and people born then will be particularly lucky in 2023.
If you’re also interested in Western astrology, find out about your sign’s zodiac element and power color to help make 2023 even better.
- Jen Ingress, professional astrologer and instructor at the International Academy of Astrology
- Travel China Guide: “Year of the Rabbit”