How to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit: Lunar New Year 2023

Lunar New Year in Birmingham decorations at Mr. Chen's
Tables full of treats and decorations for Lunar New Year! (Cheyenne Trujillo / Bham Now)

Lunar New Year is just a few days away with 2023 being the Year of the Rabbit. Keep reading to learn more about what this celebrated tradition is all about and how Birmingham is recognizing it. 

What is Lunar New Year

“There are two calendars, Lunar and Gregorian. Lunar is 12-months and depends on the phases of the moon. Gregorian is a 12-month calendar based on the rotation of the sun, which is what most Western cultures use.”

Helen Kim, President, Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation

Lunar New Year is sometimes interchanged with Chinese New Year, but many other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea celebrate the holiday. Lunar New Year begins Sunday, January 22 and will last until Thursday, February 9.

Is the Year of the Rabbit your year? If you were born in the years 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951 or 1939—it’s time to celebrate! The Year of the Rabbit is said to bring hope, peace and prosperity. Follow this Chinese zodiac sign chart to find your animal year.

Asian communities in Birmingham

Although it is a part of Asian culture, this is a celebration for everyone to participate in. The Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation encourages residents to attend the many festivals around the city to educate, support the community and have fun.

“Celebrating the new year and other Lunar festivals that are a part of our heritages is a way to share that with the people here in Birmingham who may not know about it. It’s all about sharing cultural differences and that way you begin to break down barriers. People fear what they do not know and they don’t like what they fear.”

Helen Kim, President, Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation

Here is a list of some Asian culture communities you can support in Birmingham:

For even more, check out this article.

3 Lunar New Year events in Birmingham

1. BCFA | 16th Annual Birmingham Spring Festival Gala

Lunar New Year in Birmingham at Mr. Chen's
Win everything from watches to bamboo spoons. (Cheyenne Trujillo / Bham Now)

The Birmingham Chinese Festival Association is hosting its 16th annual Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) Gala. Although this year’s celebration is virtual, you can still expect to see traditional Asian dancing, drama, music and more from Birmingham’s Chinese community.

  • When: Friday, January 20 | 7PM
  • Where: ZOOM | Meeting ID: 825 443 9234 | Passcode: 888
  • Website | Facebook

2. Pinson Public Library | Lunar New Year Celebration

Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with the Pinson Public Library. There will be games, crafts and more. This fun event is for all ages. No registration is required to attend.

3. January Kayoubikai

lunar new year, asian
Eat some delicious food and hang out with members of the Japanese community. (Japan America Society of Alabama / Facebook)

All members and nonmembers are invited to join the Japan American Society of Alabama for a monthly Kayoubikai (Tuesday Gathering). January’s meeting celebrates the Lunar New Year with games and eating mouthwatering Asian cuisine at Ginza in Hoover.

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Emma Johnston
Emma Johnston
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