5 Lucky Poems for the Year of the Rabbit

Lunar New Year begins January 22 (Chinese New Year), and this year is predicted to be one of hope. 2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit, which symbolizes prosperity, peace, and longevity. Those born in the year of the Rabbit (2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963…) are thought to possess wit, ingenuity, and vigilance. To invite those bright characteristics and lots of luck into 2023, we’ve picked out five special poems for the Year of the Rabbit.


Cleaning an Attic” by Brent Pallas

If you want to prepare for good luck in the new year, Chinese tradition advises cleaning as much as possible leading up to the big day. This symbolizes a fresh start, a clearing out of bad luck or ill feelings from the previous year. “Cleaning an Attic” by Brent Pallas is the perfect poem for this theme, as the speaker sifts through old memories and chooses what to cherish and what to leave behind. While your own cleaning could mean making your place sparkle, it doesn’t have to. It can also mean letting go of any negative energy you’ve been holding inside.


Redbird Love” by Joy Harjo

Red is considered a lucky color in Chinese tradition, and decorating your home and wearing red on Chinese New Year can invite new luck. It is also thought to ward off evil spirits. Legend has it, the mythical beast Nian is afraid of the color, so wearing red clothing and hanging up red decor keeps the beast away. “Redbird Love” by Joy Harjo tells the heartwarming story of a fledgling redbird who finds a mate. The redbird’s pride, power, and beauty are empowering themes to invite into the new year.


Eating Together” by Li-Young Lee

Whether it’s your biological or chosen family, it’s good luck to spend time with those you love on Chinese New Year. Whether you throw a full-on potluck or just send a simple text, that positive energy is thought to carry forward all year long. In the poem “Eating Together,” Li-Young Lee highlights the beauty of a home-cooked meal and the sense of comfort and belonging it can create.


Carrying Food Home in Winter” by Margaret Atwood

Speaking of home-cooked meals, there are countless lucky New Year’s eve dishes from across cultures. For some, it’s black-eyed peas. For others, it’s oranges. In Chinese culture, long noodles, spring rolls, and dumplings are the ticket. No matter what you choose to eat, start the new year with a delicious meal to invite good health, joy, and surplus into your 2023. To celebrate the nourishing nature of our food, try “Carrying Food Home in Winter” by Margaret Atwood. While Atwood acknowledges the work that often goes into bringing food home, preparing it, and so on, she also draws attention to its ability to build up our bodies and minds.


Chinese New Year” by Lynda Hull

We’ll wrap up this list with one of the most iconic images of the Chinese New Year: the dragon. At most Chinese New Year festivals, you’ll see a traditional lion or dragon dance. While lions symbolize luck and happiness, dragons symbolize bravery and power. However, both are thought to make room for good luck by chasing away evil spirits. Lynda Hull’s poem “Chinese New Year” opens with the dragon dance, and takes readers on a colorful and unfiltered ride through the rest of the evening.