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Katie-Ellen

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"We got more rabbit than Sainsbury's" - well, writers, innit.


The Chinese Year of the Rabbit (兔年 tùnián)



Celebrated this new year throughout the Far East, we enter the Year of the Rabbit. This is a year of the black rabbit. Black represents the element of water in Chinese astrology. The Year of the Rabbit, as with all the animal signs in the Chinese zodiac, comes round once every twelve years.

The Chinese New Year Day is celebrated Tuesday *correction* Sunday 22 January 2023. However, correctly speaking, there is a distinction to be made between this and the first day of the Chinese Astrological Year, 4 February 2023 for complicated reasons to do with the lunar calendar.

The first day of the Chinese astrological year is also the first day of the so-called Tiger Month. If a baby was born before 4 February then the baby's Chinese Zodiac sign is the Tiger, not the Rabbit. You are a 'Rabbit' if you were born in the following years: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011

But the dates vary depending on that date of the first New Moon following the winter solstice. If your birthday is in February you may need to check the dates in February for that particular year.

The Year of the Black (Water) Rabbit ends 9 February 2024 when we enter a new Dragon year.

The rabbit is believed to be one of the happiest Chinese zodiac signs ie archetypes. People born in a Rabbit year are known for caution, kindness, reliability, loyalty and also elegance and a certain atmosphere of mystery. People born in a year of the Rabbit are quick-witted, sociable, careful and inventive - occasionally ingenious.

The Rabbit is not confrontational. Where the 2022 Tiger Year was associated with outward, expansive, highly active Yang energy. The Rabbit is creative but with a watchful, wary, receptive, more inward Yin energy, implying a generally somewhat less heated year to come in 2023, though not till after the end of March at the soonest. Well, we shall see. Shan't we.

So The Rabbit is not confrontational? But what if it's an aggressive buck rabbit....

Back in the late sixties, my parents had a buck rabbit, Arnab, who offended a Syrian ambassador. His name was Arabic for rabbit. We had friends from Damascus and Palestine who lectured in Arabic Studies at the Uni of Durham. Arnab got his name when Hanan and Hussein came round for drinks one night (they were Muslim, officially but they drank alcohol- and they celebrated Christmas too) and Hanan said, 'oh, you have an ARNAB??'

They were not keen on rabbits- or rodents, 'oh Margaret (this to my mother) You have a filthy arnab!"

Arnab had just been re-homed with them from another friend. He had been too aggressive with their other rabbits.

Cue unrepentant screams of laughter. One day Hussein asked my mother to baby-sit a visiting guest to the Department of Arabic Studies at Durham University while he visited Hanan in hospital - she was not very well and was expecting a baby imminently.

This guest was a VIP, a visiting ambassador, a certain Judge Hoshea, if I have the spelling correct. He arrived at my mothers house for afternoon tea and while she was in the kitchen, Arnab who had the run of the place- my mother says she should have forestalled this- came loping into the sitting room.

Arnab had an ongoing feud with the gas fire. Apparently, he had burned his paw on it one time. Now, when he came in and found it switched on, he would piss on it...whether to demonstrate his dominance or to put the fire out, who knows. A tiny puff of steam would rise if the fire had had time to get warm enough. This was a pissing competition, which Arnab would always win.

Mother comes in with the tray, bone china cups and saucers, a dainty plate of cakes and notes the tiny whiff of steam still coming off the fireplace. Arnab has the guest at bay, loping round the feet, the elegant shoes of her distinguished guest.

Judge Hoshea is sitting rigidly, clutching the arms of the chair, his face like stone. But impassively correct, exquisitely courteous, he sips his tea, says not a word as Arnab is unceremoniously shooed from the room and shut out.

But it didn't need saying. He had clearly understood- he was among the barbarians.
 
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Pamela Jo

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22nd Jan 23 is a Sunday.
I had an enormous black bunny named Plato, the philosopher rabbit. My family was an oddity for suburban Topeka, Ks where we moved when I was 13. We arrived with a parrot, 3 young racoons, a Pomeranian and her pups stuffed into an old VW bug. Then I was given Plato for my birthday. A tiny fluff ball with exceptional presence. He grew too big for the cage inside so I put him out in the garage w the racoons. He escaped from there and made his residence in an old woodpile. At first I'd see him skittering into the yard and diving into the stack pursued by cat or dog. Then a curious thing happened. I'd see dogs turning and running from him. Picking him up he must have weighed 30 pounds. Hair fluffed he looked twice as big. Important lessons learned about perception and power. One evening the neighbours across from us were having a boozy party. One fellow about to make a run for more margarita mix stopped as he blearily eyed a disturbance down the block coming closer and closer. The neighbour's Labrador with Plato in hot pursuit ran past the drunk and dived under the neighbours porch. Then my Black Fluff Avenger loped across the street to our lawn where he seemed to disappear. Poof. Probably down one of the tunnels he had dug under our shrubs. The man looked at me a bit unsteadily. "Did you see that?" Fifteen year old me, "See what?" The man staggered back inside muttering to himself. I like to think he changed a lifetime habit of drinking and driving.

Katie-Ellen I can very clearly imagine your visitor. Loved the story. I hope you are writing more in the same vein.
 

Katie-Ellen

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I had an enormous black bunny named Plato, the philosopher rabbit. My family was an oddity for suburban Topeka, Ks where we moved when I was 13. We arrived with a parrot, 3 young racoons, a Pomeranian and her pups stuffed into an old VW bug. Then I was given Plato for my birthday. A tiny fluff ball with exceptional presence. He grew too big for the cage inside so I put him out in the garage w the racoons. He escaped from there and made his residence in an old woodpile. At first I'd see him skittering into the yard and diving into the stack pursued by cat or dog. Then a curious thing happened. I'd see dogs turning and running from him. Picking him up he must have weighed 30 pounds. Hair fluffed he looked twice as big. Important lessons learned about perception and power. One evening the neighbours across from us were having a boozy party. One fellow about to make a run for more margarita mix stopped as he blearily eyed a disturbance down the block coming closer and closer. The neighbour's Labrador with Plato in hot pursuit ran past the drunk and dived under the neighbours porch. Then my Black Fluff Avenger loped across the street to our lawn where he seemed to disappear. Poof. Probably down one of the tunnels he had dug under our shrubs. The man looked at me a bit unsteadily. "Did you see that?" Fifteen year old me, "See what?" The man staggered back inside muttering to himself. I like to think he changed a lifetime habit of drinking and driving.

Katie-Ellen I can very clearly imagine your visitor. Loved the story. I hope you are writing more in the same vein.

Plato....howlllll
 

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