Dust off your fluffy tails and bring out your bunny ears: This party’s sure to be hoppin’.
Thursday marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit and all over the world people will be celebrating with crazy pyrotechnics, outlandish costumes and goodies galore. Lion dancers will take to the streets and gifts of money and food (like rabbit shaped sweet rice cakes) will be given to family members. The party lasts for almost two weeks and makes up the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.
About 230 million people (more than the entire Brazilian population) will be traveling home for the festivities this week, making it the world’s biggest annual human migration.
(More on TIME.com: See photos of the Year of the Ox here)
To welcome in the New Year many Chinese have been buying baby bunnies as presents for friends and family. The Tu Baobao (Baby Rabbit) pet shop in Shanghai has had to order extra little critters to cope with the demand, and bunny costumes for dogs and cats have been flying of the shelves. Grilled, fried and roasted rabbit has also been popular, with restaurants seeing previously neglected delicacies gobbled up with gusto.
(More on TIME.com: See Animals That Can Think here)
The rabbit is the fourth of 12 astrological signs in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Each sign denotes different characteristics and is said to influence the course of life, much like the western zodiac, which has been shaken up recently by the debate over a 13th sign. If you’re a bunny baby you are said to be talented, virtuous, reserved and kind. Rabbits are also prosperous and fashionable, enjoying the finer things in life. Famous rabbits include Elle Macpherson, Jonny Depp, Sting and Drew Barrymore.
The transition from Tiger to Rabbit brings a change of vibe to the lunar year: The Year of the Rabbit is said to be a peaceful one, with those on either side of it (Tiger and Dragon) known for global unrest and change.
(Via AOL News)