The Chinese Zodiac is a 12-year astrological cycle, with each year represented by a different animal. The Royal Canadian Mint started a series of commemorative coins celebrating the Chinese Zodiac starting in 2022, the Year of the Tiger. The series continues with a 2023 coin for the Year of the Rabbit.
What Is the Significance of the Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac?
According to the story, the Jade Emperor invited the animals to his palace for a party. He told them that the order in which they arrived would determine their position in the Chinese Zodiac. The Rabbit knew that it was fast and thought that it would beat all the other animals to the party, especially the Ox. It started at daybreak and ran all day. Seeing that there were no other animals there upon its arrival, the rabbit took the opportunity to take a nap before finishing the final leg of the journey. When the Rabbit woke up and made the rest of its way to the palace, it found that three other animals had already arrived, including the Ox that the Rabbit had always thought was so slow.
People born in the Year of the Rabbit are said to be social and kind but somewhat guarded with other people, uncomfortable revealing their true selves. They are supposed to be strong and confident, pay close attention to detail, and be skilled at reasoning.
What Does the Design of the Coin Look Like?
As with the previous coin in the series, this coin was designed by Lily Kao. A stylized rabbit appears to be hopping over a crescent moon. This reflects the rabbit’s association with the moon in Chinese mythology.
When the moon is full, shadows on the surface sometimes resemble a rabbit. In Chinese mythology, the Moon Rabbit is the companion of the moon goddess Chang’e. Its job is to use a mortar and pestle to prepare the ingredients to make the elixir of life so the gods remain immortal.
According to another legend, the Jade Emperor was looking for someone to brew the elixir for the gods. He decided he had to pick an animal because human beings, with their greed and deceitfulness, could not be trusted with such an important task. To find a trustworthy animal, he came to Earth disguised as a poor beggar and went to the forest begging for food.
Three animals responded to the cry for help: a fox, a monkey, and a rabbit. The fox caught fish in the stream and gave them to the beggar, while the monkey harvested fruits from the trees with its nimble fingers. The kindhearted rabbit wanted to help but could do nothing but gather grass, which it knew wasn’t fit food for a human being. Instead, it threw itself into the fire so that the poor beggar man would have cooked meat to eat. Impressed by the rabbit’s selflessness, the Jade Emperor rescued it from the fire, brought it to the moon, and taught it to make divine medicines.
Artistically, the rabbit on the coin resembles the cloth tiger on the previous coin in the series. With its soft, rounded look and appealing facial expression, it resembles a child’s toy. The Chinese character for “rabbit” also appears as part of the design next to the figure.
Why Does This Coin Make a Good Gift or Collectable?
The Lunar Rabbit coin would make a great gift for babies born in 2023 as well as for anyone who is celebrating a significant event, such as a graduation or wedding, in the upcoming year. Eventually, the series will include coins representing all 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac, so it makes sense to start collecting them now. As Canadian coin dealers, we are proud to offer this delightful series. Find your 2023 Lunar Rabbit coin today.