Chinese New Year Names: The Year of the Rabbit

February 3, 2011 Linda Rosenkrantz

Elisabeth Wilborn, creator of one of our absolute favorite blogs, You Can’t Call It “It,” imparts ideas on how to tie your child’s name to the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. You can also find Elisabeth at The Itsy Factor, or at home with her family in Brooklyn.

How happy I am to usher in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.  It’s not a rat, a tiger, a snake or something equally frightful sounding.  It’s not a pragmatic pig nor an ox, as my own children claim, but a lovable cute bunny rabbit (we like to refer to the pig year as “the year of the golden boar” by the way– so much nicer).

Even if you’re not Chinese, don’t you suspect that after thousands of years maybe they’re onto something?  Not only does the rabbit sound sweet and cuddly, but it also happens to have some of the most pleasant characteristics associated with it.  Considered a most auspicious sign, your 2011 bon vivant will have good taste, good fortune, and live forever.  Or something like that. Those born in a rabbit year have an appreciation of beauty and make great artists and curators, favor peace over conflict, are demure, well-liked, and well-mannered.  A downfall may be that their taste for luxury borders on over indulgence, but being lucky with money, this likely won’t result in dire straits.  Above all, they have a tendency to be happy.

When the Chinese look at the moon, they see the hare standing underneath the cassia tree, grasping the elixir of immortality.  During the autumn harvest festival, Chinese children carry paper lanterns shaped like rabbits and climb up the hills to observe the lovely moon hare, which symbolizes the start of day and the yin of heaven. 

These names reflect symbols and characterizations associated with the rabbit.  While this may be a cultural bastardization of sorts to go from Chinese astrology to Greek mythology, consider it a way to honor more than one heritage.




The Moon:



East, the Zodiac Location:

Green, the Symbolic Color:

Wood, the Fixed Element:

Spring, the Rabbit’s Season:


Chinese names (Remember, these can have different meanings depending on the tone — all definitions from

  • An- “peace”
  • Chan– “prosperous”
  • Chen– “morning”
  • Chun- “spring”
  • Hui- “wise”
  • Lin– “forest” or “fine jade”
  • Mei– “beautiful” or “plum”
  • Min– “clever”
  • Mu- “wood”
  • Ning- “peaceful”
  • Zheng- “just, proper”


  • Harlan- “hare land”
  • Harley- “hare clearing”
  • Shashi- Sanskrit, a name for the moon that means “in possession of a hare”


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