I Don’t Ask Questions, I Just Have Fun

from the land of Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation (库林民族的乌伦杰里人)

The traditional Chinese character “兎; tù” (literally meaning “rabbit”) is a pictographic character of the wild rabbit with long ears and a short tail, which was found in the inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the 商代 (Shāng Dynasty); 16th century – 11th century BC.

The Rabbit have a profound cultural connotation, but it also has a close relationship with Chinese politics and mythology, and it is an auspicious sign. The symbolic cultural meanings of the rabbit are closely related to its living habits, including vigilance, wittiness, cautiousness, deftness (the quality of being skilful, clever, or quick), self-protection, and (as the symbol of) the moon.

A lot of 成语; chéngyǔ (Chinese saying) are associated with the rabbit. “Quick as a fleeing bunny” describes great agility, while “A crafty rabbit has three burrows (狡兔三窟)” describes someone who has more than one line of retreat prepared, or who can flexibly resolve complex situations. The rabbit and fox are both considered to be smart and resourceful, so the saying “When the rabbit dies, the fox grieves” describes the bond between opponents who are also kindred spirits.

The rabbit is well versed at digging holes, and it usually has more than one burrow to confuse its enemy; what’s more, the rabbit doesn’t eat the grass near its own burrow. As a result, the rabbit symbolizes the crafty person who has more than one hideout to go to in an emergency. There is a popular saying in feng shui: the Monkey has 1001 tricks, the Rabbit has 1001 solutions!

The rabbit is always ready to detect its surroundings with its hypersensitive ears and eyes. Just as an old Chinese saying goes, “guarded as a virgin; swift as an escaping hare,” the rabbit will stay still when the wind blows and grass bends low, and it will run as fast as a flash of lightning if there is real danger. As a result, the rabbit was used by the ancient Chinese people to symbolize high vigilance.

The rabbit was often painted on the flags of armies in ancient times, and it was said that it would protect those who were born in the Year of the Rabbit, somewhat like the “lucky rabbit’s foot” of Western culture.

In ancient Europe, there was a tribe that considered itself descended from hares or rabbits worshiped the animals and carried parts of them for luck. The foot was particularly lucky; it was a phallic symbol, a totem that represented not only good fortune, but also increased fertility and a bountiful harvest. Hence, the foot of a rabbit is carried as an amulet / talisman believed to bring good luck.

It was also an old custom for the 汉族 (ethnic Hàn) people to hang rabbit heads on their door lintels to drive away evil spirits during the 春节(Spring Festival), although the rabbit heads were made from dough. Sometimes, snakes made from dough were used to take the place of the dough rabbit heads.

The pattern of “A Snake Coiling a Rabbit” is widely used in paper-cuttings for window decorations, coloured paintings, and even screens in China, and the fishermen of Shandong Province also use the rabbit as their mascot. “A Snake Coiling a Rabbit” is the symbolic for blessing people to have a good fortune and wealthy life.

In traditional Chinese culture, the rabbit also symbolizes lechery (excessive sexual desire; lustfulness) and fertility, due to its prolific (producing many offspring) reproductive performance, always being ready to mate during any season.

The first issue of Playboy debuted in December 1953. As for the ubiquitous (found everywhere) Playboy Rabbit logo, Hugh Hefner, the magazine’s founder, explained why the bunny (rabbit) was chosen as the magazine’s main symbol. According to Hefner, the rabbit has a sexual significance in America. It is aesthetic (concerned with beauty), so shy, fun-loving, it is constantly jumping, has the humorous sexual connotation, and because Hefner wants to offer an image that was frisky (playful and full of energy).

In Western culture, the Rabbit symbolizes new births and prosperity; therefore, it has become one of the mascots for Easter Day along with the chocolate egg.

In traditional Chinese culture, the Rabbit also symbolizes the moon. According to the ancient legend, 嫦娥 (Cháng’é) Flying to the Moon, Cháng’é drank the elixir of life and flew to the moon with a white rabbit in her arms; therefore, the ancient people believed the spot in the moon to be the rabbit. Cháng’é also known as 娥 (Héng é) or Héng the Beautiful.

People born in the Year of the Rabbit are amiable and gentle. Known for having fine / good taste, they are agile, quick-thinking and resourceful too. But they can be wary and sometimes too clever for their own good. Yet rabbits are both fortunate and forgiving.

According to Chinese 生肖 (shēngxiào), generally, Rabbit sign is gentle, timid, quiet, elegant, alert as well as quick and swift in his / her move, skillfull, kind, patient, and very responsible; sometimes reluctant to reveal his / her mind to others, but always faithful to those around them. The rabbit is also considered to be one of the happiest and luckiest signs in shí’èr shēngxiào, with people born with that sign renowned for their kindness, reliability and loyalty, though with an air of mystery (enigma) and propensity (natural tendency) to be moody!

“I don’t ask questions, I just have fun. Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive!” – Bugs Bunny.

©️COPYRIGHT Suhana Lim, 2022. No part of the materials in this article may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of Suhana Lim.

Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Suhana Lim is prohibited. All materials contained on this article is protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Suhana Lim.

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