Some people—and their pets, too—have all the luck. This is my mantra for 2023. After all, this Chinese Year is the year of the Water Rabbit, and yes, that’s me—a Water Rabbit.
Is keeping a rabbit lucky for the home?
Rabbits have been known as lucky pets.
I grew up with lots of pets—rabbits were among them. My niece used to be very emotionally invested in a pet rabbit that she had a very strong, loving bond with, which helped her in maintaining a peaceful life.
In the Chinese Zodiac the rabbit is the fourth in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. Rabbits are known to be a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are believed to be vigilant, witty, quick-minded, and ingenious.
Here are three “lucky” insights shared by some great pet-lovers that have stayed with me over my years of writing about pets.
Tim Yap: ‘Yin, Yang and Yap’
Tim Yap is one of the more popular media influencers. But I know Tim as an avid pet lover. He has dogs, cats and turtles, among his stable of pets.
“I find them therapeutic because I have such warm-blooded animals (including myself) at home, so it's a nice balance,” Tim says when I asked him if he had turtles for the luck they bring. “Yin, Yang and Yap.”
Tim believes that, although it might be a coincidence, somehow when he adopted his turtle from an expat couple heading back to the United States, a huge account came to Yaparazzi to have their event and branding produced.
“They say having a turtle is lucky, but I say we are also lucky to have them,” he added. “But it is our fortune of having other creatures co-exist with us that enhances harmony at home. I like to see my home bustling with many different lives, from animals to plants and humans, too. Having them is one of my life's best blessings.”
Richard Gomez: Fighting fish that don’t fight
Congressman Richard Gomez shares his home with his wife, Ormoc Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez and daughter Juliana. Adding warmth to his home are his family of dogs and a collection of fighting fish. When I interviewed him he said that no, the fish don’t fight; they are judged for their beauty.
Goma grew up with a passion for fighting fish, which he would buy outside his school when he was growing up.
The first to greet him when he comes home from work are his barking dogs. But he will take his time to relax as he watches the fish swim.
Does he consider his fish collection lucky?
The luck that comes with owning his pets is just an added bonus to his already-blessed life. It is the passion in Goma that has made him excel at everything he does.
Washington Sycip: Turtles, Owls and Roosters
When Washington Sycip was alive, he had decades’ worth of unusual figurines on his table: turtles, owls and roosters.
It was a Japanese businessman, whom Sycip advised to set up a business in Singapore, who got him started on his owl collection, after the venture turned out to be a big success.
Sycip was born in 1921, the Year of the Rooster. I remember being told that his rooster ornaments were given by friends who knew he was born in the Year of the Rooster.
As for the turtles, a story is told of a cartoon Sycip saw while on a business trip to Shanghai, which inspired his turtle collection.
“There was an old man talking to the turtle. So I asked, what is the old man asking the turtle? He had asked a question about what he should be doing with age, and the turtle had one answer: ‘Take it easy.’”
Pets and animal companions we live with bring luck into our lives, for sure. But more than luck it is the love, companionship and loyalty that a pet companion offers that make us make us want to spend our lives with them.
There are so many superstitions—good luck, bad luck—that we have grown up with about the pets we know and love. I looked into my pet crystal ball and have come up with some of our popular pets and how they can attract luck for us in 2023. I see eight lucky pets.
Rabbits. So, are rabbit pets lucky in 2023? Ancient Saxons looked forward to seeing their ﬁrst rabbit after a long winter (which for us would be COVID years), because they believed that spotting a rabbit was a message of a lush and hopeful spring to come. And forget about the luck of a rabbit’s foot—just get a pet bunny and see how much owning one can make your home loving and fun.
Dogs. One of the most common stories I have heard is about the loyalty of dogs. During a few of my past interviews it was not uncommon to hear stories about how their loyal dog “took the place” of a human they sensed was in danger and died for him—saving their human’s life for another day.
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Celts all described the dog as a sacred guardian of the Otherworlds. For the Celts, dogs are also a representation of heroism. They are said to embody attributes such as courage, persistence, and virility. For the Chinese, dogs are a symbol of friendship, good luck, loyalty, obedience, and prosperity.
There is a belief that letting a stray dog into your house is said to bring good fortune. I believe that this is a good way to encourage adoption from animal shelters—shelter dogs bring all the luck.
Turtles. The turtle is considered lucky in China because of their longevity. There, they are linked to hope and represent the wish for a long life. With their protective shells and charming demeanor, they are often considered symbols of tranquility.
Goldﬁsh. If you get along swimmingly with fish, you might just want to get one of these for your ﬁshbowl. Goldﬁsh are one of the eight sacred symbols of Buddha, representing fertility, abundance, and harmony. Ancient Greeks believed that goldﬁsh brought good luck to their marriages, while Egyptians brought these pets into their homes to add a touch of positivity to domestic life.
If you want prosperity to enter your home, feng shui experts recommend having eight regular goldﬁsh and a single black one to block bad luck.
Cats. In many stores we are greeted by a Maneki-Neko, that beckoning cat that can be found at the front of many East Asian shops, particularly in Japan and China.
I visited the Gotokuji Temple, located in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo, a Buddhist temple that is said to be the birthplace of the Maneki-Neko, or “luck-inviting cat figurine.”
There are many folktales to explain why these little ﬁgurines came about, but all of them have one thing in common: the belief that cats bring good luck.
In Russia, blue cats were often thought lucky, while the Japanese and British prefer calicos and tortoiseshells (three-colored cats) as their lucky picks. Black cats are thought to be bad omens in the US, but are considered lucky in Britain, where a proverb even says, “Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack.” In the south of France, black cats are called “matagots” or magicians, and owners who feed and take care of them well receive good luck.
Frogs. Is a frog to your liking? Frogs have long been considered good-luck symbols by many cultures that depend on rain for bountiful harvests. A frog can be a sign of good weather for planting and harvesting. These amphibians are seen as a symbol of fertility, transformation, and safe travel. This is why many Chinese shops have frog charms situated at the areas where they ring up their sales.
Arowana. This ﬁsh is known for its power in feng shui. It symbolizes good health, prosperity, happiness, wealth, and power. Collectors who spend millions believe that keeping Arowana ﬁsh drives away evil spirits and bad omens. The ﬁsh is said to bring positive energy in the form of wealth and ample opportunities to excel.
Whether your pet is considered lucky or not, I feel that life with pets is extremely lucky.