Happy Chinese New Year – Kung Hei Fat Choy! (Cantonese) or Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Mandarin). The Year of the Rabbit starts Sunday, but did you know that other Asian countries may be celebrating the Year of the Cat?

Canadians across the country will take part in Chinese New Year celebrations this weekend. And maybe this is a chance to recommit to the New Year’s resolution you may have already given up on (because according to some sources, most of us would have done just that as of last Thursday).

Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year and it’s celebrated in various parts of Asia – Tibet and Mongolia follow a similar lunar calendar that will start the Year of the Rabbit on Feb. 20.

So for your weekend reading pleasure, I’ve reached across the global network of The Conversation to assemble a package that explains everything you need to know about the Year of the Rabbit (and rabbits themselves), as well as some motivational articles about setting new goals (because it’s never too late).

I hope you will take time this weekend to listen to the latest episode of The Conversation Weekly podcast, which this week is hosted by our very own Nehal El-Hadi.

Have a great weekend and we’ll be back in your Inbox on Monday.

Scott White

CEO | Editor-in-Chief

Weekend Reads: The Year of the Rabbit (or Cat)

In the Year of the Rabbit, spare a thought for all these wonderful endangered bunny species

Emma Sherratt, University of Adelaide

You might think of bunnies as ubiquitous, but it’s actually a relatively small group of species – and many of them are unique, little-known, and in trouble.

This lunar year will be the Year of the Rabbit or the Year of the Cat, depending on where you live

Megan Bryson, University of Tennessee

In most parts of East Asia, the new year that begins on Jan. 22 corresponds to the rabbit. In Vietnam though it will usher in the Year of the Cat.

New year resolutions: why your brain isn’t wired to stick to them – and what to do instead

Pragya Agarwal, Loughborough University

We need to understand our brains to achieve true change.

Kicking off the new year by cleansing your body with a detox diet? A dietitian unpacks the science behind these fads

Taylor Grasso, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Detox diets and cleanses supposedly clear the body of allegedly toxic substances. But the evidence suggests otherwise.

It’s OK to aim lower with your new year’s exercise resolutions – a few minutes a day can improve your muscle strength

Ken Nosaka, Edith Cowan University

New research shows even one muscle contraction a day, for five days a week, is effective at improving muscle strength if you keep it up for a month.

12 ways to finally achieve your most elusive goals

Peter A. Heslin, UNSW Sydney; Lauren A. Keating, EM Lyon Business School; Ute-Christine Klehe, University of Giessen

Setting goals is one thing. Achieving them another. We’ve distilled the research down to 12 goal-enabling tips.

Where did the new year’s resolution come from? Well, we’ve been making them for 4,000 years

Joanne Dickson, Edith Cowan University

New Year resolutions continue to capture people’s imagination, hopes, and promises for betterment. Even after 4,000 years, the New Year continues to symbolise an opportunity for a fresh start.

How 19th-century Victorians’ wellness resolutions were about self-help — and playful ritual fun

Nicole Dufoe, University of Toronto

The 1859 book ‘Self-Help’ by Scottish journalist and physician Samuel Smiles was written in bite-sized pieces reminiscent of today’s wellness and lifestyle New Year tips.


Social welfare services are being cut across the world, but providing them is about more than just money – podcast

Nehal El-Hadi, The Conversation; Daniel Merino, The Conversation

Amid further strain on public funding, we ask: What’s the future of the welfare state in developed and developing nations?