Year of the Ox Plows In


The Chinese have a way, common in Asia, of representing each New Year with several things, primarily animals. For centuries, they have used 12 different animals to represent each year in a 12-year cycle. According to their lunar calendar we are in the last days of the Year of the Rat. The Year of the Ox breaks forth with the dawn next Monday, Jan. 26.

The Chinese have a way, common in Asia, of representing each New Year with several things, primarily animals. For centuries, they have used 12 different animals to represent each year in a 12-year cycle. According to their lunar calendar we are in the last days of the Year of the Rat. The Year of the Ox breaks forth with the dawn next Monday, Jan. 26.

That will mark the beginning of 15 day-long festivities stretching to Feb. 9, the Lantern Festival. In the old days this was much like a combination of our Thanksgiving and Christmas festivals. The kitchen gods were thrown out and good-luck couplets put on every gate and entrance-way. Red packets of pocket change for the children, good or bad!

There is much more to the New Year tradition than the names of animals, but that is the most well-known element to non-Chinese peoples.

In Chinese communities around the world there are many New Year's superstitions. (We have lots of traditions too: kissing at midnight; the first person to enter your home that day will have an influence on your life that year; all bills should be paid off, no carrying over debts; do not wash the dishes on New Year's Day; must eat black-eyed peas; etc.)

For the Chinese, one of their superstitions is the long-held idea that people born on the different years also feature different traits and characters. (They also stress paying all debts before the first day of the New Year.)

Anyone born during the Year of the Ox is thought to become a powerful leader. Like the ox, this person is considered to be dependable, calm and modest. They are said, like the ox, capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint. This person would not thinking of living off credit cards. They have many friends.

That is the kind of report people want when they go see a fortuneteller. So most of these 12 animal-years stress how good they are. There are some negatives, but they are generally offset by pleasant traits.

Generally speaking if you were born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, you were born in the Year of the Ox. The Year of the Ox ends Feb. 13, 2010, with the Year of the Tiger coming next.

The 12 years, in order, are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. The Rat will be back and start it all over on Feb. 5, 2020.

Britt Towery was born at the tail end of the Snake. Read more of his stories on the Web at www.towerytales.blogspot.com.

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Tags: Britt Towery, China, Chinese, New Year