Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Year of the Ox

According to Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2009 is a Year of the Ox which lasts from January 26, 2009 to February 14, 2010. The Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) does not begin on 1st of January, but on a date that corresponds with the second New Moon after the winter equinox, so it varies from year to year.

The years progress in cycles of 12 and each year is represented by an animal. The Year of the Ox is the second one in the 12-year cycle. The cycle of 12 repeats five times to form a large cycle of 60 years, and in each of the 12-year cycles, the animals are ascribed an element (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, or Water) with Yin or Yang characteristics, which determines their characters. The 60 years' circle is also called the Stem-Branch system. This New Year is the year of Ji Chou and 2009 is the 10th year in the current 60-year cycle.

Chinese calendar

The Chinese calendar has been in continuous use for centuries, which predates the International Calendar (based on the Gregorian Calendar) we use at the present day which goes back only some 425 years. The calendar measures time, from short durations of minutes and hours, to intervals of time measured in months, years, and centuries, entirely based on the astronomical observations of the movement of the sun, moon, and stars.

Years of the Ox

February 19, 1901 - February 7, 1902: Metal Ox

February 6, 1913 - January 25, 1914: Water Ox

January 25, 1925 - February 12, 1926: Wood Ox

February 11, 1937 - January 30, 1938: Fire Ox

January 29, 1949 - February 16, 1950: Earth Ox

February 15, 1961 - February 4, 1962: Metal Ox

February 3, 1973 - January 22, 1974: Water Ox

February 20, 1985 - February 8, 1986: Wood Ox

February 7, 1997 - January 28, 1998: Fire Ox

January 26, 2009 - February 14, 2010: Earth Ox

2021 - 2022: Metal Ox

2033 - 2034: Water Ox

Spring Festival

The oldest and most important festival in China is the Chinese New Year, which marks the first day of the lunar calendar and usually falls somewhere between late January and early February of the Gregorian calendar.

Like all Chinese traditional festivals, the date of the New Year is determined by the Chinese lunar calendar, which is divided into 12 months, each with about 29.5 days. One year has 24 solar terms in accordance with the changes of nature, stipulating the proper time for planting and harvesting. The first day of the first solar term is the Beginning of Spring, which cannot always fall on the first day of the year as in the Western Gregorian Calendar.

Besides celebrating the earth coming back to life and the start of plowing and sowing, this traditional festival is also a festival of reunions. No matter how far people are from their homes they will try their best to come back home for the reunion dinner.

Although the climax of the Spring Festival usually lasts three to five days, including New Year's Eve, the New Year season extends from the Laba Festival (mid-12th month) of the previous year to the Lantern Festival (middle of the first month of the lunar new year). The Lantern Festival marks the end of the New Year season and life becomes routine again.

What are Oxen like?

Pragmatic and down-to-earth, Ox people are motivated to work hard and have no respect for lazy or careless people. Although they can be easily trusted and find it easy to put trust in others, they are not dependent on friends and family and would rather find an answer or a solution themselves than to ask these people for help or guidance. However, others can, without a doubt rely on Oxen, who are always honest and meticulous about their responsibilities. While they do not feel the need for many distant or acquaintance-oriented friendships, they value the strong bonds they share with their partners and families, and make close friends that last a lifetime.

Though they are quite open-minded, once Ox people have made a decision about something, they rarely change it. This is a defining characteristic that can be seen as obstinacy, but it is actually the way an Ox learns to be strong, brave and straightforward. It is the way the Ox learned to take on tasks and responsibilities and how he learns to be reliable for others. Oxen are more comfortable with the well-known as opposed to the unfamiliar. Yet, beneath their unpretentious, tranquil exterior lies a heart of gold and a motivation to prosper.

They are most compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people.

(China.org.cn January 6, 2009)

1 comment:

  1. Chinese New Year for 2009 is on the 26th of January: the Year of the Yin Earth Ox.

    In Chinese Astrology each sign is represented by an animal. There are 12 animal signs in total, each corresponding to a lunar year, with each sign also having 5 elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal & Water). In certain years, particular elements are more prominent. For instance in 2005, the ‘wood’ element is very prominent so therefore it is 2005, Year of the Wood Rooster. The special combination of the Sign and Element only occurs once every 60 years.

    As Chinese Astrology is one of the oldest types of Astrology, the origins of naming the years after animals is unknown. But a popular legend is that Buddha (c.563-c.483 B.C) invited all the animals to visit him, and as a demonstration of thanks to those who came, he dedicated a year to each of the animals according to the order in which they arrived: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

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