Chinese New Year: The Year of the Ox

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Chinese New Year: The Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.

The Chinese year 4707 begins on January 26, 2009, and is celebrated as the symbol of spring’s celebration, after the fall harvest and before the spring planting season.

The date of the Chinese New Year is always changing and is dependent on the Chinese calendar, which was invented by Emperor Huangdi in the year 2637 B.C.E. Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

Chinese have a unique way of representing the New Year through animals. Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. They have 12 different animals to represent each year of the 12 year-cycle and the order remains the same throughout with the year. As the Chinese year 2008 was signified as the year of the Rat, 2009 is the year of the Ox. January 26th marks the beginning of the 15-day-long festivities through February 9th.

The Chinese New Year is also known as Yuan Tan by the Chinese, which literally means let bygones be bygones. This special moment is commemorated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Preparations for the Chinese New Year tend to begin a month from the date of the Chinese New Year. A huge clean-up is to be done before the New Year. Folks clean the house from top to bottom, to sweep away the dust of the gone year. They also give a new coat of red paint on the doors and windowpanes. As the color red is considered lucky and is believe that it scares the evil. The Chinese New Year is also a time to settle old debts. In ancient China creditors were allowed to pursue debtors. It is believed if by the New Year a debtor has not paid, he will be shamed as well as his family.

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve.


Those born in an Ox year (2009 and every 12th year preceding it) characterizes a dependable, patient, methodical and calm, hardworking, materialistic as well as an ambitious character. They make excellent painters, surgeons, engineers, and architects. Ox are conservative. methodical, and good with their hands. Ox traits include: leadership qualities, great organizers, loyal, patient as well as strong and responsible. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. They are also some of the best people one can have as colleagues in the workplace as they are believed to posses strong work ethics and display their creative side as well, especially when it comes to decorating their home. A born leader, Ox inspire confidence from all around them. Since the people born in the Ox year are also trusted to be reliable and logical, people generally turn towards them for suggestions and guidance. Their honesty and eye for details also helps them to prove their worth both in the workplace as well as in their personal lives.

Oxen include:  Napoleon Bonaparte, Walt Disney, Jane Fonda, Clark Gable, Richard Nixon, Anthony Hopkins, Walt Disney, Rosa Parks, Sylvia Porter, and Vincent Van Gogh.

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