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Posts Tagged ‘chinese new year’

Photo: KevinFielder at Imgur.
For those who celebrate the Lunar New Year (and those who tag along for fun), this is the Year of the Ox.

I asked a friend who was born in Northern China about the attributes of people born in the Year of the Ox. He told me it was all nonsense. Unsatisfied, asked, “Do you know anyone born in the Year of the Ox?” His father, he said. “So what’s he like?” I asked. “Obstinate. He’s hardworking but he’s really stubborn. Not open to new ideas.”

Sounds like an ox to me. You don’t have to believe in the Chinese Zodiac to see why it’s fun.

I went to a website called Chinese New Year, here, and to Wikipedia, here, to see what I could see. Wikipedia reports, “In Chinese mythology, many myths about oxen or ox-like entities include celestial and earthly beings. … In some cases, Chinese myths focus on oxen-related subjects, such as plowing and agriculture or ox-powered carriage. …

“According to some old mythological traditions there was a race held by a great deity to determine which creatures, in which order, would be the namesakes of the twelve-year cycle. The race was run, and swum, the finishing line being across a great river. The Rat and the Ox crossed easily enough, the Ox due to being large, powerful, and adept both on land and in water: the Rat asked the good-natured Ox for a ride on its back, but then ungratefully jumped off at the last minute to cross the finish line first.

“The Year of the Ox does not exactly correspond with years of the commonly used Gregorian calendar. For the 2021–2022 Gregorian time period, the Year of the Ox begins on 12 February 2021 and ends 31 January 2022.

This is a year of the Metal Ox.

The Chinese New Year website says, “In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal. Because of its role in agriculture, positive characteristics, such as being hardworking and honest, are attributed to it.”

If you go to that website, you can check to see if you know anyone born in the Year of the Ox. Recent years include 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, etc. You can also learn what the future may hold for an Ox Year baby, and what animal years provide the best marriage partners.

“Oxen are honest and earnest,” says the Chinese New Year site. “They are low key and never look for praise or to be the center of attention. This often hides their talent, but they’ll gain recognition through their hard work. They believe that everyone should do what’s asked for them and stay within their bounds. Though they are kind, it’s difficult for them to understand persuasion using pathos.

“[Men] born in the Ox Year are reliable and trustworthy. They put their entire heart into everything they do. They feel great responsibility towards their family as well. However, due to their confidence (almost arrogance), they don’t allow anyone to go against their rules. They hold [their] children to high expectations, even though it might be unrealistic.”

If you know people born in 1973, say — which, like this year, is a Metal Year of the Ox — you can tell them that they “face obstacles early on, although there are no financial worries. Friends and family aren’t much help, but [Metal Year Oxen] will be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.”

Besides metal, there are other specific types of Ox Year: Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. I heard about that taxonomy when my second grandson was born. Suzanne had visited Bhutan before her marriage, and was interested when a Buddhist monk suggested a name for her firstborn. She used the Swedish translation of that name as a middle name.

That baby came in a Dragon Year, and we learned he was, specifically, a “Water Dragon.” He does love to swim and sail, but he has a mysterious hostility to ice!

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It’s back to the Book of Holidays Around the World to see what Alice van Straalen has to say about Lunar New Year (also called Spring Festival or Chinese New Year).

“A huge dragon — a symbol of good luck — leads the Chinese New Year processions. It’s made of bamboo covered in paper or silk, and more than 50 people may support it underneath, making it weave and wind though the streets. Dancers, acrobats, clowns, and stilt walkers accompany the dragon, and firecrackers go off to scare away evil spirits. In Chinese homes families hang red scrolls printed with wishes for good luck and prosperity, and children receive coins inside little red packets.”

When my husband was working in Shanghai, I went to visit at Lunar New Year and have never seen — or heard — so many fireworks in my life. More recently, at Water Fire in Providence, a summer event, I got to see a fun dragon dance.

(Hmmm, just remembered I had a dragon rug I could use to illustrate this post. Happy Year of the Monkey!)

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Happy Lunar New Year, Spring Festival, and Year of the Horse!

I love any excuse to celebrate a holiday and went over to Chinatown at lunch in hopes of seeing a dragon dance or something.

As early as 11:30, the restaurant Bubor Cha Cha, here, was packed. I was the only non-Asian. I ordered spring rolls to go. At the Chinatown gate, a young couple (husband American, wife Chinese) asked me to photograph them with their baby. On Harrison Ave., someone was selling fresh produce.

My husband is the Year of the Horse. He says he’s a Water Horse, whereas this is the Year of the Wooden Horse.

Hmmm. Wooden Horse? Wherever you are this year, Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

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A couple weeks ago, a friend told Suzanne that not only is 2012 the lucky Year of the Dragon, it’s the Year of the Golden Dragon — in her view the luckiest year of all.

But a little web research suggests that something was lost in the translation. The Year of the Golden Dragon was Y2K, 2000.

Not to worry. All dragons are lucky. This is the year of the Water Dragon.

The Chinese Fortune Calendar site says, “2012 is Year of the Dragon and it will arrive on February 4, 2012. (Note: Chinese New Year Day is on January 23, 2012. The first day of 2012 Chinese Astrology Year is on February 4, 2012.) Many people must be eager to know if they will have better luck in the coming year than previous years. Here, we want to use Chinese Astrology Five Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth) theory to explain people’s fortune in 2012 and foresee what will be happening to them in the year of the Dragon.” Read more to learn how metal is the element associated with the Golden Dragon.

Moving right along, the 2012 Dragon site observes, “The fact that 2012 is a Water year is extremely important and demands consideration. That’s because Water nourishes the Dragon’s fixed element, Wood, giving this Dragon a big advantage over the rest of the breed when it comes to bringing good luck. The same holds true for accomplishment. This Dragon is actually going to realize some of those big dreams!” So that site maintains that the Water Dragon is the luckiest dragon.

Wikipedia: “In Chinese Taoist thought, water is representative of intelligence and wisdom, flexibility, softness and pliancy; however, an over-abundance of the element is said to cause difficulty in choosing something and sticking to it. In the same way, Water can be fluid and weak, but can also wield great power when it floods and overwhelms the land.” In our family, the attribute of not being able to choose something is called “The I-do-and-I-don’t problem.”

The Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation weighs in: “The dragon sign is associated with spring and the dragon water sign is likely to become a flowing river rather than a stagnant lake, which means that you need to begin 2012 off to a fast start as things are expected to happen early in the year. Hopefully we used some of the quiet time in the past year to plan your moves for 2012.” Uh-oh.

But given that Suzanne is in the jewelry business (Luna & Stella), she might be most interested to know that in China, jewelry buying is going berserk for the Year of the Dragon.

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