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So, what exactly is the Chinese zodiac?

The Chinese zodiac, or shēng xiāo (“born resembling”), is a 12-year cycle that has been calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar for over 2,000 years.

Each year in the cycle relates to an animal sign, which are rat (鼠 shǔ), ox (牛 niú), tiger (虎 hǔ), rabbit (兔 tù), dragon (龙 lóng), snake (蛇 shé), horse (马 mǎ), sheep (羊 yáng), monkey (猴 hóu), rooster (鸡 jī), dog (狗 gǒu), and pig (猪 zhū).

2021, which begins on Feb 11, 2021, and will end on Jan 31, 2022, is a year of the Ox.

Year of the Ox

The ox is the second animal in the lunar calendar. This is because, according to a Chinese myth, the animals were decided in the order in which they arrived at a party thrown by the Jade Emperor.

The ox was set to be the first to arrive, but was tricked by the rat, who rode on its back before jumping off and scurrying in first.

In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture, and similarly in the zodiac, the Ox is seen as hardworking, positive and honest.

Oxen are honest and earnest. 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.

The Chinese believe that certain symbols, directions and colors are auspicious for each zodiac sign. This can apply to those born as that sign as well as for all of us during that particular zodiac year.

Lucky things for Oxen

Colors: blue, yellow, green
Numbers: 1, 4
Flowers: lily of the valley and lucky bamboo

Unlucky things
Colors: red, brown
Numbers: 3, 6