Year of the Ox: 6 things to know about Lunar New Year

It is now the Year of the OX as Feb. 12 said goodbye to the Year of the Rat as Asian communities celebrate the Lunar New Year.

But what is the Lunar New Year?

Here are five things to know.

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1. 12-year Chinese zodiac calendar

The Chinese zodiac calendar is on a 12-year cycle with each year marked by 12 different animals.

Each animal brings with it characteristics that symbolize various personality traits, Chinesenewyear.net said.

The animals include:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

2. Year of the Ox

If you were born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 or this year, then you’re an Ox.

Your personality could be characterized as hard working in the background, intelligent and reliable but you do not need praise, Chinesenewyear.net said. They also believe that others should do what is asked of them and stay within their boundaries.

For more on the personality traits of those born under the sign of the Ox, click here.

3. Other cycles

To go with the yearly animal connection, the lunar calendar also has a sexagenary cycle that is made of combinations of 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches.

Feb. 12 is the start of the xin chou year in this cycle. Xin is metal and chou is the earthly branch for ox. So technically this is the Year of the Metal Ox, CNN reported. That means this year will have a strong connection to things that deal with metal.

“The ox, in Chinese culture, is a hardworking zodiac sign. It usually signifies movements so, hopefully, the world will be less static than last year and get moving again in the second half of the year,” feng shui master Thierry Chow told CNN.

4. Long celebration

The New Year celebrations that mark the change between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 last only one night, but Lunar New Year is celebrated for 15 days. Normally there are three to seven days of public holidays but the entire holiday doesn’t end until the 15th day of the first lunar month or the Lantern Festival, CNN reported.

This year the Lunar New Year runs from Feb. 12 through Feb. 26.

5. Superstitions

There are various superstitions that come with the Lunar New Year. Here is a list of dos and don’ts from CNN.

  • Don’t wash or cut your hair. The first character for hair is the same for prosper. So washing or cutting hair is seen as washing away fortune.
  • Don’t buy shoes during the first lunar month. The word for shoes (haai) resembles the sound of losing and sighing in Cantonese.
  • Wear red. The color symbolizes luck and prosperity.
  • Married couples hand out red packets with cash inside to children and unmarried adults for luck.
  • Set off fireworks (where it is legal to do so). The noise scares off evil spirits.
  • Eat dumplings. They symbolize wealth for the new year.
  • Don’t clean until the second day of the Lunar New Year, not even the dishes, especially if you did a ceremonial cleaning before the new year started. You could sweep out the good luck you brought in.
  • Don’t buy books during the next 15 days. It could be considered bad luck. Also, don’t gift books because it is “like wishing bad luck upon them.”

6. 2022 — Year of the Tiger

While the Year of the Ox is just beginning, looking ahead, 2022 will mark the Year of the Tiger and it will be the year for people born in 1926. 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 and 2022, Chinesenewyear.net said.

According to the website, “Tigers are courageous and active people who love a good challenge and adventure in life.” They are considered the guardian of children and babies wear shoes and hats with tigers on them to protect against evil spirits.

For more on the personality traits for those born under the sign of the Tiger, click here.