Gathered from snippets from all over the Internet…
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
The Chinese lunar calendar is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2637 B.C.E., when the first cycle of the zodiac was introduced. One complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five elemental cycles of 12 years each. The 78th cycle started on February 1984, and will end on February 2044.
Twelve animals were assigned to each of the 12 years when, according to legend, the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from Earth. Only twelve animals came to bid him farewell. As a reward he named a year after each one in the order that it arrived. First came the Rat, then the Ox, the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.
“So,” astrologer Robert Wilkinson explained a few years ago, “like other systems, Chinese Astrology has twelve ‘signs.’ However, in another significant difference with Western Astrology, Chinese Astrology gives us five elements, rather than the four elements of Western Astrology.
“In Chinese Astrology, people born in years ending in 0 or 1 are said to be Metal; those born in years ending in 2 or 3 are Water; those born in years ending in 4 or 5 are Wood; those born in years ending in 6 or 7 are Fire; and those born in years ending in 8 or 9 are Earth.”
That’s how we have a 60-year cycle: the five elements times the 12 zodiac animals.
The animal ruling the year in which you were born exercises a profound influence on your life. An old proverb says that, “This is the animal that hides forever in your heart.”
Say Goodbye to the Metal Rat of 2020
One website notes that the “chaotic and shocking” nature of 2020 was not unexpected, since it was a Metal Rat Year.
Author Sarah Brownlee explains —
Once very sixty years, the same year comes around, and they tend to have similar themes. Metal Rat years have never been easy, and often represent great upheaval and change. Metal itself is the toughest of all the elements.
Metal people are tough – and I mean tough. They have a steely nerve and are often the last ones standing due to their indomitable nature. In the negative, they can descend into tyrannical behavior if their ego is not kept in check.
The Ox follows the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac making 2021 the Year of the Metal Ox. Does that mean we will be experiencing more shock, chaos and sudden change as we have in the Rat year?
The Metal Ox year will present its own challenges but just like the Ox itself, it will be a year of hard work, determination and building – or rather, rebuilding. After the chaotic moments of the Rat year, the Ox year will be about rebuilding things to make way for something better.
Olly, Olly Oxen Free!
Okay, maybe that’s not what the Year of the Ox is about, but, in agreement with Ms. Brownlee, author Konbi of Karmaweather dives deeper:
(the boldface emphasis is mine)
According to the 2021 Chinese horoscope, the Year of the Metal Ox 2021 is synonymous with hard work, discipline, loyalty and a fair appreciation of tangible reality. On its advent, from the Chinese New Year 2021 onwards, the characteristics and dynamics that gain influence are constancy, a taste for traditions, but also the internalization of feelings, the sense of savings and the attraction for discipline.
In 2021, the annual energies … promote stability and prosperity for short-term projects. Before launching any project in 2021, it is therefore essential to plan carefully the architecture of each stage, so as not to compromise the viability of the operation, even if this takes a little more time than expected.
Such an attitude, prudent and lucid, will ultimately have a positive and lasting effect, necessary for the just realization and consolidation of the structural projects of all 12 Chinese zodiac signs…
Even if a year governed by the Ox is often synonymous with prosperity and consolidation of gains, it nevertheless presents its share of obstacles to overcome.
This is why in 2021…it is good practice to focus more on what is real and concrete to avoid getting lost in illusions as desirable, as their taste is potentially bitter.
To be clearer, it is essential in 2021 to first prove yourself in the desired field of activity in order to be able to earn or keep your position.
Konbi continues —
In traditional Chinese astrology, the Metal Ox refers to patriarchy, ethics, righteousness, construction, frankness, intuition, versatility, hard work and respect for others.
With the Metal Ox, the spirit prevails over the heart. Faced with this slow rise in [rigorousness], it is a question of finding the right strategy to succeed in the game.
Nevertheless during the Year of the Ox 2021, the majority of Chinese zodiac signs will be able to adapt to the multiple interaction situations that do not necessarily suit them. In terms of social relationships, it is also during the Ox Years that excess anger causes the most irreversible damage…
According to the precepts of Wu Xing and Feng Shui, the 2021 Chinese zodiac element, Metal, is synonymous with duration, resistance and loyalty. It also designates teamwork and interest in the community. In Chinese cosmology, it is associated with the planet Venus, with Autumn (the harvest season) and drought.
Metal also corresponds to the West direction, in symbolic association with the sunset. At the level of the human body, in a Chinese medicine and food approach, Metal is linked to the lungs, to the white color and to the pungent taste and flavors.
Interesting that COVID-19 is linked to the lungs, and to our ability to taste. Let us hope that the Metal Ox will aid in the healing of these concerns.
And I will perhaps further reveal my ignorance by musing that there seem to be strong similarities between the Chinese Ox and the Western zodiac sign of Taurus, which, as it happens, is ruled by Venus.
Celebrations in the Time of Pandemic
The Lunar New Year marks the ending of Winter and the beginning of Spring, so it is also known as the Spring Festival. Not confined only to China, it is celebrated in many countries across eastern Asia, as well as where there are significant Chinese populations everywhere. This is an estimated total of 1.4 billion people.
Traditionally, it is a time for family reunions, for honoring ancestors, and for thanking the Gods for their blessings.
Obviously it will look a lot different this year, but it is a joyous time nonetheless. Countless virtual celebrations are taking the place of travel and in-person gatherings. Making it “a truly globalized celebration,” according to Wei Zhou, founder and president of Weiber Consulting, a firm that specializes in bridging Asian and Western markets, culture, financial interests, and more.
Top orchestras in the United States, including the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra, have moved their Lunar New Year concerts online this year.
With more and more mainstream cultural organizations, including these top orchestras, marking traditional Chinese festivals, one can tell that Chinese heritage and culture are “increasingly a part of the U.S. culture diversity,” says Zhou.
Worldwide landmarks, including the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center’s spire, and London’s Trafalgar Square, have been lit up in red to celebrate the festival.
Also, Year of the Ox stamps were issued by post offices in countries like Japan, France, Britain, Malta, Singapore, Fiji, and New Zealand, and also by the United States Post Office, and the United Nations (UN) Postal Administration.
This Magical Doorway Flows with Fortune
To make the most of this liminal time, families make elaborate preparations for their celebrations.
Before the new year, all debts should have been paid. And nothing should be loaned on this day, as anyone who does so will be lending all the year.
Hopefully, your house was completely cleaned and food prepared ahead of time. Similarly to the Western calendar New Year custom, on New Year’s Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans, and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year’s Day, for fear that good fortune will be swept away.
To celebrate, fill your home with flowers and fruit. Oranges and tangerines, in particular, are symbols of abundance, happiness, and good luck.
Children are encouraged to behave impeccably because they are warned that what happens the first day of the year may decide events for the coming year. However, if you cry on New Year’s day, there will be grief all throughout the year.
Therefore, no tears, please! Children are indulged and are rarely reprimanded, even if they become mischievous.
Shooting off firecrackers on New Year’s Eve is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the new. On the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, every door and window in the house is opened, to allow the old year to go out.
Even if it is very cold, it is a good idea to throw open your doors and windows for a brief time today, to let out the old and welcome in the good fortune of the new year!
Most of all, take extra care to avoid foul language, cursing and bad or unlucky words. Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo on this day.
References to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.
Most of all, wishing good fortune to all, thinking good thoughts, and welcoming the coming year with joy will set the tone for the days ahead.
May this gift of a new beginning, so needed this year, bring you and yours good fortune, thriving health, and soul-deep happiness!