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Go ahead: Embrace your inner ox

| February 11, 2021 1:00 AM

Xin (“shin”) nian kuai-le. Happy new year, oxen.

Chinese astrology attempts less to divine futures than to predict and explain personality. Based as much on numerology as astronomy, it’s a lot more complex than just knowing your animal sign.

Elements of ancient culture and religion color a philosophy developed more than 5,000 years ago: Man and nature intertwined. The astronomical magic of 12.

In Chinese astrology, all things are a differentiation of one infinity.

Friday begins the Chinese Lunar New Year, the year of the Ox.

Twelve animals represent the 12-year cycle (in five repetitions totaling 60 years) of the zodiac. Because it’s based on the moon, each new year begins on a different day in January or February. Each animal, based on birth year, represents characteristics others see in us, but there's much more to it.

For example, my birth year makes me a sheep, but I’m also yin and the fire element, based on the last digit of that year — a notable coincidence, as my name means fire. My “inner” animal (birth month) is a dog. These and more add elements to perceived personality, ideal mate, suitable careers and so on.

This Year of the Ox is specifically for the metal-sign ox, a yang sign. In Chinese culture, the Ox is highly valued. Oxen are considered hard-working, honest, and reliable.

The Zodiac animals in order are (early birthdays may be the prior year’s animal):

Rat (who tricked his way to first) — thrifty, witty, charming, generous, but quick-tempered. Birth years: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020. Lucky numbers: 2, 3; lucky colors: blue, gold, green. Best matches: dragon, monkey, ox.

Ox — patient, quiet, conservative, methodical, good with hands. Hates to be contradicted. Born 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021. Numbers: 1, 9; colors: blue, red, purple. Best matches: rat, snake, rooster.

Tiger — sensitive but bold, deep-thinking, loving. Dislikes authority, but who’d mess with a tiger? Born 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010. Numbers: 1, 3, 4; colors: blue, gray, white, orange. Best matches: horse, dog.

Rabbit — articulate, talented, ambitious, self-controlled. Born 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011. Numbers: 3, 4, 9; colors: red, pink, purple, blue. Best matches: sheep, pig, dog.

Dragon — healthy, energetic, inspires confidence, stubborn. Born: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012. Numbers: 1, 7, 6; colors: gold, silver, hoary (grayish white). Best with rat, monkey, or rooster.

Snake — deep-feeling, financially successful, intense, good-looking and probably knows it. Born 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013. Numbers: 2, 8, 9; colors: red, pale yellow, black. Best matches: ox, rooster.

Horse — popular and chatty, independent, impatient. 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014. Numbers: 2, 3, 7; colors: brown, yellow, purple. Best matches: tiger, sheep, dog.

Sheep/ram — diplomatic, communicative, compassionate, but tends to be uncomfortable with life. Born: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015. Numbers: 3, 9, 4. Colors: green, red, purple. Best with rabbit, horse, or pig.

Monkey — clever, too agreeable, strong-willed but quick to let go of anger. 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016. Numbers: 1, 8, 7; colors: white, gold, blue. Best matches: rat, dragon, snake.

Rooster — capable and often right, emotional, lonely, but interesting. 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005. Numbers: 7, 5, 8; colors: gold, brown, yellow. Best matches: ox, dragon, snake.

Dog — loyal, honest, non-materialistic, but can be selfish. 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006. Numbers: 3, 4, 9; colors: green, red, purple. Best matches: tiger, rabbit, horse.

Pig — honest, shy, patient; tends to withdraw when harmed. 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007. Numbers: 2, 5, 8; colors: yellow, gray, brown, gold. Best matches: sheep, rabbit.

When a new year begins, it’s said one must silence the old one. Chinese New Year traditions include paying debts, healing relationships and old wounds, painting doors and new haircuts.

Here’s to a new year, new life, and new hope.


Sholeh Patrick is a sheepish columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Email Sholeh@cdapress.com.