Chinese New Year: 20 things to know about the Year of the Ox


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Chinese New Year is the celebration of the new lunar year, which begins lichun, or the spring cycle. This is the first cycle of 24 solar “terms” in this calendar system. 

Every new year marks a new zodiac sign based on China’s 12 Chinese animal zodiac signs. 2021 marks the year of the mighty ox. The last Year of the Ox was in 2009. If you were born in 1997, 1985, 1973 or 1961, you also bear the traits of an ox, according to the Chinese zodiac. Famous oxen include Barack Obama, Napoleon, Margaret Thatcher, Adolf Hitler, Catherine the Great and Walt Disney. 

Those born in the year of the ox are said to be hard workers and intelligent, yet slow to demand praise. But what does the year of the ox have in store? Here are some quick characteristics about the ox that will help you determine if your 2021 is destined to be better than 2020.

1. Wellness

Since the ox is the start of the spring lunar system, it’s often associated with wellness. That could mean physical, spiritual or mental. However, many astrologerscaution that the year of your sign is often an unlucky or difficult year. Ox signs can avoid this by wearing and surrounding themselves with red, a common symbol of luck of in Chinese tradition. 

2. Prosperity

Because oxen are traditionally important for Chinese agriculture, the Year of the Ox is believed to be a year of financial prosperity for many. 

3. Honesty and integrity

Ox signs are said to be honest and uncompromising in their morals. Those who keep their integrity are expected to be rewarded handsomely under the ox cycle.

4. Hard-working

Oxen are hard-workers, yet they are slow to ask for praise. As such, those who put in the extra effort will likely see their work pay off this year.

5. Earnest

The ox cycle is kind to those who are sincere and steadfast in their convictions. Nonetheless, the ox year is a “holding pattern,” meaning that it will be hard to preserve your energy this year. Oxen especially may easily become overwhelmed by news consumption and other stressors. 

6. Even-tempered

Oxen are slow to anger. Some astrologers interpret this to mean that 2021 will be a much-needed break from seemingly never-ending turmoil and breaking news.

7. Leadership

Since oxen are said to be good leaders, many may rest assured that changes in leadership that occur this year may bring peace and tranquility. 

8. Logical

According to the Chinese zodiac, oxen are logical thinkers. As such, those who act logically and take time to think through their decisions this year are sure to be rewarded. 

9. Low-key

The ox is believed to be one of the most laid-back signs, and as such, many astrologers believe the Year of the Ox may be best enjoyed by avoiding big life changes. 

10. Social

Oxen are social creatures. Since the pandemic has meant many people being forced to spend weeks or even months in isolation, this may be a sign that social gatherings could once again resume by the end of the year.

11. Popular

Oxen’s steadfast personalities make them popular and eager to make friends. As such, this may be a good year to reach out to old friends or take the initiative to meet new ones.

12. Trustworthy

The ox is one of the most trustworthy signs, which could bring a welcome reprieve from the political and social turmoil many experienced in 2020.

13. Reliable

After a rocky 2020, the Year of the Ox may bring stability, since the ox is believed to be a reliable and steady sign.

14. Stubborn

Despite all the positive attributes, oxen are known for their stubbornness. Astrologers warn to not let your past convictions or being too set in your ways keep you from much-needed growth opportunities. 

15. Calm

The ox’s calm and collected spirit is another sign that 2021 may be better than 2020. Many hope the Year of the Ox will bring much calmer energy than 2020 did.

16. Cheerful

Oxen are cheerful and bright, a sign to many astrologers that the Year of the Ox will bring happiness to most signs.

17. Patient

Those born in the Year of the Ox are believed to be patient and driven. While 2020 may have tested many peoples’ patience, remaining composed and resilient this year may be easier for most signs. 

18. Duty

Oxen have a strong sense of duty and purpose, so the Year of the Ox may reward those who remain committed and dutiful to their work and relationships.

19. Discipline

Oxen are important animals to the Chinese because they are disciplined and easy to work with. As such, those who remain disciplined will see their determination pay off.

20. Tidiness

Oxen enjoy tidiness and cleanliness, and spring is often thought of as the time to clean and declutter (hence the popular phenomena of spring cleaning). For those who have thought of downsizing or embracing minimalism, this may be the best time to do so.

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Image Credit: Oleksandr Pupko/ iStock


Kaitlyn Farley

Kaitlyn is MediaFeed’s senior editor. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, specializing in social justice and investigative reporting. She has worked at various radio stations and newsrooms, covering higher-education, local politics, natural disasters and investigative and watchdog stories related to Title IX and transparency issues.