Yesterday was China’s annual Lunar New Year celebration. In the Chinese calendar, New Year is the biggest celebration of the year typically celebrated by a mass temporary migration of humanity headed back home for the holiday. Although this year’s celebration is a bit muted due to Coronavirus-related travel restrictions, New Year is still a very big Chinese holiday.
The Year Of The Ox
The Chinese have their own zodiac symbols different than those here in the “West.” Each calendar year is a new zodiac animal, with variations of the animal in various cycles. So this year is the year of the Ox, the “Metal Ox,” and people born in this year are said to have the following characteristics:
In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal. Because of its role in agriculture, positive characteristics, such as being hardworking and honest, are attributed to it.
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.
They believe that everyone should do what’s asked for them and stay within their bounds. Though they are kind, it’s difficult for them to understand persuasion using pathos. Rarely losing your temper, they think logically and make great leaders.
Men born in the Ox year are reliable and trustworthy. They put their entire heart into everything they do. They feel great responsibility towards their family as well. However, due to their confidence (almost arrogance), they don’t allow anyone to go against their rules. They hold your children to high expectations, even though it might be unrealistic.
Women born in the Ox year are calm and gentle. They will never surrender to fate and rarely think of choosing an alternative. This no doubt leads to a life of struggles. But no matter what, they will walk down the road they choose until the end. Despite this stubbornness, they think and react quickly.Chinese New Year: Year of the Ox
Mass Migration of Humanity
The ten-day Chinese New Year celebration has frequently been called the “largest temporary migration of humanity in the world.” Roughly half of the entire 1.2 billion population head for their family homes to celebrate. I try to imagine half of all people in the United States trying to travel all at the same time, but that mental image fails me. I can grasp traffic jams hundreds of miles long, and every airline flight jammed to capacity with TSA security lines extending into the airport parking lots. Then everyone comes back home all at the same time two weeks later.
Because of the on-going Coronavirus, the Chinese government has severely restricted this years traveling. This is a real issue, as many people leave their villages to take factory jobs in the cities, and usually only get back home once each year. Besides travel restrictions, many people are dealing with two-week quarantines which severely cut down on their actual family visit time. From what I’ve read, the Chinese aren’t taking these restrictions very well.
To my Chinese family and friends, I wish you a 春节快乐 (xin nian kuai le) , and a sincere wish you spend some time with your families.