Lunar New Year 2021 – Year of the Ox
Lunar New Year – also known as Chinese New Year – starts on Friday February 12, 2021.
Chinese New Year marks the transition between zodiac signs: 2021 is the year of the Ox; 2020 was the year of the Rat.
The story goes that a race was organised by the Jade Emperor – one of the most important gods in traditional Chinese religion – who invited all the animals in the world to take part.
Twelve species turned up at the starting line: a pig, dog, rooster, monkey, sheep, horse, snake, dragon, rabbit, tiger, ox and rat. These animals are celebrated in turn through 12-year cycles of Chinese New Year celebrations.
Celebrations traditionally last 16 days each year, from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival. However, preparations start well in advance of New Year’s Eve – including house cleaning, decorating, and buying new clothes and gifts for loved ones. People spend generously at this time of year.
Year of the Ox
The Ox is the second of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Ox was about to be the first to arrive, but Rat tricked Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox. Thus, Ox became the second animal.
Oxen are the hard workers in the background, intelligent and reliable, but never demanding praise.
Lunar New Year Traditions
- The many traditions for Lunar New Year include senior family members handing out red envelopes containing money to young, single ones.
- Cleaning the house before New Year to get rid of bad luck, plus decorating the house with special symbols are also common.
- Red (the symbol of joy) is the key colour, with red lanterns traditionally seen.
- Dancing dragons or lions, accompanied by the beating of drums, are said to banish evil spirits.
- Reunion family dinners are often held on Lunar New Year’s Eve
Happy Lunar New Year to all of our Asian friends!