Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chinese New Year: This is the 'Year of the Ox'

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The Canada Post commemorates the Chinese Year of the Ox
with a new stamp


Tomorrow, January 26, marks the first day of the Chinese New Year of 4707. This is the Year of the Ox. Those, born in the Year of the Ox, are believed to acquire the personality (leadership, stability, friendliness, inspiration and confidence) of this animal.

The Chinese all over the world celebrate their new year with elaborate rituals and festivities, starting on the first day of the first month and culminating on the 15th day with the impressive lantern festival.

Origin of the Year

There is a legend that Lord Buddha (563 - 483 BC) had called animals to come to him on the Chinese new year. None but 12 animals came. He then named a year after each of these animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, boar or pig). This 12-year cycle repeats in the Chinese calendar.

Rat is the symbol of imagination, charm and generosity.
Ox is the symbol of leadership, inspiration, confidence, stability and friendliness.
Tiger is sensitive, emotional and loving.
Rabbit is articulate, talented and ambitious.
Dragon is full of vitality and enthusiasm, but demanding on others.
Snake has wisdom, charm, romance and deep thought.
Horse is hardworking, independent and adventuresome.
Goat is elegant and artistic but complaining type.
Monkey is intelligent, of magnetic personality, and well-liked.
Rooster is shrewd, outspoken and decisive in decision making.
Dog is the symbol of honesty, loyalty, and fault-finding.
Boar (Pig) is sincere, intelligent, tolerant and naive.

Celebrations

The Chinese inside China call their new year the 'Lunar New Year', but expatriate Chinese call it the 'Chinese New Year.' The Chinese all over the world observe their new year with fanfare and festivities. They take a long holiday during these 15-day celebrations.

Passing of red envelopes, mostly with money inside as gifts, from older persons to younger ones; exchanging gifts; decorating homes, shops and offices with plants, flowers, icons and ornaments; attending fairs and fireworks; wearing mostly red-coloured costumes; and enjoying colourful and diverse food and candy items are part of the celebrations.

The new year rituals include a thorough cleaning of houses-stores-offices, best personal appearance, dragon dance, shooting off of firecrackers, and debt payments so that the new year starts with a clean heart, clean environment, and joyful spirit.

We wish all in the Chinese communities a Happy New Year! Bookmark and Share