Ox (zodiac)

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Ox
Ox (Chinese characters).svg
"Ox" in regular Chinese characters
Chinese
Zodiacal ox, showing the Chinese character niu (Niu ), meaning "ox" or "bovine creature". The same character is also used in some related languages. OMBRE CHINOISE BUFFLE.jpg
Zodiacal ox, showing the Chinese character niú (), meaning "ox" or "bovine creature". The same character is also used in some related languages.
Carving of a bovine animal ("ox"), at Mount Horai-ji Buddhist Temple, Aichi Prefecture, Japan: a stone monument showing the Earthly Branch symbol chou (Chou ) Mount Horai-ji Buddhist Temple - Stone monument with a carving of a cattle.jpg
Carving of a bovine animal ("ox"), at Mount Hôrai-ji Buddhist Temple, Aichi Prefecture, Japan: a stone monument showing the Earthly Branch symbol chǒu ()

The Ox ( ) is the second of the 12-year periodic sequence (cycle) of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar, and also appears in related calendar systems. The Chinese term translated here as ox is in Chinese niú (), a word generally referring to cows, bulls, or neutered types of the bovine family, such as common cattle or water buffalo. The zodiacal ox may be construed as male, female, neutered, hermaphroditic, and either singular or plural. The Year of the Ox is also denoted by the Earthly Branch symbol chǒu (). The term "zodiac" ultimately derives from an Ancient Greek term referring to a "circle of little animals". There are also a yearly month of the ox and a daily hour of the ox (Chinese double hour, 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.). Years of the oxen (cows) are cyclically differentiated by correlation to the Heavenly Stems cycle, resulting in a repeating cycle of five years of the ox/cow (over a sixty-year period), each ox/cow year also being associated with one of the Chinese wǔxíng, also known as the "five elements", or "phases": the "Five Phases" being Fire ( huǒ), Water ( shuǐ), Wood ( ), Metal ( jīn), and Earth ( ). The Year of the Ox follows after the Year of the Rat (the first year of the zodiacal cycle) which happened in 2020 and it then is followed by the Year of the Tiger, which will happen in 2022.

Contents

Zodiac

Twelve jade figurines from China representing the zodiacal "circle of small animals", beginning with the rat (left front), and then going clockwise to the next figure on the left (the ox) and then continuing clockwise around to the pig (right front) 12 zodiac.jpg
Twelve jade figurines from China representing the zodiacal "circle of small animals", beginning with the rat (left front), and then going clockwise to the next figure on the left (the ox) and then continuing clockwise around to the pig (right front)

The meaning of zodiac derives from zōdiacus , the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek zōdiakòs kýklos ( ζῳδιακός ) meaning "cycle/circle of little animals". The term "zodiacal" refers to the classification scheme based on the lunar calendar that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. The 12-year cycle is an approximation to the 11.85-year orbital period of Jupiter. Originating from China, this form of the zodiac (with some variations) has been popular for a long time in many East Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. The ox symbolizes diligence and patience. The people with this age have progressed steadily and owns persistent strength. They are very determined but stubborn.

Meaning

The Ox (牛) is the second of the 12-year periodic sequence (cycle) of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar, and also appears in related calendar systems. The Chinese term translated here as ox is in Chinese niú (牛), a word generally referring to cows, bulls, or neutered types of the bovine family, such as common cattle or water buffalo. The zodiacal ox may be construed as male, female, neutered, hermaphroditic, and either singular or plural. The Year of the Ox is also denoted by the Earthly Branch symbol chǒu (丑). The term "zodiac" ultimately derives from an Ancient Greek term referring to a "circle of little animals". There are also a yearly month of the ox and a daily hour of the ox (Chinese double hour, 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.). Years of the oxen (cows) are cyclically differentiated by correlation to the Heavenly Stems cycle, resulting in a repeating cycle of five years of the ox/cow (over a sixty-year period), each ox/cow year also being associated with one of the Chinese wǔxíng, also known as the "five elements", or "phases": the "Five Phases" being Fire (火 huǒ), Water (水 shuǐ), Wood (木 mù), Metal (金 jīn), and Earth (土 tǔ). The Year of the Ox follows after the Year of the Rat (the first year of the zodiacal cycle) which happened in 2020 and it then is followed by the Year of the Tiger, which will happen in 2022.

Differences with Western astrology

The term " zodiac " reflects similarities and differences with the Western zodiac. Both similarly have cycles divided into twelve parts, with at least the majority of those parts named for animals, and each is widely associated with an ascription of a person's personality or events in their life to a supposed influence of the person's particular relationship to the cycle. A major difference between the two is that the animals of the Chinese zodiac are not associated with constellations spanned by the ecliptic plane (that is, the part of the sky through which the Sun appears to move from the perspective of Earth). The Chinese/East Asian 12-part cycle corresponds to years, rather than months.

Mythological ox

The ox of the Chinese zodiac has a long history. In Chinese mythology, many myths about oxen or ox-like entities include celestial and earthly beings. The myths range from ones which include oxen or composite beings with ox characteristics as major actors to ones which focus on human or divine actors, in which the role of the oxen are more subsidiary. In some cases, Chinese myths focus on oxen-related subjects, such as plowing and agriculture or ox-powered carriage. Another important role for beef cattle is in the religious capacity of sacrificial offerings. Chinese mythology intersects with the idea of the zodiacal ox.

Great race

According to some old mythological traditions there was a race held by a great deity to determine which creatures, in which order, would be the namesakes of the twelve-year cycle. The race was run, and swum, the finishing line being across a great river. The Rat and the Ox crossed easily enough, the Ox due to being large, powerful, and adept both on land and in water: the Rat asked the good-natured Ox for a ride on its back, but then ungratefully jumped off at the last minute to cross the finish line first.

Years and the Five Elements

Sexagenary cycle years Sexagenary cycle years spirals.svg
Sexagenary cycle years

People born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the Ox", while bearing the following elemental phase sign: [1] [2]

Start dateEnd dateHeavenly branch
31 January 180517 February 1806 Wood Ox
17 January 18174 February 1818 Fire Ox
4 February 182924 January 1830 Earth Ox
23 January 18419 February 1842 Metal Ox
8 February 185328 January 1854 Water Ox
27 January 186514 February 1866 Wood Ox
13 February 18771 February 1878 Fire Ox
31 January 188920 January 1890 Earth Ox
19 February 19017 February 1902 Metal Ox
6 February 191325 January 1914 Water Ox
24 January 192512 February 1926 Wood Ox
11 February 193730 January 1938 Fire Ox
29 January 194916 February 1950 Earth Ox
15 February 19614 February 1962 Metal Ox
3 February 197322 January 1974 Water Ox
20 February 19858 February 1986 Wood Ox
7 February 199727 January 1998 Fire Ox
26 January 200913 February 2010 Earth Ox
12 February 202131 January 2022 Metal Ox
31 January 203318 February 2034 Water Ox
17 February 204505 February 2046 Wood Ox
4 February 205723 January 2058 Fire Ox
23 January 206910 February 2070 Earth Ox
9 February 208128 January 2082 Metal Ox
27 January 209314 February 2094 Water Ox

Lunar Mansion

In traditional Chinese astrology as well as traditional Chinese astronomy the sky was mapped into various asterisms or what are sometimes referred to as Chinese constellations. This is actually more similar to the zodiac of Western astrology than is the 12 animal cycle. The stars along the plane of the ecliptic divide into groups known as the Twenty-Eight Mansions. Because the moon during its monthly cycle could be observed to appear to move from one mansion (or "camp") into the next each night in turn, they are also known as Lunar Mansions. Traditionally, these mansions were divided into four groups of seven each, and associated with one of four spiritual entities. This is applicable to the Year of the Ox, Chǒu (丑), a sign linked to the celestial region of the Black Warrior, or Xuánwǔ, [3] linked to the stars of Beta Capricorni, in modern astronomy.

Hour of the Ox

Main Chinese tradition divided the hours of a day-night period into 12 double-hours. Each of these double-hours corresponds with one of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, with similar symbolic motif and astrological significance. The first of the twelve double hours is midnight (at the middle of the double-hour), corresponding with 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.: this is the Hour of the Rat. The second and next double-hour is the Hour of the Ox: 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; that is the double-hour chǒu (). [4]

Basic astrology elements

Earthly Branches of Birth Year:丑 Chǒu
The Five Elements: Earth
Cardinal Point:North-Northeast (NNE)
Yin/ Yang:Yin
Lunar Month:Twelfth
Season:Winter
Closest Western Zodiac: Taurus
Earthly Branch Ruling Hours:01:00 to 02:59
Twelve Heavenly Generals: Sanskrit : Caundhula (Chinese :招杜羅)
Lucky Flowers: tulip, evergreen, peach blossom, rose
Lucky Numbers:8, 3; Avoid: 6, 9
Lucky Colors:blue, red, purple; Avoid: white, green

Around the world

Stamp from a zodiacal series from Ukraine commemorating Years of the Ox Stamps of Ukraine, 2013-72.jpg
Stamp from a zodiacal series from Ukraine commemorating Years of the Ox

In the Vietnamese zodiac, the water buffalo occupies the position of the Ox. In Nepal, the Tamu/Gurung people celebrate the year of the cow. [5]

2021–2022

The Year of the Ox does not exactly correspond with years of the commonly used Gregorian calendar. For the 2021–2022 Gregorian time period, the Year of the Ox begins on 12 February 2021 and ends 31 January 2022. This is a year of the Metal Ox. Classical nomenclature uses the stem-branch reckoning for this year, xīn-chǒu (辛丑) of the sexagenary cycle.

See also

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Horse (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Horse is the seventh of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. There is a long tradition of the Horse in Chinese mythology. Certain characteristics of the Horse nature are supposed to be typical of or to be associated with either a year of the Horse and its events, or in regard to the personality of someone born in such a year. Horse aspects can also enter by other chronomantic factors or measures, such as hourly.

Pig (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Pig or sometimes translated as the Boar is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in Chinese zodiac, in relation to the Chinese calendar and system of horology, and paralleling the system of ten Heavenly Stems and twelve Earthly Branches. Although the term "zodiac" is used in the phrase "Chinese zodiac", there is a major difference between the Chinese usage and Western astrology: the zodiacal animals do not relate to the zodiac as the area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun, the Moon, and visible planets across the celestial sphere's constellations, over the course of the year.

Rabbit (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The rabbit is the fourth in the twelve-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rabbit is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .

Tiger (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Tiger is the third of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Tiger is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 寅.

Dog (zodiac) Sign of Chinese zodiac

The Dog is eleventh of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dog is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol . The character , also refers to the actual animal while , also refers to the zodiac animal.

Snake (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The snake is the sixth of the twelve-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Snake is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .

Goat (zodiac) Sign in the Chinese zodiac

The Goat is the eighth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. This zodiacal sign is often referred to as the "Ram" or "Sheep" sign, since the Chinese word yáng is more accurately translated as Caprinae, a taxonomic subfamily that includes both goats and sheep, but contrasts with other animal subfamily types such as Bovinae, Antilopinae, and other taxonomic considerations which may be encountered in the case of the larger family of Bovidae in Chinese mythology, which also includes the Ox (zodiac). The Year of the Goat is associated with the 8th Earthly Branch symbol, (wèi).

Monkey (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The monkey is the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The year of the monkey is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .

Rat (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Rat is the first of the repeating 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac, constituting part of the Chinese calendar system. The Year of the Rat in standard Chinese is ; the rat is associated with the first branch of the Earthly Branch symbol (), which starts a repeating cycle of twelve years. The Chinese word shǔ refers to various types of Muroidea, such as rats and mice. The term "zodiac" ultimately derives from an Ancient Greek term referring to a "circle of little animals". There are also a yearly month of the rat and a daily hour of the rat. Years of the rat are cyclically differentiated by correlation to the Heavenly Stems cycle, resulting in a repeating cycle of five years of the rat, each rat year also being associated with one of the Chinese wu xing, also known as the "five elements", or "phases": the "Five Phases" being Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and Earth.

Earthly Branches East Asian system of 12 ordinals

The twelve Earthly Branches or Terrestrial Branches are a Chinese ordering system used throughout East Asia in various contexts, including its ancient dating system, astrological traditions, zodiac and ordinals.

The sexagenary cycle, also known as the Stems-and-Branches or ganzhi, is a cycle of sixty terms, each corresponding to one year, thus a total of sixty years for one cycle, historically used for recording time in China and the rest of the East Asian cultural sphere. It appears as a means of recording days in the first Chinese written texts, the Shang oracle bones of the late second millennium BC. Its use to record years began around the middle of the 3rd century BC. The cycle and its variations have been an important part of the traditional calendrical systems in Chinese-influenced Asian states and territories, particularly those of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, with the old Chinese system still in use in Taiwan, and to a lesser extent, in Mainland China.

Astrological sign Twelve 30° sectors of the ecliptic, as defined by Western astrology

In Western astrology, astrological signs are the twelve 30 degree sectors that make up Earth's 360 degree orbit around the Sun. The signs enumerate from the first day of spring known as the First Point of Aries which is the vernal equinox. The Western astrological signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. The Western zodiac originated in Babylonian astrology, and was later influenced by Hellenistic culture. Each sign was named after a constellation the sun annually moved through while crossing the sky. This observation is emphasized in the simplified and popular sun sign astrology. Over the centuries, Western astrology's zodiacal divisions have shifted out of alignment with the constellations they were named after by axial precession while Hindu astrology measurements correct for shifting.Astrology has developed in Chinese and Tibetan cultures as well.

Tai Sui is a Chinese term for the stars directly opposite the planet Jupiter during its roughly 12-year orbital cycle. Personified as deities, they are important features of Chinese astrology, Feng Shui, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism to a lesser extent.

The Cat is the fourth animal symbol in the 12-year cycle of the Vietnamese zodiac and Gurung zodiac, taking place of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. As such, the traits associated with the Rabbit are attributed to the Cat. Cats are in conflict with the Rat.

Chinese zodiac Lunar calendar classifications

The Chinese zodiac is a classification scheme based on the lunar calendar that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle. Originating from China, the zodiac and its variations remain popular in many East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Rooster (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Rooster is the tenth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rooster is represented by the Earthly Branch symbol .

Snakes in Chinese mythology Mythological serpent

Snakes are an important motif in Chinese mythology. There are various myths, legends, and folk tales about snakes. Chinese mythology refers to these and other myths found in the historical geographic area(s) of China. These myths include Chinese and other languages, as transmitted by Han Chinese as well as other ethnic groups. Snakes often appear in myth, religion, legend, or tales as fantastic beings unlike any possible real snake, often having a mix of snake with other body parts, such as having a human head, or magical abilities, such as shape shifting. One famous snake that was able to transform back and forth between a snake and a human being was Madam White Snake in the Legend of the White Snake. Other snakes or snakelike beings sometimes include deities, such as Fuxi and Nüwa and Gong Gong. Sometimes Fuxi and Nuwa are described as snakes with human heads and sometimes as humans with dragon or serpent tails.

Ox in Chinese mythology

Oxen, cows, beef cattle, buffalo and so on are an important motif in Chinese mythology. There are many myths about the oxen or ox-like beings, including both celestial and earthly varieties. The myths range from ones which include oxen or composite beings with ox characteristics as major actors to ones which focus on human or divine actors, in which the role of the oxen are more subsidiary. In some cases, Chinese myths focus on oxen-related subjects, such as plowing and agriculture or ox-powered carriage. Another important role for beef cattle is in the religious capacity of sacrificial offerings.

References

  1. "When is Chinese New Year?". pinyin.info. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  2. "Year of the Ox, Cow: Love Compatibility, Horoscope, Personality – Chinese Zodiac Sign". Your Chinese Astrology. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  3. Wu, Zhonxian and Karin Wu (2014, 2016). Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches:TianGan DiZhi. London and Philadelphia: Singing Dragon, ISBN   978-1-84819-208-9, 28 and 98
  4. Palmer, Martin, editor, et al, (1986). T'ung Shu: The Ancient Chinese Almanac. Boston: Shambala. ISBN   0-394-74221-4, 34
  5. Arina Sherchan (11 July 2010). "Tamu (Gurung) Losar Festival". Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.

Further reading