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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - In 2009, it's all about the cow

In 2009, it's all about the cow

Are you an Ox?

Follow the table below to see whether your year of birth falls within the forthcoming Chinese astrological sign:

  •  1925    - January    25    to    February    12    (1926)
  •  1937    - February    11    to    January     30    (1938)
  •  1949    - January    29    to    February     16    (1950)
  •  1961    - February    15    to    February     4    (1962)
  •  1973    - February    3    to    January     22    (1974)
  •  1985    - February    20    to    February    8    (1986)
  •  1997    - February    7    to    January     28 (1998)
  •  2009    - January    26    to    February     14 (2010)

AS 2008 ends and the Lunar New Year begins for ethnic Chinese, it means a transition from the rat to the ox, ahead of the year of the tiger in 2010. But what do all these animals actually mean?

Western misconceptions about Chinese astrology assume that only years are assigned animal symbols. But in fact, months are also called "inner animals" and even signs for days and hours are named "secret animals", which together add up to a bewildering menagerie of cats, rats, dogs and monkeys with differentiated characteristics.

The zodiac of twelve yearly animal signs begins its cycle with the rat, the sign for 2008, which according to Chinese astrology is hardworking and charismatic, yet overly ambitious and selfish.

The ox, on the other hand, is dependable and calm in nature but with a narrow-minded, materialistic side. Chinese-Cambodians interviewed by the Post appear to be preoccupied with the current economic travails affecting Cambodia and the wider world, and in that sense the year of the ox could not have come at a better time.

The Chinese see the ox as a symbol of prosperity, a hard worker with a level head that is destined to achieve great things.

In short, we could all do with a bit of the ox this coming year, but only those born in the year 1925 and thereafter on a 12-year cycle can count themselves as oxen.

More recently, those born in 1961, 1973 and 1985 also fall within a year bearing the ox astrological sign, but in calculating whether you are an ox or not, remember that the Lunar New Year usually begins some time in January or February and ends at a similar time the following year.

This Lunar New Year falls on Monday, when the ox takes over from the rat and celebrations begin in every Chinese community on the planet.

And then, come February 14 next year, it will be the tiger's turn.

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