For the Lunar Year 2021, It's All About the Metal Ox — Here's What to Expect

It's the Year of the Metal Ox — but what exactly is the meaning of that? Details on the Lunar New Year for 2021, and what exactly is predicted.

Shannon Raphael - Author

Feb. 12 2021, Published 11:30 a.m. ET

Lunar New Year 2021
Source: Getty

Now that 2020 is finally in the rearview mirror, many are celebrating the Lunar New Year, which fell on Feb. 12 in 2021. Though most celebrations are smaller because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people are saying goodbye to the Year of the Rat, and hello to the Year of the Ox. 

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There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac classification, and one is assigned to each year based on a rotation. These animals include the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig (in that order).

Aside from the initial classification based on the Zodiac rotation, there are several other characteristics to further identify the year. In 2021, it's the Year of the Metal Ox. What does this mean?

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2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox — what's the meaning of that?

While you likely are seeing that 2021 is the Year of the Ox, you might also notice that the new year is being identified as the Year of the Metal Ox.

This is a more specific categorization, called the sexagenary cycle, and there's a lot of meaning behind it. Two Chinese characters make up each part of the cycle — the 12 Earthly branches (the Zodiac), and the 10 Heavenly stems (the rotation of the five nature elements with association to Yin-Yang). 

Combined, they create a 60-year calendar cycle (hence, the meaning of sexagenary). The nature elements help to explain various heavenly phenomena in the world and they are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.

Thierry Chow, a feng shui master based in Hong Kong, explained what the Year of the Ox will mean, to CNN.  

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"The ox, in Chinese culture, is a hardworking zodiac sign," Thierry said. "It usually signifies movements so, hopefully, the world will be less static than last year and get moving again in the second half of the year."

Thierry also noted that metal industries will shine (pun intended) in 2021. 

Because oxes are hardworking, there's hope that 2021 will be a year of forward movement. 

But, translator Joanna C. Lee told that it's best to remain steady and wait to make major moves for another time. 

"It's a holding pattern," she shared about the Year of the Metal Ox. 

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If you were born a past Year of the Ox, then 2021 might be intense.

Those who are born in the Year of the Ox tend to be calmer, more reliable, and trustworthy. Like oxen themselves, these people can be somewhat stubborn and strong-willed. But, oxen are steadfast in keeping promises. 

If you were born in a past Year of the Ox, then both good and bad things will be felt intensely. While some believe that those who were born in other Ox years will be brought luck, others are superstitious about this.

The past (recent) Ox years are 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, and 1949.

Anyone who is concerned about what the Year of the Ox means for them (if your own Zodiac sign conflicts with it), then you might want to know when it will be over. The time of the Ox concludes on Jan. 31, 2022. 

The next Lunar New Year will ring in the Year of the Tiger. 

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