Growing up in one of the most diverse areas of California, Santa Clara County (what we called it before it became “Silicon Valley”), I was privileged to have a large number of friends who are Chinese or of Chinese heritage. Privileged because this afforded me a literal seat at the table for various cultural holidays and festivals, none of which was more enjoyed by me than the lunar new year!
Illustration courtesy of Singaporean cartoonist (and friend and all-around good guy) Otto Fong.
We are starting the year of the ox, specifically the year of the Yin earth ox. Raymond Lo, a professional Feng Shui practitioner, advises:
The Year of the Ox, 2009, in the Hsia calendar, is symbolized by two elements – with earth sitting on top of earth. So is the same element on top of each other. According to the cycle of birth and destruction, which governs the interrelationship between the elements, earth and earth are like brothers and sisters and so they do not have birth nor destructive relationship with each other. They can be friends and they can be competitors. Therefore, earth sitting on earth does not give sign of conflict.
The Earth on top is Yin earth which symbolizes a garden, and garden gives sense of harmony and peace and relaxation. The Ox underneath is actually matching with the picture of a peaceful field with ox eating grass. As such, I anticipate this elemental relationship will bring a year of more harmony and peace in international relationships and it is a year for healing and cure and relaxation from the turbulent time the world has experienced since 2001. It is a time for rebuilding and reconstructions from the damage brought by war and natural disasters, and the financial tsunami of 2008, and also a time to seek peace settlement and to narrow the differences between different culture, religious believes and begin to care for one another, and make some achievement in solving the global warming issue. It is a year of pure earth element and the theme for this year should be caring for our planet earth.
So to all of my friends who celebrate the lunar new year – and to everyone else as well – best wishes for good health, happiness, prosperity and peace in the coming year!
As a little aside, if you scroll down Mr. Lo’s predictions and overview of the year of the ox, there’s this random tidbit:
The Earth element is also associate with homosexuality. It so happens many famous homosexuals is born on the day of earth – this includes Leonardo Da Vinci, Michael Angelo, Tchaikovsky, George Michael, Boy George, Andy Warhol, Tracy Chapman, K.D. Lang. Rosie O’Donnell etc. As such, there could be more issues in this aspect in 2009. It is not really clear how earth element is linked with homosexuality. Perhaps earth is an element of more neutral nature, compare against the other four, water and fire, wood and metal.
Strange, strange, strange…