Welcome the Year of the Ox

Today marks the beginning (to Feb 13, 2010) of the Year of the Earth Ox in Chinese Astrology, reports Tarot.com. People born in Ox years, including President Barack Obama, are known to be intelligent, quiet, trustworthy and successful.

Evoking stability and dependability, the Ox is a practical work animal, while the Earth element is steady and firm. Together, they create a kind of plodding energy that can be exasperating. Still, progress will be made; it will occur in slow, barely perceptible increments. If you stay patient and keep your nose to the grindstone, you will make the most of this ponderous energy.

Oxen place great emphasis on authority and tradition. Therefore, 2009 will lay an especially heavy burden on world leaders. Government officials, CEOs and community organizers will be expected to correct society's ills. If they slack off, they'll be thrown by the wayside. Substance is always favored over style in the Year of the Ox.

This will be a time of financial restraint. Saving will be more important than spending. Everyone will be tightening their belts -- even those who are flush with cash. Businesses that work to keep their clients, present materials in a timely manner and provide excellent customer service will survive, while companies that take an indifferent approach to their clientele will fall to ruin. There's no room for slackers in an Ox year, especially as far as commerce is concerned.

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by many countries in Asia, reports the Twin Cities Daily Planet. In Vietnam it is “Tet Nguyen Dan.” In Korea, both Lunar and Solar New Years are celebrated. In China it is with the wish “Jixian Ruyi.” In some countries it is a 15 day event….in others three days to a week. But, every country has its own lucky foods…those delicacies that promise long life, wealth, health, and happiness. It is truly a period of “you are what you eat.”

And ringing in the Chinese New Year (officially the year 4707) is the perfect opportunity to cook and serve those foods. In China, lucky foods have as much to do with color and structure as they do with names that sound like other lucky items. Whole fish (including head and tail) is called yu which sounds like the word for abundance, and ensures a year filled with plenty of good things. In Guangzhou, oysters are served because the Cantonese name houxi sounds similar to the word meaning good business. Shrimp in Cantonese is called ha which sounds happy. In northern China, jiaozi (meat filled dumplings) are served at midnight because the name sounds like a term that means “the meeting of the last hour of the old year with the first hour of the new one.”

Long noodles are eaten for a long life. Dates and peanuts are considered lucky foods, and so is glutinous rice, a round, small-grained rice that gets sticky when cooked. Anything red (good luck) or gold (good fortune) is served. That includes lobster whose shell turns red when it is cooked, and tangerines.

You might want to wish your colleagues a Happy New Year by sending them a card. http://greetings.aol.com/display.pd?path=62090&bfrom=1&prodnum=3146428