It should be Chinese New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day throughout most of the world by now … so I just want to wish everyone here a very Happy and Prosperous Year of the OX (牛)!
According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox symbolizes prosperity and is associated with fortitude and hard work. Those born under the influence of the Ox are natural leaders, are dependable, and possess innate abilities to achieve great things.
President Obama – the 44th U.S. President – not surprisingly was born on a year of the Ox.
While Ox’s are generally considered auspicious animals, for people who were born in the year of the Ox – you need be a little cautious in approaching life this year – since this for you represents a year of 太岁 (tai sui).
Don’t be too worried though: given the economic situation throughout the world, being a little cautious this year is probably good advice for everyone – not just people born in the year of the Ox!
Anyways – before concluding this brief post and going off to celebrate with my relatives and friends, I want to ask people whether you think the Ox is a good translation for 牛.
What got several of us here at Foolsmountain thinking is because the ox is defined in several dictionaries as an adult castrated bull of the genus Bos, especially Bos taurus (cattle).
That doesn’t sound right though. Try as we might, none of us can remember a Chinese mythology ever mentioning 牛 as a castrated being! Perhaps the word “bull” or “water buffalo” would be a better translation?
I personally think the “water buffalo” is the proper translation. It is clear from Chinese astrological mythologies that 牛 as used in the zodiacs is not just a hardworking beast that help human beings plow lands but is also a very strong and skilled swimmer.
To me, the Chinese water buffalo fits that bill perfectly.
So what do people think? Ox – Bull – Water Buffalo – or something else?
Happy New Year Everyone!