Millions celebrate the Year of the Ox

Year of the ox: Lanterns have been used to celebrate the New Year for more than 1,800 years. © Getty

Do the planets control your future? On Friday, a quarter of the world’s population will welcome in a new lunar year. Many hope the ox will bring stability and positivity for the year ahead.

What’s happening

In Shanghai, bright red lanterns light up the city centre. In Korea, families are preparing feasts of rice cake soup and dumplings. In London, where parades are cancelled, thousands are signing up to online events.

On Friday, the party will finally begin. Welcome to the Year of the Ox!

Find out more

Lunar New Year is a festival for the arrival of spring. It is celebrated in China, Vietnam, Korea and other Asian countries. It begins with the first New Moon of the lunar calendar and lasts 15 days.

Each year is named after one of 12 animals in the zodiac. The second year is the ox. It stands for loyalty and hard work.

For people who believe in the zodiac, the year you are born shapes your personality. This is because the position of the planets is said to affect life on Earth. Reading these signs is called astrology.

Astrologers also use the planets to predict what the year has in store. According to them, the Year of the Ox will be one of stability. People will be more positive and confident.

Do the planets control your future?

Some say…

Of course not. There is no scientific evidence that the planets have anything to do with your personality. As such, horoscopes cannot predict your future. The system was created 5,000 years ago. It is out of date. Now, we have modern science. We know far more about the stars and planets than we used to.

Others think…

Why not? There is a lot we don’t know about the universe. And belief is stronger than many people think. If a horoscope says you will have a good day, it will put you in a good mood. Likewise, if somebody says something bad will happen, you may worry and have a bad day. Science is not the only way to understand how the world works.

You Decide

  1. Would you change your plans based on your horoscope?


  1. In China, paper cuttings are traditional decorations. Make one to put up at home by folding a piece of paper several times and using scissors to cut out shapes. Then unfold your pattern and place it in the window.

Some People Say...

“A bad ploughman argues with his ox.”

A traditional Korean saying

What do you think?

Word Watch

A city in China. It is famous for its modern skyscrapers, but also has an ancient city centre of traditional buildings.
A country in South East Asia. The Lunar New Year celebration is called Seollal.
Usually, London holds the biggest lunar new year celebration outside Asia. This year, the festival will all be online due to lockdown.
Relating to the Moon. In the lunar calendar, each month starts with a new moon.
A country that borders China to the South. There, the festival is called Tết.
New Moon
The time in the month when we cannot see the Moon from Earth because we are looking at the unlit half of it. It takes place when the Moon is directly between the Earth and Sun.
An area of sky divided into 12 sections by looking at the movement of the stars and planets. The Chinese zodiac is the best known around the world, but Korea and Vietnam also have their own similar versions.
The study of how planets move across the sky and how that can affect life on Earth.
A star chart of a person or a moment in time. Astrologers will create a horoscope to tell somebody’s future.

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