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Chinese year of the ox starts Monday

The Chinese year of the ox starts on Monday. According to tradition, it is celebrated for 15 days and then ends with a bang (firecrackers). Many people do not believe in horoscopes, whether eastern or western (occidental). Some live by them and cannot start the day without reading a daily horoscope in the newspaper. People who seek knowledge need to know at least a little about eastern astrology as well as the occidental, because so much history has been based on its use, and many well educated people, regardless of how technologically ad-vanced, still consult a geomancer before a wedding, taking an important test or making a trip. Nearly every piece of Asian art, architecture, textile, weapon, calligraphy and more, contains references to the animals of the moon calendar and the elements accompanying them.

I have to teach it in my East-West Art History class because so much of what they study (coming from the Far East) centers around an understanding of the symbolism of the 12 animal signs and the traits of each.

If you saw the Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony on Aug. 8, 2008 you heard and saw some of the superstitions, witnessed a well-worked horoscope according to Asian tradition and saw some of the colors and elements considered fortuitous. It was after all the 8-8-08 "good luck"claimed by the Chinese, that so many newscasters mentioned it when they covered the games. Not only is the number eight considered good luck, but so too was the fact that it was the year of the rat and rats tend to be very aggressive and power hungry. One might say, "Yep, I did see that in the opening ceremony."

It would be hard to watch the 2008 human drummers and not feel intimidated.

So the year of the rat was a good year for the Olympics to fall on 8-8-08 for China to make an impression on the world that it was an imposing power, showing how reserved it could be to obtain the impact it sought to make, and did.

The 12 animals start with rat, then ox (for the years 2009 and going back or forward every 12 years), tiger, cat (or rabbit), dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal has its primary characteristics, such as the ox being stubborn by nature, headstrong and hard-working.

If you have an Internet connection you can log on and search for "Chinese horoscope" to find just about anything that you might find interesting. There are books that show both eastern and western horoscopes and some even throw in numerology.

It's fun and, if you don't take it too seriously, it can be a cool things to do after you've eaten your good luck foods for Chinese New Year.

If anyone has items to include in this column please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402.