It feels like just yesterday was New Year’s Eve, but now the Chinese New Year is already looming over the horizon.
This year’s CNY is scheduled to begin on 12 February 2021, and although the pandemic may prevent us from doing our usual balik kampung or family reunions, millions of Malaysians all across the country are already preparing their own socially distanced celebrations.
But as we all prepare, one question inevitably comes to mind: what kind of events are being predicted for this year?
Understanding the Elements
While many people have heard of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac, few of them understand the importance of the five elements. In Chinese philosophy, everyone is born with both a zodiac animal and an associated element.
The five elements and the personality traits linked to them are:
Wood: patience, compassion, understanding
Fire: creativity, passion, motivation
Earth: responsible, kind, honest
Water: sympathetic, introspective, perfectionist
Metal: driven, organised, loyal
The elements are rooted in the Five Elements Theory (Wu Xing), which describes the relationship and interdependence between all things. The theory is that everything in the world is made up of these five elements. The way they interact with each other creates a cycle which not only affects our lives but also the world itself.
The elements interact in two ways: the Generating Cycle, which is positive, and the Controlling Cycle, which is destructive.
Water nourishes Wood
Wood feeds Fire
Fire creates Earth (ash)
Earth bears Metal
Metal carries Water
Water quenches Fire
Fire melts Metal
Metal cuts Wood
Wood separates Earth
Earth absorbs Water
Even if you’re personally not into Feng Shui, the Five Elements theory is a very important part of traditional Chinese culture and can be seen in all sorts of aspects including philosophy, medicine and fortune telling.
The Elements and the Animals
Each of the zodiac signs have an affinity for a particular element — for example, Wood with Rabbit and Fire with Horse. This is known as their Fixed Element.
However, each zodiac animal will also have another element based on the 12-year cycle, which goes earth, metal, water, wood and fire. If you use a Western calendar, each element year will span two years. So 2018 and 2019 were both earth years while 2020 and 2021 are metal years. In turn, 2022 and 2023 will be considered water years.
Combined, the five elements and 12 zodiac signs create a 60-year cycle.
So the Dog has earth as a Fixed Element, but someone born in the year 1970 would be considered a Metal Dog, which means that their personality will have aspects of both metal and earth.
When it comes to the zodiac, our elements are said to influence how our personalities manifest.
For example, all those born in the year of the Rat are linked to traits such as cleverness and optimism. However, a Fire Rat and Water Rat will display these traits very differently; the fire element would make for a more active, aggressive and decisive personality, while the water element would make for someone who is more sensitive, flexible and intuitive.
Fun Fact: in traditional Chinese philosophy, each combination of animal and element has its own unique title.
Those who are born in the year of the Metal Ox will be known as “Ox in the Sea”, but those who are born in the year of the Water Ox are “Ox in the Lake”. Similarly, a Fire Tiger would be “Tiger Passing through the Forest” while an Earth Tiger would be “Tiger Standing Still”.
As many of you probably know, 2020 was the year of the Rat.
As the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac’s 12-year cycle, it typically represents new beginnings and the replacement of the old cycle — a prediction which feels rather apt when we consider all the events of last year.
More specifically, 2020 was the year of the Metal Rat. Metal is an element connected to firmness, rigidity, persistence, strength and determination. Just as metal is strong, it is said that a person born in a metal year is controlling, ambitious, forceful and set in their ways.
However, the metal element also represents a difficult year, with constant challenges that need to be overcome. Whether we’re talking about politics, economics and even health, the events of 2020 represented a massive shake up of the status quo all across the globe.
Yet even amidst all the upheaval, it cannot be denied that the year of the Rat did present us with an unimaginable opportunity to change the world for the better.
So with all that in mind, can we expect during the year of the Metal Ox?
2021: The Year of Hard Work?
Make no mistake; the year 2021 is set to be just as historic as last year.
However, while the Rat can be said to represent rare opportunities springing up from chaos, the Ox represents something fundamentally different; the power of hard work, duty and discipline.
If the year of the Rat can be said to reward those with the cunning and quick wit to discover opportunities within disaster, then the year of the Metal Ox rewards those who are willing to be hardworking and methodical — there are great opportunities out there, but only for those who can keep their noses to the grindstone and keep pushing forward.
So What Does 2021 Mean for You?
Traditionally speaking, Oxes are said to be diligent, dependable and determined. The arrival of the Metal Ox is a sign that the year will be a time for stability and rebuilding. A time when we need to combine cautiousness with a willingness to adapt to the changing future.
Although certain themes will carry on throughout the year, every animal sign will have slightly different experiences. Below is a quick summary of each zodiac animal’s outlook for the year ahead.
Born in the Year: 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Although your year is about to pass, this next year still presents many good opportunities that you can take advantage of. However, as the Ox is an animal that expects dedicated, consistent work, during this year a Rat must be willing to give it their all. If you waste your time chasing butterflies and daydreams, then all those opportunities simply will end up passing you by.
Born in the Year: 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
This is the year for you, Oxen! For many Oxen, this year is time to reap the rewards of all their hard work. Aside from that, 2021 will be a good time for Oxen to get married or even start a family. But whether you want to focus on material stability or strengthening emotional relationships, you should try to avoid sacrificing long term gains for short term pleasure.
Born in the Year: 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Unfortunately for those born in the year of the Tiger, this year may be more of a struggle. However, if you can remain patient, this next year still promises to be a more fruitful one. Don’t expect immediate success, but if you find something you’re passionate about and keep at it, you’re sure to find good fortune!
Born in the Year: 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Just like the Tiger, the Rabbit can also expect some difficulties this year, especially when it comes to work. Be prepared to adapt to new and surprising situations. On the plus side, your romance and relationship luck are definitely looking up! Even if you think you can handle things alone, don’t be afraid to accept help from those around you.
Born in the Year: 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
In the year of the Ox, it is not enough to just think big; you also need to remain focused and grounded in reality. This year may bring Dragons a lot of potential opportunities, but don’t stretch yourself too thin. Sometimes it may be better to focus on a few good prospects rather than getting greedy and trying to grab it all.
Born in the Year: 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Many Snakes had a difficult time last year, but things are looking a little better in 2021. This is the year to be brave and try new things — try to think outside the box instead of sticking to the same old path. Aside from that, the year of the Ox rewards hard work, so stay away from unnecessary drama and focus on achieving your goals instead.
Born in the Year: 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
For many Horses, 2021 has all the signs of being a better year when it comes to work. On the flip side, your love life is more likely to suffer. This year, learn to go with the flow instead of becoming too fixated on certain ideas. After all, whether it’s a workplace or a relationship, being too stubborn can cause you to miss out on something important.
Born in the Year: 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Within the 12-animal cycle, the Goat is the opposite of the Ox. This means that 2021 may be a particularly challenging time for you. Just like the Horse, your relationships will have less luck this year. When it comes to friends or family, just remember that you don’t need to win every argument. Sometimes, it may be better to hold your tongue rather than losing your temper.
Born in the Year: 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
The Monkey is linked to intelligence and creativity — but also playfulness. While the former traits will be useful, a Monkey should remember to focus on work before play. Be prepared to put in the work if you want a reward. There are plenty of opportunities waiting for you out there, you just have to be disciplined enough to wait for the right time.
Born in the Year: 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Just like the Ox, the Rooster is associated with traits such as hard work and diligence. In other words, 2021 promises to be a great year for you! This is the time to be ambitious both in work and at home. Stay true to yourself and preserve the harmony of your home and good fortune is likely to follow.
Born in the Year: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Though the Ox favors pushing on and staying on the course, Dogs are often more interested in trying new things… even when it might be a bad idea. 2021 will likely be filled with challenges, which means that you should try to avoid conflict where possible. This is the year to be cautious — you will need to work harder as well as smarter in order to stay ahead.
Born in the Year: 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
For Boars, this next year will demand a lot of adjustments. When it comes to business, this will be a chance to shine… if you can keep your temper. But closer to home, things are likely to be just as tumultuous. When it comes to both work and family, it is important to be honest and know when to cut your losses.
Are You Prepared for 2021?
While many people take their zodiac signs seriously, many others may laugh it off as superstition.
Whatever your personal beliefs, there are some important lessons that we can all learn from when it comes to this year’s predictions.
Although many of us breathed a sigh of relief when 2020 ended, many of last year’s problems still linger on today. Whether you’re more worried about the pandemic, the economy or even your own personal relationships, these are all problems that will require hard work and effort to overcome.
So instead of giving in to despair or turning to unhealthy habits, let’s take this time to focus on overcoming our own challenges through hard work and honest effort.