Sat / 6 February 2021

Celebrate Lunar New Year

Don your red attire and celebrate the Lunar New Year in a new way this year in San Francisco! 2021 is a year of the Ox, starting February 12th, 2021 and lasting until January 31st, 2022. It will be a Metal Ox year. The recent zodiac years of Ox sign are: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033…An Ox year occurs every 12 years.

The zodiac sign Ox occupies the second position in the Chinese Zodiac. The 12 zodiac animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. The Ox is the second of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Ox was about to be the first to arrive, but Rat tricked Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox. Thus, Ox became the second animal.

Oxen are honest and earnest. They are low key and never look for praise or to be the center of attention. This often hides their talent, but they’ll gain recognition through their hard work.

In lieu of the traditional Chinese New Year festival and parade in the City, the Year of the Ox on Parade is debuting 11 life-sized oxen, designed by local artists, that will be publicly displayed across San Francisco to help ring in the new year of the Ox. The Oxen will be on parade from February 3 through March 14, 2021. After the celebration, each Ox will be auctioned off to benefit local Chinatown non-profit organizations.

One of the oxen on parade is the Happy 牛 Year Ox by artist Stephanie Tsao. The Chinese character for ox (牛) is pronounced niú. According to Chinese legends, in times of turmoil, the ox refuses to be intimated and walks with its head held high. Through the strength of will, diligence, and perseverance, the ox will restore order in the new year.  

The colors and symbols on the Happy Year Ox were selected for their auspicious meanings in Chinese culture. The color red represents good fortune and joy. The color gold and the circular symbols on the ox’s knees representing traditional Chinese coins signify wealth and prosperity. The plum blossoms, peonies, and clouds adorned on the ox and the pattern on the ox’s hooves are a nod to a long lineage of Chinese artistic expression. The symbols represent many blessings including good luck, power, beauty, and success. Because plum blossoms bloom in cold winters and are the first flowers of the year, they also represent perseverance and renewal.

On the front of the ox, the eternity knot is an ancient auspicious symbol representing the interconnectedness of the universe. It reminds us to let go of challenging situations and see differing perspectives in a new light. Scribed above the eternity knot is the Chinese character for good luck (福), pronounced fú. The character is written upside down because the character for upside down (倒) is the homonym of arrive (到), pronounced dào. Placing good luck upside down means good luck is arriving.

Discover the other oxen on parade, the artists, and the inspiration behind each design in Featured Stories. The Southwest Airlines float will be out at Pier 27 from Noon – 8 pm on Saturday, February 13-Sunday, February 14, and again on Saturday, February 20 – Sunday, February 21.

The live Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade is canceled for 2021, but in its place on February 20, 2021 at 6pm will be a Parade Broadcast Special and a special livestreamed Parade Preshow at 4:30pm on KTVU Fox 2 and KTSF 26.

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