The Ox that Progresses Gradually and Steadily
The Year 2020, which has brought a lot of trouble for many people, is coming to an end. The animal of the coming year is the ox.
Since ancient times oxen have been appreciated as livestock for their meat and milk and as agricultural labor for cultivating soil and transporting items.
Oxen have always been close to the lives of the Japanese. Statues of bulls are placed as objects of worship nationwide at tenmangu shrines, where ancient scholar Sugawara no Michizane is enshrined as the god of learning. Akabeko, or a toy red bull made in Fukushima Prefecture, has been passed down as a lucky charm that keeps evil away.
The second of the twelve years of the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Ox is considered a time when the seeds planted in the previous year (the Year of the Rat) germinate and grow. Thus, it is the time to steadily build the foundation needed to achieve a goal. It is also the year of persistence, integrity, and consistency, represented by the ox that works diligently for a long time.
This time of uncertainty may last a little longer. We may as well spend a relaxing time during New Year holidays and hope that the coming year will be a bright one in which we can progress gradually and steadily without getting discouraged, just like oxen.