What the Year of the Ox Has In Store For You, Based On Your Sign

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s the year of the Metal Ox, which may mean something to you if you’re savvy about the Chinese Zodiac. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an astrology buff! In this article, we’ll go over what the year of the Metal Ox will bring you, based on your sign.


Wait, you do know your sign, right?


You can find it using this simple Chinese Zodiac calculator by just plugging in your birth date.


Once you know your place among the celestial animal farm, you’re ready to read on!


If you’re a Rat (shǔ)

Birth years: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

According to the Chinese Zodiac, Oxen and Rats are pretty much best friends, which bodes well for anyone born in an Ox year in terms of being luckier than the rest of the farm gang.

The way it’s explained, according to the Chinese Zodiac, Oxen are hard workers at heart, and they expect their friends to be just as hardworking, especially their besties the Rats. It’s like that old saying Show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are.

So for Rats, this new lunar year will bring more opportunities to show off their stellar work ethic. To show their buddy the Ox that they’re just as cool with pulling all-nighters, taking on all the to-do’s, and owning the saying “there’s no such thing as burnout.”

The upside, though, is that all that extra work will make a Rat strong like the Ox, forging the skills they need to get to the next level.

And boy is learning Mandarin sometimes a lot of extra work, right?

When it comes to learning Mandarin, being a Rat right now has its perks. Yes, it may require more hard work and diligence than you thought you had in you. But keep at it—just like the industrious Ox—and it will pay off in dividends.

If you want to double up on your luck though, it may not hurt to befriend an Ox IRL this new lunar year. Maybe there are a few Oxen in the Mandarin Monkey Hangouts for you to buddy up with?

If you’re a Sheep (yang)

Birth years: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

In the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox is considered the polar opposite of the Sheep.

I mean, Oxen are beasts of burden, doing all the backbreaking work around the farm while Sheep are happy to prance and frolic all day. (Yes, sheep love frolicking.)

I guess you could say sheep lack the stoic discipline that the Oxen are naturals at. So in the year of the Ox, the Sheep’s tendencies to go with the flow will be working extra hard against them.

According to Susan Levitt, an expert on the subjects of Feng Shui and Chinese Astrology and author of many books on the topics, this year, Sheep should focus on those things they’re actually terrible at—like working on those habits, getting organized, and staying focused (even when WFH.)

Just like the Rat, Sheep will need to work hard to keep up with the Ox in 2021. For the Sheep, it’s also about working smarter, not always harder.  

Unlike the naturally procrastination-proof and distraction-resistant Oxen (have you ever seen an Ox look distracted?), Sheep need to make a conscious effort to help them reign in their attention span and keep them on track.

For Sheep learning Mandarin this new lunar year, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to get smarter about things, whether that’s making more time to learn Mandarin or designing their environment to make it easier to focus, and really getting down to business. They’ll be plenty of time to frolic in 2022.  

If you’re a Rooster (jī)

Birth years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Roosters and Oxen have a lot in common. They both wake up at the crack of dawn, have a solid work ethic, and a little bit of a perfectionistic streak.

Being that they’re super compatible—like they would totally swipe right on one another in the Zodiac version of Tinder—the Rooster is said to be set up for a very lucky year in 2021.

That is as long as they keep up the hard work!

As long as they stick to their naturally studious ways, Roosters will benefit from all the sweat they’ve already poured into their Mandarin studies this year.

Things will start to click. Aha moments will come. Grammar will start to flow. They’ll be less confused by everything their Mandarin teacher say (that is, if they’re taking Mandarin lessons.)

Roosters can just ride the wave of the new lunar year all the way to Mandarin fluency! You lucky bird.

If you’re a Dog (gǒu)

Birth years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

In the Chinese Zodiac, Dogs and Oxen have entirely different agendas. While Ox favor stability and certainty, Dogs are always up for exploring a new fresh patch of grass or wondering what’s beyond that picket fence.

Therefore, the astrological predictions for 2021 aren’t as favorable for the Dog as for the Rooster. But really, this is just a matter of perspective and behavior change.

And hey, we already know Dogs can learn a few tricks!

What Dogs do really well is that they’re always finding new ways of doing things. They always have a new method to learn Mandarin up their sleeve. Another fresh patch of grass to explore.

Because of their inquisitive nature, they rarely stick with something for long enough to actually see any meaningful results. The Ox, on the other hand, doesn’t mind doing the same thing day in, day out. They win on consistency. And that’s why more often than the Dog, they win, period.

And consistency is the key to learning Mandarin.

So 2021 will be a year for Dogs to learn a trick or two from the Ox, starting with sticking with a learning method for longer before switching to another, and being more consistent with their learning overall.


If you’re a Snake (shé)

Birth years: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

According to Levitt, the Rooster, the Snake and the Ox are in a harmony triangle. Not, not like a love triangle (that’s the soap opera version of the Chinese Zodiac!), but more like the lucky vibes are triple good when they’re all together.  

So if you’re a Snake, you can look forward to a fortuitous year ahead. Basically, keep doing what you’re doing, boo.

For Snakes learning Mandarin, 2021 is the year to double down on their natural skills—and leverage those skills, like their social superpowers, to improve their learning.

Snakes thrive in the Mandarin Monkey Hangouts because it’s not formal learning by any means—it’s more like social learning! It’s really a time to get together and meet new friends (building relationships is particularly auspicious for Snakes, too, by the way) all the while learning Mandarin in unique and unexpected ways.


If you’re a Horse (mǎ)

Birth years: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Horses and Oxen play well together.

Some would even say they’re cut from the same cloth. They both have a healthy appetite for work on their feet, for one.

But horses, unlike the Ox, can get easily distracted, especially when learning becomes boring. Oxen don’t need any excitement in order to stay the course of work. Dull is cool. Ox just do.

This lunar year, the luckiest Horses will be the ones that can hone their attention span—literally, put horse blinders on—put their heads down, and really make headway in those things they set their mind to.

If you’re a Monkey (hóu)

Birth years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

The Monkey is our favorite, of course.

According to the Zodiac, the Monkey is always a step ahead of the Ox. Far more cunning, agile and graceful, Monkeys are too fast to even be on the Ox’s radar.

The Monkey is up in the tree canopy, the Ox is in the open field.

It’s not like they’re opposites or even disharmonious, it’s just that they live in completely different worlds. Actually, Monkey would love to teach Ox a few moves.

But in the year of the Ox, it’s the steadfast, strong-willed, resolute Ox that will be teaching Monkey instead. To be more, well, down to earth.

For Monkeys learning Mandarin, sometimes they can get so caught up in the big goals that they forget the little actions that must be taken to get there. They say, “this year I’ll become fluent in Mandarin,” but then forget to put in motion a plan to actually get them there.

So this lunar year, the luckiest Monkeys won’t be the ones that just leap on a whim and see where they land. Instead, it will be those Monkeys that take the time to plan out which vine they will swing from next, and then the next.


If you’re a Pig (zhū)

Birth years: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Pigs have a thing for goals. And Oxen love that. That’s why they’re considered a harmonious pair, according to Chinese Astrology.

But pigs are also the epitome of perfectionists, while Oxen are more realists and prefer to get things done rather than dwell on every little detail.

Oxen don’t obsess over having to have every duck in a row or hesitate to make a decision because they haven’t reviewed all the options a thousand times over. Oxen keep moving forward. Meanwhile, Pigs can get stuck in analysis paralysis from time to time.

They put off taking a free Mandarin lesson because they’re not sure what makes the best Mandarin teachers, or they can’t seem to find the perfect time to even take a class, they procrastinate on learning Chinese characters because they’re not sure if the Skritter app is truly the best app to learn Chinese characters. Well, you get the point.  

This lunar new year, Pigs will attract success only by taking a cue from their friend the Ox and make a move on their goals, like, now.  

If you’re a Dragon (lóng)

Birth years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Just like the Monkey, the Dragon is a creature that dwells in the highest highs. The Ox, on the other hand, is more grounded, figuratively and literally.  

In the year of the Ox, hard work wins over high-flying ideas. Naturally, the Dragon will be out of its element.

So in 2021, Dragons will do well to be a little more “grounded,” just like the Ox, and spend more time building those leg muscles while giving those flying muscles a little break. Don’t you love speaking in metaphors?

Well, it really just means that if you’re a Dragon, you may get more success this year by focusing on doing versus dreaming. While thinking big leads to the big ideas, it’s by focusing on the little, seemingly insignificant tasks—one after the other—that ultimately gets you anywhere.

So if you’re a Dragon learning Mandarin, just because what you’re doing right now seems tony—drilling vocabulary, going over nouns ad nauseum, rehearsing tones, reviewing grammar—it’s neither insignificant or all for not. Instead, you’re laying the groundwork more learning in the future.

The Ox reminds us all that there are indeed fruits to our labor, if we just spend the time putting some seeds in the ground.

If you’re a Tiger (hǔ)

Birth years: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Tigers are rebellious and emotional. In a good way, though.

Within their emotions and drive for beating to the tune of their own drum lies their power to create and to lead with passion and vision. Just as long as they harness it correctly.

Ox, on the other hand, have the emotional stability of a rock, but with way more personality, of course (I’m sure all you Ox out there would agree)! A more stable mood means Ox aren’t as prone to frustration as Tigers are, especially if they feel their learning has gone stale.

Tigers need ways to learn Mandarin that are more fun and engaging. Ways that allow them to tap into their creativity, and even into their penchant for a little drama. They learn better through games versus lectures and prefer to watch movies in Mandarin or Mandarin videos than drill grammar.

The year of the Ox presents Tigers with the opportunity to focus their creative energies into those learning opportunities that are better suited for their learning style.

At the Mandarin Monkey Hangouts, games rule over rote learning, vocabulary is learned through movie trivia versus flashcards—all ways to learn that are right up a Tyger’s alley.

If you’re a Rabbit (tù)

Birth years: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Rabbits love getting to where they’re going faster than anyone else.

As long as they’re breezing along, they’re motivated. But they lack the perseverance needed to get past learning plateaus.

The Ox, on the other hand, happily grinds away at any task no matter how long it takes. Patience and perseverance are the Ox’s prowess.

Sure, the Rabbit will run circles around the Ox, but when it comes to making slow and steady progress, the Ox always wins the race.

For Rabbits learning Mandarin, the year of the Ox is about taking the time to slow down to really understand complex subjects before moving on to others. To swap a hurried approach to fluency to one where they take it all in, and maybe even the scenic route.

According to Levitt, Rabbits can get easily discouraged if they don’t see quick progress on any endeavor. This could mean Rabbits are prone to giving up learning Mandarin if they feel their progress has slowed down—which is natural and happens to everyone learning Mandarin at some point or another (especially at the intermediate level).

Luckily, the year of the Ox is an opportunity for Rabbits to reconsider their unrealistic standards for themselves and realize that actually enjoying the Mandarin learning journey is the best way to stay on the journey.


If you’re an Ox (niú)

Birth years: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Of course, we saved the best for last.

You’re already hardworking, disciplined and even-keeled—all the lucky qualities you need to succeed this new lunar year.

So just keep being you, because the year of the Ox is your year to level up your Mandarin and achieve everything on your Mandarin wish list.

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