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Chinese New Year 2009 • Earth Ox
In addition to the animal of the Chinese zodiac, each year also has an element and gender paired with it. There are five elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. The years cycle through these elements and change animals each year, but the elements last for two years. Why is that? Because each year also has a gender! So there is always two metals, then two woods, etc. In 2009 it was the year of the Earth Ox, which has the Chinese character, 土. She's quite fond of her tail flower and never uses it to swat away flies. That's partially because she attracts butterflies. Just wait until later in the year when her horns come into full bloom!