2021 is the Year of the Ox （牛年）, specifically the Golden Ox, which is why you might hear about 金牛.
Some things to note about 牛年
- The Ox is the second Zodiac sign. The 12 Zodiac animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig
- Every 12 years, it will be the Year of the Ox
- Each animal has five elements – Fire (火 ), Water (水), Wood (木), Metal (金), and Earth (土).
- Every 60 years, it will be the Year of the Golden Ox – 1961, 2021
- 牛 is often translated to Ox when referring to Zodiac animals, but 牛 can refer to either a bull or cow
- 金 actually refers to metal, but Gold sounds so much better.
1. Year of the Cow Auspicious Sayings 牛年吉祥話
While many Chinese New year greetings as well as specific auspicious phrases on banners can be used every year, there are some specific phrases for each animal. they are often a play on the words based based on the pronunciation (some only work in Mandarin and not Cantonese), as well as symbolism or animal characteristics.
牛年大吉 ngau4 nin4 daai6 gat1 is one of the more common sayings, and it means good fortune in the year of the Ox. This can be changed to any animal. e.g 豬年大吉.
There are more variations that start with 牛年 Year of the Ox or Golden Ox 金牛, followed by an auspicious phrase. Phrases with 牛年 can be adapted for any Zodiac animal or 新年 (new year). 金牛 also refers to A $1000 HK note, and some below are a play on the double meaning.
|牛年大吉||ngau4 nin4 daai6 gat1||Good fortune in the Year of the Ox|
|牛年行大運||ngau4 nin4 hang4 daai6 wan6||Good fortune in the Year of the Ox|
|牛年如意||ngau4 nin4 jyu4 ji3||Everything goes well in the Year of the Ox|
|牛年好運||ngau4 nin4 hou2 wan6||Good fortune in the Year of the Ox|
|牛年進步||ngau4 nin4 zeon3 bou6||Progress in the Year of the Ox|
|牛年安康||ngau4 nin4 ngon1 hong1||Good Health in the Year of the Ox|
|牛年吉祥||ngau4 nin4 gat1 coeng4||Auspicious Year of the Ox|
|牛年順利||ngau4 nin4 seon6 lei6||Smooth-sailing Year of the Ox|
|金牛迎春||gam1 ngau4 jing4 ceon1||Golden Ox Welcome spring|
|金牛滿屋||gam1 ngau4 mun5 nguk1||Golden Ox / money fills the house|
|金牛報喜||gam1 ngau4 bou3 hei2||Golden Ox brings good news|
|金牛賀歲||gam1 ngau4 ho6 seoi3||Golden Ox New year greetings|
|金牛納福||gam1 ngau4 naap6 fuk1||Gold Ox Comfortable Life|
|金牛獻吉||gam1 ngau4 hin3 gat1||Golden Ox offers Luck|
|金牛賀春||gam1 ngau4 ho6 ceon1||Golden Ox New year greetings|
|金牛送福||gam1 ngau4 sung3 fuk1||Golden Ox Brings Blessings|
Also based on the Year of the Ox
|牛來運轉||ngau4 loi4 wan6 zyun2||Ox arrives and fortunes reverse (to be used after a bad year)|
|牛運當頭||ngau4 wan6 dong1 tau4||Ox brings good fortune|
These play on the characteristics of an Ox being strong
|力大如牛||lik6 daai6 jyu4 ngau4||As strong as a cow|
|健壯如牛||gin6 zong3 jyu4 ngau4||As strong as a cow|
|牛高馬大||ngau4 gou1 maa5 daai6||Big and strong|
This plays on the phrase 牛市 which means bull market
|牛市再現||ngau4 si5 zoi3 jin6||Bull market reappears|
These use the word 犇 (ban1). This is a rare word, and a variation of 奔 which means running/ charging/ galloping/ rushing. It is also made up of three 牛, which makes it so apt for the Year of the Ox.
|錢往我犇||cin2 wong5 ngo5 ban1||Money rushes to me|
|犇向幸福||ban1 hoeng3 hang6 fuk1||Rush towards happiness|
|好運犇放||hou2 wan6 ban1 fong3||Good fortune unrestrained|
|財運犇騰||coi4 wan6 ban1 tang4||Wealth rolling in waves|
|幸福犇馳||hang6 fuk1 ban1 ci4||Happiness galloping|
Most of these phrases are not spoken but rather used in Chinese New Year banners, or in written/ typed messages.
You might also have seen some phrases which that I have not included here. Some phrases only work in Mandarin:
- 牛 has the same Mandarin pronunciation as 扭 in 扭轉 which means reverse. But they are not pronounced the same way in Cantonese 牛 ngau4 and 扭轉nau2 zyun2. 牛轉乾坤 is play on the words 扭轉乾坤. 牛轉新運, 牛轉新機 are other examples that work in Mandarin, although the Cantonese pronunciation is close enough
- Happy 牛 year is another play on the Mandarin pronunciation niu (sounds like new)
- 牛 is also a slang in China in Mandarin for awesome. Hence some cutesy colloquial Mandarin sayings might include those 数你最牛 (數你最牛)，就是这么牛 (就是這麼牛) . I used Simplified Chinese here, as I have only seen this usage in China.
2. Year of the Ox Crafts 牛年手工
The videos are in Cantonese, But for printed material, I have included craft that are in Traditional Chinese though not Cantonese. Most of them are by Taiwanese, who also use Traditional Chinese.
Paper cutting of Peace & Ox 平安牛剪紙
Firecrackers, red packets with Pop out Ox.
The templates are in the download link within the post and there is a comment in the post that shows pictures of the process.
The videos are in Mandarin, but look for the google drive download link in the post below for the template of the paper cutting and craft. (The booklet is not available for download.)
2021 Year of the Ox Frames
PNG and EPS files for download. You can also make a digital version with the files.
Texas Long Horn Lantern
Make a Chinese New Year Print
3. Year of the Ox Chinese New Year Banners 牛年揮春
Cantonese Mommy has made these really gorgeous banners and also red packets. She has lots of other resources available for download on her new website, which I highly recommend. Just head there, set up an account, and you can download the banners, red packets and more.
Her blog is also full of tips and tricks and activities for teaching Cantonese, and of course lots of read-aloud videos on her YouTube and on her website. Definitely one to bookmark, for sure.
These from Michigan Cantonese Storytime come in two versions available – one in full-colour, the other in Black and white.
These from Ma Ma Wu Workshop are really cute banners that you can also insert a photo. You have to like the page and the post, and make a greeting that also involves cow e.g. 牛年大吉！牛年行好運！
9 designs available from 兔包. Both PJG and PSD files are available for download.
ilovemama also has Chinese New Year banners that you can insert photos into, to personalize them. Click here for the blogpost which shows you what to do, and has the download link.
Cutesy banner for colouring by 媽咪老師聯絡簿
Palindrome for the New Year. (A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backwards as forwards, e.g. madam or nurses run.- Source: Oxford dictionary)
4. DIY Red Packets 牛年利是封DIY
(Mint Purple Studio has put up more Chinese New Year resources. Click around the webpage for more. )
6. Other Resources
Colouring Sheets from Michigan Cantonese Storytime
Other Chinese New Year resources :
- Chinese New Year Cantonese Teaching Activities and Resources
- Chinese New Year Cantonese Vocabulary, Greetings and Banners 揮春
- Christian Chinese New Year Banners 基督春聯
- Lantern Festival Cantonese Teaching Activities and Resources 元宵節粵語教材
- God of Wealth is Arriving Cantonese Song Lyrics 財神到粵語歌詞
You might also enjoy reading:
- Colloquial Cantonese Kid’s Educational Resources and Printables
- Free Online Resources for Learning Cantonese
- Free Online Chinese Textbooks and Course Materials
- Why it is hard for many ABCs to pass on Cantonese?