In traditional East Asian cultures, Ox is the animal emblem of spring and of agriculture, as Lìchūn, beginning of spring influences, offers the ceremonial rite of plowing the ground and sowing the first seeds of the year. In China it was customary for a farmer to switch his Ox with a willow branch to enliven him from winter’s rest, stimulating and simulating Ox as the revival of spring itself.
Investing the substantial and sustained labors of Ox to draw the plow can promote an abundant season of growth and harvest, with potential for a bumper crop year. Ox symbolizes the attainment of prosperity through fortitude and hard work; being dependable, methodical, calm, patient, and a tireless worker. Furthermore, the Ox’s sturdy, muscular form makes it an unwieldy presence.
The able Ox. I took this picture in 1991 in Fùyáng, one of ten districts in Zhejiang Province, China. / Photo© ECOMA