Happy Year of the Ox! Now Cut Up Your Credit Cards

The Chinese zodiac predicts a year of low financial risk, hard work, and patience

So legend has it that many moons ago, the Buddha invited all the animals over to party with him on Chinese New Year, and only 12 showed up. Can you imagine double-booking on the Buddha? An ultra-zen guy who walks around smiling and shirtless clearly throws the best parties, so to the 99 percent of the animal kingdom that bailed we say: whatever. Anyway, so a dozen animals show up and the Buddha decides to name a year after each of them. Enter the Ox.

The bulkiest of Buddha's guests presides over 2009 as of Chinese New Year on Monday, but what does that mean for you? In the Chinese zodiac, the Ox represents security and prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Furthermore, Oxen are "rarely driven by the prospect of financial gain" and "the thought of living off credit cards or being in debt makes them nervous" - which says to us that either someone over at Wikipedia is seriously messing with us, or the Chinese zodiac is eerily prophetic. (Contrast this with 2008, the Year of the Rat, an "arrogant and extremely deceptive and selfish" sign with -- as a bonus -- "a strong sense of entitlement." Hmm. We're really starting to like the Chinese zodiac.)

As the old year draws to a close, stock analysts -- who'll take advice from pretty much anybody these days -- have tapped Feng Shui practitioners for advice and insight on what to expect in the new year. Calmer times, say the experts, and the need for a whole lot of patience and hard work. And while Feng Shui experts have a spotty track record with market predictions overall, according to Reuters, in 2007 quite a few looked ahead and saw an economic crisis on the way.

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