It's Meihui's special year of the ox! Through her family's story we learn about what it means to be an ox and all of their special traits. Most people in places like North America and Europe celebrate the new year on January 1st.
But some cultures, like those in many areas of Asia, do it differently. They celebrate the new year based on the lunar-solar calendar, so the date differs every year. It occurs between January 21st and February 20th. Some cultures also follow a 12-year cycle, with a different animal representing each year. Our story takes us to the land where these animals live. In this land of animals, they have created a system of fairness to rule their community. Instead of a king, queen, prime minister, or president, they have a family who together lead for an entire year.
The order in which these animal families serve was determined long ago by their friend Buddha, who had a dinner party. Only 12 animals came to the dinner. Their special celebration years are forever ordered by the time at which the animals arrived to the party, first through last. So once every 12 years, it's one of these animals' turn to shine and serve their community.
To give everyone in each animal family a chance to lead their community, they also honor one of the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. When a baby animal is born, it is assigned one of these elements to match its personality. Each year also has a special element.
When the personality element and the year match, it is that animal's super special birthday year!
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