02/12/2021, 09.40
ASIA
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The Year of the Ox has begun, 'full of good fortune' to overcome Covid

by Paul Wang

Traditional trips and gatherings have been blocked. Hundreds of millions of migrants will spend the holidays in their workplace. Macau's casinos lost 63% of their revenue last year. The astrologers promise: this year there will be wealth and success. Greetings from Pope Francis.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - At least 2 billion people across the nations of the Far East and Southeast Asia today celebrate the Lunar New Year: not only China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, but also all those countries where there is a considerable percentage of Chinese migrants: Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, ...

Very often the New Year festivities are the only holidays given to workers and they last at least 15 days, until the Lantern Festival.

Each year it is under the influence of one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. This year is the year of the Ox (or the Buffalo), which will last until January 31, 2022.

According to Chinese astrological traditions, the ox is a hard worker, capable of resisting any difficulty, an animal that bears fruit, is constant and determined. It points to a promising outlook in a year still marked by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the beginnings do not bode well. In China, the government has advised against all travel. Usually, before the New Year holiday, hundreds of millions of migrants return to their village to celebrate with their families. But this year, many of them will spend the holidays in their workplace, missing the only opportunity they have all year to see their children and parents.

Travel is also prohibited in Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as in Hong Kong. Foreign journeys is being held back due to the quarantines required on the outward and return journeys. Even in Macau, the casinos, usually full to "tempt good fortune in the new year", will remain mostly empty. Throughout 2020, the casinos of the former Portuguese colony have lost 63% of their revenues.

Perhaps it is precisely because of the grey atmosphere that reigns, the astral predictions for the superstitious are full of great promise: the year that has begun will be "full of good fortune", "with a job that will be rewarded", "capable of attracting prosperity and success ". To attract this fortune, people are advised to wear yellow and green colours and metallic trinkets.

Even in love, everything will be magnificent because this year will strengthen the relations of friendship and love. And people are being assured, “there will be no explosive or catastrophic event”: in short, quite the opposite of what happened in 2020.

As is now tradition, the Pope also sent his wishes for the Lunar New Year. At the audience on 10 February, Pope Francis said: " In the Far East and in various other parts of the world millions of men and women will celebrate the Lunar New Year this coming Friday, 12 February. To all of them and to their families, I wish to express my heartfelt greetings, together with the wish that the new year might bear the fruit of fraternity and solidarity. At this particular time, in which we are very concerned about facing the challenges of the pandemic that touches people physically and spiritually, but also influences social relationships, I express the hope that everyone might enjoy complete health and serenity of life. Lastly, while I invite that we pray for the gift of peace and every other good, I would like to remind everyone that these are obtained through goodness, respect, far-sightedness and courage. Never forget to give preference to caring for the poorest and the weakest."

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