This celebration, which is also called Spring Festival, lasts for 16 days and begins on the new moon which rises halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, marking the end of the colder winter days and welcoming the warmth of spring. That’s why at Havaianas we love it so much! The date that marks the beginning of festivities is determined by the lunar-solar calendar, and that is why it changes every year in relation to the traditional calendar. This time the 12th of February will mark the beginning of the year of the Ox, according to the Chinese calendar.
What does this mean?
Like with the Western horoscope – with which we may be more familiar with –, there is a belief that according to the date we are born on, this can influence certain aspects of our lives. The difference with the Western one where this is determined by one of the 12 zodiac signs governing your date of birth, the Chinese zodiac is based on 12-year cycles in which each year is governed by an animal according to an old legend.
Once upon a time…
The myth of the Great Race tells the story of how the Jade Emperor, Ruler of the Heavens, wanted to find a way to measure the passing of time and to do so he organised a race. According to the rules, the first twelve animals who would cross the river would earn a place on the calendar, in the order in which they would arrive.
The Rat decided to get up early in order to get a head start, and on the way to the river he met the Horse, the Tiger and the Ox. As the Rat was small and not a great swimmer, he asked the larger animals for help. Only the kindhearted Ox, who was gentle and generous, offered to carry the Rat on its head, and once they were close to the water’s edge, the cheating Rat leaped off in order to get ahead and cross the finish line in first place. The Ox arrived second, with the powerful Tiger just behind him.
The Rabbit, who was too small to fight the current, but fast and clever enough to find another way, skipped from stone to stone, trunk to trunk, until he reached the other bank in fourth place.
The noble Dragon could have flown right over the line but he decided to stop on the way in order to help some of the smaller creatures. Afterwards, the Horse opened the way galloping through the river but at the last moment it got frightened by the snake who took advantage of that hesitation to arrive sixth.
Making the crossing in an improvised boat and with each other’s help, the Sheep, the Monkey and the Rooster then arrived. Playfully having fun and splashing along the way, the Dog arrived in eleventh place despite being a good swimmer. The Pig arrived last, as he had stopped to eat and sleep along the journey before deciding to cross the river.
Every animal carries with it a series of symbols and this story intertwines with several other traditions in order to create the complex Chinese zodiac. But, superstition aside, we could say that the year of the Ox is a year for generosity and altruism: qualities that are so very necessary in the current times. At Havaianas we would like to celebrate the start of this new year, which brings with it new projects and new beginnings, and that’s why we have created two new models of flip-flops featuring two very important symbols of this festivity: the Ox and fireworks, so that you can carry the joy of the Spring Festival wherever you go.