With more than a billion Chinese people set to welcome the Year of the Horse, one might be tempted to think the Denver Broncos will have luck on their side in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
However, despite the team's horse mascot and having Broncos coach John Fox born in the Year of the Horse in 1955, Chinese astrologers beg to differ.
“They absolutely will not win,” Chinese New Year adviser to the City of Sydney, Lin Abbott, said.
“[With] the coach born in the Year of the Horse, everything won't be smooth. I think he's unlucky.”
Friday, January 31, marks the first day of the Chinese New Year and communities around the globe will say goodbye to the snake, and welcome in the horse.
The Chinese animal zodiac is on a 12-year cycle. The years do not coincide exactly with the Western calendar because the start and end of each year depends on the lunar cycle. Years of the horse take in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 and 2014.
While those born in the Year of the Horse are said to be stable, adventurous and extremely energetic, unfortunately this year they are going to have to lie low.
According to Chinese philosophy, those born with the same zodiac sign as the year's designated animal are going to have a particularly difficult year.
The reason for this, Mrs Abbott explains, is the animal is positioned at the top of the zodiac chart, or “on the ruling god's head”.
“If you're born in the Year of the Horse, you're clashing with the god so you need to lie low and let it peacefully go past,” she said.
“People born in those years need to either go overseas for a big round, then come back. If they are 60 years old this year, they need to have a big party ... to balance the bad luck.”
“Don't get married or make big investments, but go to a lot of weddings and do happy things.”
Mrs Abbott also suggests that people born in the Year of the Horse should avoid changing jobs and be careful of dealing with the boss, as this year “there will be a lot of gossip about you”.
Chinese astrologer and Sydney feng shui master Lok Tin explains that having the same animal throws the Chinese ying-yang philosophy off balance, and therefore all those born in the Year of the Horse will experience some sort of pressure or tension this year.
He also warns the Broncos to watch out for a potential sex scandal.
As this year marks the wooden horse, Mr Tin forecasts that many southern countries of the world could experience disasters involving fire.
“The wooden horse represents fire energy,” Mr Tin said.
“In the last month, we've seen a lot of fire issues in the southern areas, like South Australia and, in extension to that, we'll see more in South America and south New Zealand. Because the fire energy is so strong, we'll get a lot of fire issues like volcanos and gunfire protests, which will be very violent.”
Previous years of the horse were marked by "fire issues" such as the Sino-Japanese war in 1894, and nuclear bomb tests by the US and former Soviet Union in 1954.
For those looking to form new relationships, those most compatible with the horse were born in the year of the tiger, sheep or dog.
While many may be sceptical about Western zodiac affirmations, some Chinese are just as dubious about Chinese folklore, Mrs Abbott said.
However, she believes Chinese astrology is ingrained in the culture and therefore most ethnic Chinese grow up understanding the philosophies.
To welcome in the new year, families will be gathering together on Thursday for their last meal of the year.
Countries and territories, such as China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, have experienced a travel rush as hundreds of millions of people leave the cities to return to their hometowns to visit relatives for the holiday.
“It's about celebrating eating and family,” the director of Sydney University's China Studies Centre, Professor Kerry Brown, said.
“This is a nice point of stability to let people sit back and really reconnect with their roots.”
In Sydney, Chinese New Year is being celebrated in a two-week festival, involving dragon-boat races, a twilight parade on Sunday and lion dances throughout the city.
“The big festival that happens in Sydney is a time for ethnic Chinese people to get their culture and the richness of their culture appreciated,” Professor Brown said.
“It's more about the culture than the country. No matter where you are, this is a common thing that people can celebrate; there's no politics to it.”
The story Chinese New Year: those born in Year of the Horse urged to lie low first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.