Chinese New Year celebrations have got underway in Beijing and across the world.Hundreds of millions of people have been gearing up to welcome in the Year of the Ox, which means that all things bovine are selling like hot cakes. “Most people buy these as gifts,” said one vendor selling cuddly cows in China’s capital. “They give them to friends or relatives for the Spring Festival. Most young people like to give them to their parents as a present.” Many Chinese see in the New Year eating dumplings, which symbolise wealth because their shape resembles traditional Chinese gold and silver ingots. Families normally get together to enjoy the dish, although one feast this year brought together more than 12,000 people in one district of Beijing. The Ox is also being feted as far away as Peru; after the United States and Canada, it holds the largest community of Chinese descendants in the world. “The ox represents jobs, production and wealth,” said one member of the Chinese community in Lima. “We will reap what we have sown. This year will be prosperous for all of us.” Which can only be good news as the weight of the economic crisis continues to bear down on the world!