Adele has been a youth services librarian for 25 years and a mother to a daughter from China for 20 years.
The Chinese New Year, which begins on February 12th, 2021, will be the Year of the Ox. Here is a roundup of several printable patterns for bookmarks suitable for preschool or elementary-age children to color, cut, and assemble. If you teach at a school, or if you are looking for a craft for your children to do at home, these simple patterns allow you to print and go.
Each template includes the Chinese characters for “Happy New Year” along with the pinyin version. (Pinyin is an alphabetic system that shows how to pronounce the words.)
You may use these patterns for personal or educational use. Commercial use is prohibited. Most of the images are used under license from iStock.com.
If you search the internet for “Adele Jeunette” and “Year of the Ox,” you will find additional articles with educational printables including lucky red envelopes, greeting cards, coloring sheets, and other craft projects.
Patterns for Year of the Ox Bookmarks
Below are several patterns for bookmarks that feature ox images along with the Chinese character for ox and the phrase "Happy New Year!" written in English, pinyin, and Chinese characters. (Pinyin is an alphabetic system that shows how to pronounce the words.)
Here is the link for the Year of the Ox Printable Bookmark Templates. If you’d like only one of the templates, make sure you indicate in your print instructions that you only want a certain page. If you would like to see each of the designs, click on the thumbnails below.
I usually print these images onto card stock, which makes for a sturdy bookmark. Cut along the heavy black lines to cut out each one.
I've left the last bookmark blank on the top so that you can choose your own decoration. You can cut out a picture of an ox and attach it to the top. Or, you can draw an ox in the space at the top.
Ideas for Bookmarks With Toppers
One of the bookmark templates is blank on top so that you can attach whichever graphic you would like to the top of the bookmark. I have included three different designs that you can cut out and use. Alternately, you can have children draw a picture and then glue that to the top of the bookmark. See examples of the toppers below.
Examples of Completed Bookmarks
Origami Corner Bookmark
This is a good starter origami project because it is so simple to do. Take a look at these origami bookmark instructions from Red Ted Art. It only takes 90 seconds for them to show you how to do it.
On the Origami Year of the Ox Bookmark Template, I have marked the square for you to cut out for the bookmark. Make sure you start with the printed side of the paper facing you. That way when you are all finished, you will have the Chinese character for “ox” in the bottom corner of the bookmark.
Once you have finished the folding, you can color the top triangle the color you want the ox’s face to be. Then you can color the other face parts and glue them to their proper spots.
Printable Template for Origami Bookmark
Example of Finished Origami Bookmark
More about the Year of the Ox in the Chinese Zodiac
The ox is highly valued in Chinese culture, especially because this animal has been so helpful in farming. Many positive characteristics are associated with the ox, including being hardworking and honest.
The ox is the second animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and every 12th year is named for this sturdy animal. People born in the year of the ox are said to be honest, earnest, and persistent. They think before they talk, they are logical, and they make good leaders. Sometimes, however, they can also seem quiet or stubborn.
Chinese New Year Customs
The Chinese have many customs that precede the festival of the New Year that are symbolic of cleaning out everything from the old year so that better things can come in the future.
Everything in the family’s house and on the family’s grounds needs to be swept, trimmed, tidied, scrubbed, and dusted thoroughly to get rid of any bad luck and make room for new (hopefully good) luck. Everyone needs to schedule a hair appointment well before the New Year celebrations because it is considered bad luck to cut anything during that time
If you have any dishes that are broken or chipped or any other broken things, out they go. The same goes for houseplants; any that aren’t doing too well need to be replaced with newer and more vigorous plants.
All over the world, people get new clothing for special festivals. In Asia, the new clothes symbolize that people are welcoming new things and getting ready for a fresh start.
Families traditionally post a banner on either side of the door to their home. On each banner is written a line of a poetry couplet so that the two together make a small poem to express people's good wishes. It is customary to set off firecrackers to scare away evil spirits. Many towns and cities have also added fireworks displays to the festivities.
Extended families gather together on the eve of the new year to have reunion dinners. Red is a lucky color in China, and people often exchange gifts of cash, which are tucked into lucky red envelopes called hong bao.
© 2020 Adele Jeunette