To ring in the Lunar New Year, Google has replaced their homepage logo with one of a trio of Doodles celebrating the Year of the Ox.

Across the world, today marks the Lunar New Year, the first day of the year on lunisolar calendar systems, which follow the movements of the sun and moon, particularly in Asian cultures. On these calendars, each year is designated with one of the 12 animals of the zodiac, with 2021 being deemed Year of the Ox. Traditionally, the Year of the Ox signifies hard work leading to a good crop.

As part of Lunar New Year celebrations, Google has commissioned three separate Doodles, to be shown in various parts of the world. In most of the world, the Google homepage features a Doodle depicting an ox standing proudly between two sets of lion dancers. Clicking through on the Doodle, Google Search will even give you a fun mini fireworks show on the results page.

Those visiting the Google homepage in South Korea are greeted with a fairly similar Lunar New Year Doodle, replacing the emphasis on gold with a bright blue sky. Additionally, on either side of the ox, you’ll see imagery from talchum, a traditional style of South Korean mask dancing often used to celebrate the new year.

Lunar New Year doodles for China and South Korea, respectively

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, Google is celebrating the Lunar New Year — or Tết Nguyên Đán — with an entirely different piece of artwork. In the Vietnamese Doodle, we see a parade featuring each animal of the zodiac. Fittingly, the Doodle features the rat — 2020’s animal — riding on the ox. This artwork is also a reference to the mythological “Great Race” that determined the order of the animals in the zodiac.

Lunar New Year 2021 Google Doodle in Vietnam

Over on the Google Doodle blog, we learn that all three variants of the Lunar New Year Doodle were created by Sophie Diao, a frequent artist of Google Doodles. In the blog, we also find early drafts of the two designs used across the three Lunar New Year 2021 Doodles.

Early drafts of Lunar New Year 2021 Google Doodles

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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