'Sui Niu' or water buffalo are common in southern China. They are used as plough animals in the rice paddies and are also butchered for meat. Some villages even organize buffalo fights during festivals. On our way through the mountains our bus was stopped by a scuffle between two buffalos butting heads for dominance. In China the ox is a symbol of strength, stability, and hard work. 'Niu' (literally 'cow') is also slang for 'cool.' 'Niu nian zui niu de!' means 'The year of the Ox is the coolest!'