Chinese Zodiac Legends

Posted in Uncategorized on Feb 2, 2018

Chinese Zodiac Legends

Why are these animals in the Chinese zodiac? There are many versions of how the zodiac animals came to be. A common thread between most of these legends is the presence of an amazing race between the animals of the world.

Here is one version of this race:

The Jade Emperor ordered that animals would be designated as calendar signs and the twelve that arrived first would be selected. At that time, the Cat and the Rat were good friends and neighbors. When they heard this news, the Cat said to the Rat: ‘We should arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late.’

The Rat then promised to awaken his friend and go together. However, on the morning when he got up, he was too excited to recall his promise and went directly to the gathering place. On the way, he encountered the Tiger, Ox, Horse, and other animals that ran much faster. In order not to fall behind them, he thought of a good idea. He made the straightforward Ox carry him on condition that he sang for the Ox. At last, the Ox and the Rat arrived first.

The Ox was happy thinking that he would be the first sign of the years, but the Rat had already slid in front and became the first lucky animal of the Chinese zodiac. Meanwhile, his neighbor the Cat was too late so when it finally arrived, the selection was over. This is why other animals appear behind the little Rat and why the Cat hates the Rat.

The official order of the Chinese zodiac calendar:

Rat – 鼠
Ox – 牛
Tiger – 虎
Rabbit – 兔
Dragon – 龍
Snake – 蛇
Horse – 馬
Goat, Sheep or Ram – 羊
Monkey – 猴
Rooster – 雞
Dog – 狗
Pig or Boar – 豬

The Year of the Dog begins on February 16, 2018!