The Origin of the Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese Zodiac is based on a 12 year cycle. Unlike Western astrology, the astrological signs are divided by years and based on a lunar year rather than a calendar year so this is why the date always changes from year to year.
Each year is represented by an animal with their own symbolic meaning and attributes. (But did you know that each animal also has its own day and month?)
There are many different versions as to how the Chinese Zodiac was formed but the story always involves an emperor, a race and a friendship that dissolves into an eternal feud.
The Jade Emperor organised a race and invited all the animals in the world to compete. The course included a huge river which every creature, big or small had to cross. As a reward for turning up, the Emperor named a year in the zodiac after each one while the race would determine the order each animal would be placed.
The Ox was 2nd.
The Tiger ran a good race but veered slightly off course due to the strong river currents. He came in 3rd position.
The Sheep, Monkey and Rooster are good friends who worked together to build a raft, finishing in 8th, 9th and 10th positions respectively. The Sheep was voted to go first because he kept everyone calm on the raft.
In the 11th position, was the Dog who enjoyed playing in the water so much he missed the other animals passing by....
And the Pig who was more concerned with his appetite than the race, stopped for food and then had a little snooze afterwards. But he woke up just in tim to claim the final spot
And where might you ask is the cat? Well, the rat and cat were once best friends but the rat forgot to wake up the sleepy cat as promised. And this is why they are still enemies to this day.⠀