You may have heard of the Chinese Year of the Dragon etc, but do you know what it all means?
In China, individual birth dates are not as important as the year in which a person is born. In Chinese astrology, there are twelve Chinese zodiac signs. The moon’s cycle repeats itself every twelve years and so there are twelve animals in the Chinese horoscope – one for each year of the lunar cycle. Each animal is assigned to each solar month.
The origins of the Chinese zodiac go back a few thousand years. Legend says that Buddha decided to call all the animals on earth, but only twelve came: the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and the Pig.
To thank them for coming, Buddha assigned each of the animals a year on the cycle, affirming that children born in that year would acquire the personality traits of the animal assigned to that year.
Rat: charming, picky, ambitious and bright.
Ox: patient, hardworking and dependable.
Tiger: powerful, aggressive and courageous. Can be unpredictable.
Rabbit: affectionate, virtuous and kind. Sensitive to beauty.
Dragon: the Dragon was a symbol of imperial power and the Chinese consider it a great honour to be born in the Year of the Dragon. Children born under this sign are powerful, full of strength and energy, and always on the go.
Snake: determined, wise and intense. Tends to be vain.
Horse: popular and very attractive. Talkative and sometimes impatient.
Sheep/Goat: creative and elegant. Tender and sympathetic, but sometimes shy.
Monkey: charming, intelligent and inventive, but sometimes deceitful.
Rooster: your child will enjoy learning and won’t be afraid to work. Can be a little sure of themselves.
Dog: loyal and sincere. Like things to be fair. Works well with others.
Pig: brave, noble and chivalrous. Tend to make lifelong friendships.
In order to decide their order in the cycle, the animals held a race. The first to cross the river would be assigned the first year, the runner-up would be granted the second year, and so on.
Initially, the strong, hardworking Ox was in the lead, but, suddenly, the clever Rat jumped onto the Ox’s back and got a free ride across the river! At the very last moment when approaching the shore, the Rat jumped onto the land and won the race! The Ox came in second, the Tiger third and the rest of the animals duly followed, with the laid-back and happy-go-lucky Pig coming in last!
If you want to check out your child’s Chinese zodiac sign, just look at the infographic below.