Chinese Zodiac And Chinese New Year

Chinese new year is coming again. My memory still fresh that Christmas was on yesterday and now already Chinese New Year. For those that who are not familiar with Chinese Zodiac, year 2008 is a year of Rat and it’s the start of new Zodiac Round.

This morning when I was driving to my office, I have tuned to hitzfm and they were discussing on Chinese New Year, Luna Calendar and also Chinese Zodiac. Therefore in this post I am going to talk more on Chinese Zodiac. Basically Chinese Zodiac made up of a 12-year cycle and the Chinese animal signs are used for dating the years. While the Western concept of time is linear, the Chinese one is cyclical. The Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is quite different from the Western calendar. According to the Chinese calendar, the year begins somewhere towards the end of January or early February. While most of the Chinese civilization has adopted the Western calendar, yet for festive seasons, the Chinese Lunar Calendar is still the determining factor.

As the Chinese calendar is cyclical; therefore it simply means that certain things will be repeated after a time. The popular way of doing so is by using the Twelve Animal Signs. Each year is assigned an animal and they go in this cycle:

  1. Rat
  2. Ox
  3. Tiger
  4. Rabbit
  5. Dragon
  6. Snake
  7. Horse
  8. Sheep
  9. Monkey
  10. Rooster
  11. Dog
  12. Boar

 After a 12-year cycle that ends at the Boar, it would go back to the year of the Rat once more.

Aside from marking the yearly cycle, the Chinese Zodiac also serves as one’s horoscope, as you would find in a Western one such as Gemini, Leo, Cancer, etc. While someone who is born a Gemini is regarded as gregarious, exuberant, and cheerful, then someone who is born under the year of the Horse is both cheerful, popular and loves praises from others. Although these horoscopes are interesting reading material, yet not many actually take it too seriously.

One such interesting read would be an old folk story about the Chinese Zodiac. The legend was told many centuries ago when the Chinese have not invented a time measurement yet. For this, the Jade Emperor (Emperor Of Heaven) decided to arrange this calender with animals, therefore he decided to call for an amazing race.

All the animals of the kingdom were invited to participate in this event that incidentally took place during the emperor’s birthday. There will only be 12 winners. In order to win and gain a permanent place in the Zodiac Years, the animals must cross a swift current river and reach the designated spot on the shore.

While we are all aware of the hatred between a cat and a rat, these two animals were actually very good friends once. Good friends they may be, but these two animals are the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although bad swimmers, they were both intelligent. They decided to team with the ox and crossing the river by hopping on to the back of the ox. The ox, being a naïve and good-natured animal, agreed to carry them across. However, when there is a carrot dangling in front, it is sometimes difficult to stick to friendship and the crafty rat decides that in order to win, it must do something and promptly pushed the cat into the river. Because of this, the cat had never forgiven the rat, and no doubt, hated the water too. After the ox had crossed the river, the rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, and it cleverly claimed first place in the race!

Following closely behind was the strong ox, and it was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After the ox, came the tiger, panting away while explaining to the emperor just how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with powerful strength, it made to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle and so the rest.

Each of the zodiac will have their own characteristics:

There is an email sent to me this morning on good day to start work with for each of the zodiac after the Chinese New Year. I am not sure how sure it is? Anyway, I can start work anytime from day 4th of Chinese New Year.

Whether you believe it or not, I am wishing all of you Gong Xi Fa Cai and Happy Chinese New Year!

Rat

Ox

Tiger

Rabbit

Dragon

Snake

Horse

Goat

Monkey

Rooster

Dog

Pig

7-Feb-08

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Worst

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8-Feb-08

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9-Feb-08

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10-Feb-08

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11-Feb-08

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12-Feb-08

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13-Feb-08

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14-Feb-08

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15-Feb-08

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16-Feb-08

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17-Feb-08

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18-Feb-08

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19-Feb-08

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20-Feb-08

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21-Feb-08

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22-Feb-08

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23-Feb-08

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24-Feb-08

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25-Feb-08

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26-Feb-08

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27-Feb-08

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28-Feb-08

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29-Feb-08

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8 thoughts on “Chinese Zodiac And Chinese New Year”

  1. walao eh~ this is the best post in 2008!!!
    it is informative and interesting!!! Yes, most chinese in malaysia more or less know about it; but this is great to post it up in the internet to let foreigner understand more about our culture. This is what blog is about! Share and learn! Especially the old folks story u r telling, it is good to let readers learn it from such an interesting way!!!
    Happy CNY!!!

  2. jesie, ya I don’t believe too much in such superstitious too. But for older generation like my mum and dad are very particular in this.

    Beng Beng, Happy CNY to you too.

    BB Community, wah… so long didn’t hear from you and suddenly see you write so long comment, I really feel so touching. 🙂

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