Chinese astrology explained
As the Ox and the Rat neared the finish line, the Ox was going to come first. Mr Ox came second. The Ox was too mild mannered to care about coming second and did not make a fuss.
The twelve animal signs of the Chinese calendar
Weighed down by the liquid, and leaving deep paw prints through the soft mud, Tiger ran with great effort all he could, but 3rd place was the best he could manage. Chinese Zodiacs by year — Which one are you? The Jade Emperor stood by the finish line as the animals crossed the line. Rat, Ox and Tiger would be the first three Zodiacs he proclaimed. Not far behind Tiger, was Rabbit.
Rabbit, despite her small stature, had managed to valiantly keep up with Tiger up until the river. Now Rabbit was sat on a rock in the middle of the river, plotting her route. The next rock was far away, and a risky jump. However, she needed to move. Rabbit took a deep breath, readied her legs, and just as she was about to jump, her hind legs slipped and she tumbled into the dark cold water. Before Rabbit could finish her thoughts, she spotted a log on the surface. She swam up, climbed up on the log which floated to the other side.
Back on solid ground, Rabbit cast a glance behind her, no other animal was in sight. Instead of stopping and greeting the Jade Emperor after crossing the finish line, she ran into a nearby forest, and laid down under a tree. Relief soon replaced the disappointment of coming fourth in her mind. A short while later, at the finish line, the clouds parted, a loud whooshing noise was heard, and then the majestic Dragon came down from the skies, and was the fifth animal to cross the finish line.
Dragon explained, before he got to the river he heard screams which came from a group of villagers caught in a blazing fire. The Jade Emperor was very familiar with Dragon and his personality. First or fifth, the Jade Emperor was very proud of Dragon. Soon after, loud splashing noises were heard from the river.
It was Horse , she was valiantly galloping through the river, Without missing a beat, she got on land and continued her gracious gallop towards the finish line. Right before the finish line, something slithered in the grass, and Snake slid out, right in next to Horse. Horse was startled and reared up, Snake used this to his advantage and slithered across the line in sixth, with Horse coming in seventh.
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The Jade Emperor smiled to himself, and thought how smart Snake was playing to his own strengths. Back at the river, there were three animals aboard a raft sailing across the river. They were Rooster, Monkey , and Sheep. They all arrived at the river at the same time, and Rooster had found a raft on the rivers edge.
The ores would often get stuck on underwater rocks, or in the weeds growing on the bottom. Nevertheless the three of them made it across. Without these bonds, and this friendship they would not have made it across the river. It was only right for Sheep to take eighth place. Monkey took ninth, and Rooster came in tenth. Her coat soaked, and her tongue flailing, Dog scrambled across the finish line in 11th place.
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Dog was a quick runner, and a decent swimmer, so what happened, why did she come in second to last? The day of the race was a beautiful, sunny day. He hopped across on some stepping stones and then found a floating log which carried him to the shore. I needed to make some rain,' the dragon explained. The horse was so surprised that he jumped backwards giving the snake a chance to take the sixth place in the race.
The poor horse had to be satisfied with seventh place. Not long afterwards a raft arrived carrying the goat, the monkey and the rooster. They explained to the Emperor how they had shared the raft that the rooster had found. The goat and monkey had cleared weeds and pushed the raft to the shore.
The Emperor was very pleased that the animals had worked together. He said the goat would be the eighth zodiac animal, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the tenth.
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Now there was one place left in the zodiac and the Emperor wondered when the last winner would come. He had nearly given up when he heard a grunt from the boar. As for the cat who had been pushed into the water by the rat, he finally crawled out of the water but was too late to have a year named after him. One year, Nian was driven from a village by a child wearing red clothes, so people began hanging red lanterns and scrolls on their windows and doors when a new year began—and Nian never returned.
Nian was eventually captured by Hongjunlaozu, a Taoist monk, and became his mount.
Today, the Chinese New Year is celebrated with a festival that begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the fifteenth day at least since the Han Dynasty—before that, dynasties celebrated during the twelfth, eleventh or tenth months. The Nian legend explains the food, the lanterns and the fireworks that we associate with the holiday, but I'm sure I'm not the only person who knows his Chinese zodiac sign, but doesn't know story behind it. Let's fix that.
While we have a linear concept of time in the West, the traditional Chinese calendar is cyclical and based on the cycles of the moon China has used the Western calendar since , but the lunar version is still used for holidays and festive occasions. A folk method for keeping track of the years is the twelve animal signs.
The last cycle began in and will end in Today, we enter the 26 th year of the cycle—Yin Earth Ox.
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According to Chinese legend, when the system was created, thirteen animals argued about who got to be first in the cycle of years. The gods or the Jade Emperor or the Buddha, depending on where you hear the story decided that a contest was the only fair way to settle the matter. The animals would race across a river and be placed in the cycle in the order that they finished. The rat was a poor swimmer and decided that the best way to cross the river was to ride on the ox's back.
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As soon as the ox crossed the river, the rat jumped off his back and, in a photo finish, touched the shore first.