BY HALLIE DONG
Chinese culture is full of myths, traditions, and fascinating beliefs, all dating back to ancient times. One of these beliefs is the Chinese Zodiac, a 12-year cycle of animals and their personality traits which describe every person based on the lunar calendar.
The story behind the order of the zodiacs begins with a race. According to myths, an emperor created a race for the animals to be selected—its purpose was to create a method of measuring time for humans. There could only be twelve winners, and the task was to cross a river. The first two contestants were a cat and a rat, who deeply despised each other. Even though they were both terrible swimmers, they both possessed clever and cunning minds. Discovering the fastest way across the river to be taking advantage of the oX, and hopping onto him, they shared their plan with the ox, who agreed. When the ox was crossing the river, the rat was so eager to win that he shoved the cat into the river, leaving it soaking wet and out of the race.
When the ox and the rat reached the shore, the rat jumped ahead of the ox, finishing first. The ox finished second, and the tiger, third. The order of the Chinese zodiac was beginning to form. The rabbit was about to finish, leaping from stone to stone, until it slipped. It grabbed onto a log, floating to the finish line and earning fourth place. Next came the dragon, who would have finished first, except it had to stop a few times to help local villagers. n its way to the finish line, it also saw the rabbit on the log and decided to give it a puff of air to help it finish. The sly snake, hiding behind the horse’s hoof suddenly appeared in front of the horse, who was extremely startled. Taking advantage of this, the snake landed itself in sixth place, and the horse in seventh.
Not long after, the monkey, rooster, and sheep finished the race and arrived onto the shore. These three animals had cooperated as a team to help each other finish. They had found a raft and struggled through tangling weeds in the water in order to complete the race. The sheep was in eighth, the monkey in ninth, and the rooster in tenth place. Then, in eleventh place came the dog, who would have finished earlier, except it was tempted to take a bath in the river. After a few hours, when no more animals appeared, the emperor decided to close the race. However, he suddenly heard a familiar sound! “Oink!” There was the pig! He had gotten hungry in the middle of the race, ate something, and fallen asleep. After it awoke, it finished the race in twelfth place, becoming both the last animal to arrive and the last animal in the zodiac.
Although this story has obviously been proven not to be true, it is still an interesting experience to learn a little about what the zodiacs are and how they came to be in order to better understand Chinese culture. Here are the animals in order and their attributed traits!
Rat - The zodiac states that people born in the year of the Rat enjoy saving as well as collecting. As a result, they live organized lives, often resulting in an easier financial situation. These people don’t look for acknowledgment or praise, either. They are sensitive to their surroundings, and when they take risks, they are usually successful.
Ox - These people work hard out of a sense of responsibility and duty. They have perseverance and are patient, but they often keep their feelings inside. Therefore, they are most likely quiet, but can be very explosive when they lose their temper.
Tiger - People born in the year of the Tiger are said to be independent and confident. They like being leaders and fighting for what is right; however, they can also be reckless. They are determined and always find a way to stand back up and do what they truly desire.
Rabbit - People born in the year of the Rabbit, just like rabbits, are said to be gentle and polite. With cleverness and responsibility, these people tend to be very meticulous.
Dragon - People born in the year of the Dragon love adventure and romance. Sometimes it can be hard to understand their personality, but these people seem unconcerned about the average things people worry about. However, even though at times they may seem lazy, their determination to do certain things will cause them to succeed.
Snake - People born in the year of the Snake tend to be idealists. They may seem cold at first, but when you get to know thembetter , you will find that they are warm and friendly. These people become irritated if they can’t fully understand others. They are devoted to what they do, and their weakness can be laziness.
Horse - People born in the year of the Horse are said to never give up. They are positive, enthusiastic, and optimistic, and push themselves very hard. They badly desire to have the freedom to pursue their own interests and express themselves fully. However, their negative traits tend to be keeping secrets and losing interest.
Goat - People born in the year of the Goat are said to be pure and kind in heart. They are compassionate; suffering in silence rather than speaking out. However, they still hold on to their own beliefs, and will do almost anything to achieve their dreams. These people are also great at being patient and polite in order to persuade others.
Monkey - People born in the year of the Monkey tend to do things based on what they enjoy. If they don’t enjoy it, they may become lazy or sloppy, but if they do, they will dive deep and give their whole hearts to it. These people are energetic and curious, and strongly value relationships.
Rooster - People born in the year of the Rooster can easily tell how others are feeling. They are extremely empathetic and have quick reactions. These people are talented in the arts, and make great friends, as well as plan out their lives carefully.
Dog - People born in the year of the Dog tend to be more conservative, yet full of justice, and they know what is right and wrong. They are also loyal, which causes them to avoid breaking rules with the only exceptions being people who are important to them.
Pig - People born in this year are great at thinking logically and problem solving. They are not always the best at communicating these thoughts; however, they are still kind and able to provide for loved ones. Their only weakness can be losing their temper easily.
Now, it’s time to determine your zodiac sign! Below is a chart with birth years and their corresponding zodiac animals. Simply locate your birth year and see which animal category you fall under! And here’s an extra tip: if you want to see which year is “your” year, meaning it is the year of your zodiac animal, all of the years in the chart already say so! This is because the zodiac cycles every 12 years, so adding 12 years onto your birth year will determine it.
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