Chinese Zodiac Story
The Great Race Story of the Chinese Zodiac
This is the most widespread Chinese zodiac legend. The Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) ordered that animals would be designated as calendar signs and the twelve that arrived first would be selected. On that day, the rat got up very early and very early and rushed to the gathering site. On the way, he encountered the ox that ran much faster.
In order not to fall behind, he thought up a good idea. He made the straightforward ox carry him on condition that he sang for the ox. At last, the ox and rat arrived first. The ox was happy thinking that he would be the first sign of the years, but the rat had already slid in front, and became the first lucky animal of the Chinese zodiac. That's how did the rat win the race.
Then what is the 12 animals of Chinese zodiac in order? Following Rat, Ox, are Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
About this simple story, there are different editions. Some say it was the Yellow Emperor who intended to select twelve guards. It is also said that cat hope rat could get there early and sign up on behalf, but rat completely forgot it or do that intentionally. Some say the animals were request to have a swimming race, or a simple race. Elephant was said to participate in Chinese zodiac race too, but run away finally because rat got into it trunk.
Chinese Zodiac Story of Cat
At that time, the cat and the rat were good friends and neighbors. When they heard of the news that the Jade Emperor were selecting zodiac animals, the cat said to the rat: 'We should arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late.' The rat then promised to awaken his friend and go together. However, on the morning when he got up, he was too excited to recall his promise, and went directly to the gathering place. When the cat finally arrived, the selection was over. That’s why the cat hates the rat so much that every time they meet, the cat will chase and kill it.
Why is the Rat First in the Chinese Zodiac?
Beside the tricks that rat played in the great race story of the Chinese zodiac, there are other legends about its priority in those animals. In Chinese mythology about the origin of world, the universe was in dark without form like an egg before the earth and heaven was separated. It was the rat that bit a crack and let the air in. He was the hero to start the world. That was to say the importance of him. Another saying goes that his forepaws have four toes and hindpaws have five toes, with both odd and even numbers. For such a special creature among the twelve animals, rat won the first place.
Legends seem to be strained interpretations because the original intention had been lost over such a long history. Chinese zodiac was related to the Yin Yang, Five Elements theories and other traditional life concepts. Thus it promoted the development of Chinese zodiacal culture. After having fun of reading these stories, we still have to know some facts: it is reliable to believe the zodiac animals started for worship of animals in old times and twelve most important animals in ancient people’s life in was selected to vividly represent the Twelve Earthly Branches (the duodecimal cycle in Chinese calendar). Cat was absent in the name list because there was no cat in China very long time ago.
Now, use the zodiac calculator to search for your animal sign.
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