What the Chinese Zodiac Holds for you
As the English saying goes, every dog has its day.
In the Chinese lunar calendar, however, only 12 lucky animals(that’s if you include a dragon, rodent and reptile) are entitled to the honor of “holding court” for a whole year
These are the mouse, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Despite idioms based on the perceived characteristics of some animals – such as “short-sighted as a mouse”, “llazy as a pig” and “stubborn as a mule” – they all receive considerable respect in the years they rule.
As is true of most anything ancient, the origin of the Chinese Zodiac’s animal signs is a mixture of legend, folklore and myth.
The Buddhist story is that when the Buddha was leaving the earthly world for Heaven, he ordered all animals to come and bid him farewell.
Only 12 arrived in time.
As a reward, the Buddha appointed them to oversee earthly time.
The Taoist version explains how the mouse managed to win the lirst position.
When the Heavenly Emperor summoned all animals to compete for 12 representative posts of the Earthly Branches, the mouse and the cat agreed to go together the next morning.
However, the mouse woke up early and found the cat still sound asleep so he didn’t bother to stir his friend.
Arriving at the meeting ground, the mouse found the queue of 11 other animals, with the ox in the lead.
Without hesitation, he jumped the queue and took position on the o~’s back.
When the Heavenly Emperor appeared, he slipped from the ox’s back and stole pole position.
Such treacherous success aroused public indignation, so from that moment on the mouse has been forced to live in some murky underground corners. And, of course, endure much grief from the cat.
What seems a more scientilic explanation is in line with the traditional Chinese yin and yang theory, which says that even numbers (including zero) stand for yang, and odd numbers for in.
Of the 12 animals, the mouse is the only exception in that it has an odd number of toes on its back paws, and an even number on the front.
Thus it was placed in the lirst position, leading the alternate sequence ofyin and yang animals.
In the past, the animal signs were taken so seriously that sometimes they became a matter of life and death.
For instance, when some families planned weddings, the animal signs of the betrothed couple had to be examined to see if they made a perfect match.
Tragedies sometimes resulted from terminated marriages when true lovers were separated because of their rival signs.
Examples were the pig and dog, monkey and rooster, and tiger and rabbit.
For most Chinese, animal signs still have some impact on their life.
They call the years when their animals dominate the “year of bad luck”.
While few among them take the “bad luck” seriously, many tend to believe their personality and character have much to do with their dominant animal signs.
Otten it is amazing to see how people sharing the same sign appear to have so much in common.
But dilferences caused by the live basic elements (metal, wood, water, lire and soil) should also be noted.
For instance, a water-dragon person could be very mild and a fire-goat type very brave.
Mouse people (those born in 1912 or any 12th year onward), are family-oriented and the life and soul of parties thrilty and quick-tempered, hard-working but also opportunist.
Pig types (born in 1911 or a 12th year thereatter) are studious, well-informed and reliable.
They are natural peace-makers, modest and understanding.
The Dog (1910 etc) stands for loyalty and faithfulness, and such people are sensitive to any sort of injustice and ready to help those less fortunate than themselves.
The Rooster (starting 1909) is active, ambitious and talented, sharp with an otten bizarre sense of humor, likely to debate, prefers working alone and is usually extravagant in dress.
If you are a Monkey (years starting 1920) you are likely to be inquisitive, intelligent and observant, good at solving problems and getting rid of hopeless situations.
You are probably also very useful in holding sensible opinions.
Sheep, allegedly dumb here on earth, (birth years starting 1907) represent strong beliefs and compassion.
You are easy-going, imaginative and creative, prefer to work in a team rather than on your own, artistically girted and with a delightful sense of humor.
A good symbol for the year would be three sheep in a flock, representing great harmony.
The Horse (1906 etc) stands for reliability and cheerfulness.
Horse folk are attractive and independent, and hat petty rules.
You like to travel and explore new places, and are also perceptive,quick-witted and like to be where the action is.
The Snake (every 121h year from 1905) represents great wisdom.
You are basically a sort-spoken deep thinker even if at times you think very differently of yourself, (see panel, preceding page).
Enter the Dragon (1904 and onward) which has long been regarded as the emblem of the Chinese nation. It typifies vigor and power.
In your earthly world you are a perfectionist who enjoys being in the limelight.
The Hare (1903) represents agility and faithfulness.
Hare types are intelligent and well-mannered, and hate any sort of disorder which is why you have a good head for business.
Being a pacifist, and thus defensive by nature, you are very sensitive to criticism.
You are also atfectionate and cautious.
The Tiger (1902) represents courage and strength.
Along with the dragon, you are believed to have strong ability to banish evils.
Those born in the year of the tiger are invariably sensitive, passionate and daring.
If you are an Ox (1901), you represent loyalty and diligence.
Ox people are tough and uncompromising, setting about things in a methodical and determined manner.
Loyal, unpretentious and patient, you love your family, stick to tradition and are suspicious of new things.
Sadly, you tend to take failures badly.