The Chinese Zodiac Story
Thursday, 14 January 2021 | Admin
Chinese New Year – Wok’s all the hype about?
Chinese New Year will be celebrated on 12th February this year, and we will be welcoming the year of the Ox.
What does the year of the Ox mean?
Well, if you were born in 1925, 1937,1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 or 2021 you are in the year of the Ox. This means your personality traits should be: honest, loyal, determined and Observant.
If you were born in the year of the Ox, then you are in for a lucky year as it’s believed that if you live during a year of your zodiac animal, it will be one of the best you’ll experience. So – let us know if your wishes come true this year!
Why are there animals in the Chinese zodiac?
Ok, so here’s the fun part, there are 12 Zodiac animals in the Chinese calendar, they are: The Rat, The Ox, The Tiger, The Rabbit, The Dragon, The Snake, The Horse / Donkey, The Ram, The Monkey, The Rooster, The Dog & The Year of The Pig. It’s believed that these came about following a great race to become a “Royal Guard’ For the Jade Emperor.
The legend goes, that the Jade Emperor called out to his kingdom searching for the strongest and most resilient volunteers to become his royal guards. In order to find the best candidates, he set up a race, filled with challenges and obstacles for the participants to overcome. Those that passed the finish line at the ‘pearly gates’ would win a slot as a royal guard.
As all animals lined up at the start line, crowds gathered to see which animal would take the winning spot as head guard.
When the gong sounded, the quick-witted rat was fast to take the lead, he scurried around the obstacles gaining quite the lead. That was until he reached the final obstacle – a river – which he was unable to pass. He waited there contemplating his next move.
Those born on the year of the rat: 1924,1936, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 & 2020 are said to be wise, unique, intelligent, crafty and inventive.
After some time, the rat saw the ox approaching. The ox had used her sheer power to smash through parts of the obstacles and bulldoze her way through the race. As she approached the water, the cunning rat hatched a plan and leapt onto the ox’s head as she bounded past.
The ox went straight into the water, crossing the river – the strong currents no match for her size and power. It was here that the rat truly took advantage and just before the finish line he leapt off the ox’s head – startling her and took first place with the ox taking second.
The diligent ox was enjoying the race and when it came to the rat hitching a ride across the water she did not mind. Whilst the ox did not claim first prize, the Jade Emperor was impressed with her kindness of helping out a fellow competitor and awarded her with the title of ‘The Star of the Heavens’ and asked a special task of her.
The Emperor asked for her to head to Earth with a message from him to the poor, promising that he will make sure that they ate once every three days. However, the ox being so excited by the honour of this task, got muddled and when delivering the message to the poor she accidentally told them that they would eat three times a day! The Emperor was so annoyed with the ox for getting the message wrong, that he cast a spell that all other ox’s will remain on earth to be a constant food source and to assist with transportation and planting.
Those born in the Year of The Ox: 1925, 1937,1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 or 2021 you are believed to be honest, loyal, determined and observant. A funny part of this story is that people born in the year of the ox are believed to have a great memory – which is believed to have grown from the ox’s error of delivering the message in the past!
Whilst the rat and the ox were working together (kind of), the tiger was impressing everyone. The firm favourite to win the race, the tiger defeated all obstacles in a matter of seconds until he reached the final one – the river.
His pride took over and before assessing the river in full the tiger dove in to swim to the other side. The tiger underestimated the current and whilst struggling to swim through, he saw the ox and rat pass him. This made him even more determined and he finally reached the other side and the finish line- albeit exhausted. The tiger boasted about his third-place victory and how he was the first one to finish the race without assistance from another competitor. The Jade Emperor was impressed with this determination and awarded the tiger with three stripes on his head with a vertical line linking them. These stripes represented three important things for the tiger to protect in his role as a royal guard –heaven, the people and the earth’. Legend has it, you can still see the stripes on the tiger’s ancestors today.
Those born in the Year of the Tiger: - 1926, 1938, 1962, 1974, 1986, 2010 and 2022 are believed to be outspoken, adventurous, unconventional and enthusiastic.
In fourth place we have The Rabbit who spent time sizing up the race before setting off. Her goal was to assess the race and make cool and collected decisions on how to beat every obstacle. The rabbit is a spiritual animal, so she believed in good karma and fortune.
After passing every obstacle, she too approached the river and stopped, wondering what to do next as she was unable to swim. She spotted some rocks, and this could be her way to shore. She soon realised she couldn’t make the first leap to the closest rock so tried to think of a way to solve the problem. Here she saw the rat, ox and tiger tackle the river head on, but instead of frustration that they would beat her, she calmly wished them luck.
Her belief of good karma paid off and a few moments after the ox and rat reached the shore a log came floating down the river towards the rabbit. She had to time the jump perfectly to make the log a steppingstone to the first rock and again quickly calculated her move. Fuelled by her beliefs she went for it – and made the jump. However, this caused the log to stop moving and there she was stranded in the river.
People born in the Year of the Rabbit: 1927, 1939, 1963, 1975,1987, 2011 & 2023 are believed to be intuitive, gentle, faithful, compassionate and clever. Rabbit’s naturally have a pleasing nature and will befriend anyone. It’s believed that those born in the year of the Rabbit are often liked by many and have a good judge of character.
The rabbit needed help to finish the race and this is where the dragon comes into play.
The Dragon craves to be of use and to have a purpose or goal in life, therefore he took the race very seriously with first place in his sights. The dragon started and kept up with the rat until he began to notice that the people around him were hungry and thirsty. Their land hadn’t produced as much harvest as they had hoped due to the dry weather, therefore the dragon stopped mid-race and used his powers to make it rain for them.
Once he had fulfilled his duty of helping those less fortunate than him, he continued the race and approached the river. Here he noticed the rabbit, floating on a log – looking worried. The rabbit gestured to him that she was stuck and again, due to the dragon’s compassionate nature, the dragon wanted to help her. He blew a light gust of smoke to move the log across the river and over to one of the rocks. The rabbit jumped to safety on a rock and then made her way to shore and the finish line. The dragon gestured for the rabbit to cross the line before him, and then crossed the line himself in fifth place.
The rabbit was so grateful for the help and approached the dragon after the race to thank him. The rabbit wasn’t intimidated by the dragons’ sheer size and scary look and they became friends. It is believed that although the dragon may look scary, he actually has a soft interior.
Those born in the Year of the Dragon: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964,1976, 1988, 2000 & 2024 are believed to be passionate, courageous, compassionate, intelligent and charismatic. Much like the dragon himself, they may appear to have a hardened exterior – but are often very soft inside.
Now onto The Snake, who immediately recognised that this race would be difficult for him to complete. Therefore, the snake used his initiative and knew he had to hitch a ride. He slithered into the horses’ hoof at the start line and enjoyed a ride to the end of the race, where, just before the finish line he slithered out of the horse hoof. The horse was spooked by this and stopped just before the finish line. However, the snake and the horse crossed within milliseconds of each other.
The Jade Emperor was to call the places for the Horse and the Snake, and he decided to offer the snake 6th place for two reasons. One was that he felt the snake was at an unfair advantage to take on the obstacles and also, mesmerised by the snake he believed that dragons formed from snakes originally and asked if the snake was the dragons son. The snake was very lucky to be awarded sixth place and took the award with pride.
People born in The Year of the Snake: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 & 2025 are believed to be intuitive, enigmatic, wise, mesmerising and sensual. It’s believed that snakes learn from their mistakes and that they don’t forgive easily, holding onto grudges and dishing out revenge. It takes them a long time to form trust and relationships, but once they do, they cherish them and never let them go as they commit fully.
The Horse prepped for the race, limbering up to attempt it at full speed and strength. So much so that he didn’t notice the snake hitching a ride in his hoof. When the gong sounded, the horse was blinkered to everything around him and dashed for the finish line, leaping over all the obstacles and wading strongly through the river.
Upon reaching the shore, he was startled by a snake, which appeared out of his hoof. This caused him to spook and rear up, knocking him off course. Once he regained his focus he galloped to catch up with the snake and crossed the line mere milliseconds after the snake. The Emperor, despite giving the horse seventh place, was pleased to have the horse in his line-up of guards and gave the horse one bit of advice to take forward – which was to be aware of what’s going on around him, so that he isn’t too blinkered. This became a blessing and a curse to the horse as he found the more he saw, the more he was distracted – therefore when the horse was set a special mission or task, the Emperor made sure the horse wore ‘blinkers’ to help him keep focus on the task in hand.
People born in the Year of the Horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 & 2026 are believed to be calculated, witty, outspoken, strong and honest. They are also believed to have inexhaustible energy and to be very adventurous. They are very reasonable and are good with money and finances.
The Sheep (or Ram or Goat as it is sometimes referred to in the zodiac) stood at the start line feeling very worried about the race. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to complete the race alone, she made allies with the Rooster and the Monkey and formed a team.
All three worked together to overcome the obstacles until they reached the river. They formed a plan to make a raft to cross the river with, so the sheep took to work to find wood and weeds to form the base of the raft.
Whilst the sheep, monkey and rooster did technically cross the finish line at the same time, the Emperor decided to award the sheep eighth place as it was her idea to form an alliance to complete the task. The Emperor also gave the sheep the number 8 as a lucky number and said that good things will come in their life where this number is involved. The Emperor also declared the sheep as a prosperous animal in Chinese mythology.
Those born in the year of the sheep: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003,2027 are said to be intelligent, charming, romantic and compassionate. It is said that people of the year of the sheep are happier working in teams, they don’t like to be in charge and flourish when allowed to work in an environment they like, and at their own pace. They also like to take great pride in their appearance.
The Monkey was awarded ninth place, as the Emperor was amused by his mischievous behaviour. The Monkey helped his team (the sheep, him and the rooster) build a sail for the raft to cross the river and did so by climbing trees and finding the biggest leaves and branches as well as untangling vines to use to secure the raft.
Those born in the Year of the Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 and 2028 are said to be charming, confident, exuberant, popular and humorous. It’s believed that people born of this year love being the centre of attention, and that their mischievous side can often distract them from tasks. Saying this, they have the ability to cheer anyone up and make people laugh, and this is seen as a great quality.
The Rooster was awarded tenth place in the race. The Emperor was impressed with the Roosters attention to detail and logic when hatching a plan with the sheep and the monkey, but as he was more the brains of the operation, the emperor awarded the sheep and monkey places before him. Despite this, the Emperor was pleased to have the rooster as one of his guards.
The rooster took the race seriously and considered every obstacle and the best possible ways to overcome them. He then helped his team complete them with this knowledge.
Those born in the Year of the Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017 & 2029 are said to be witty, charming, blunt, honest, talented and brave. They are also believed to have more psychic abilities than others and have the ability to make something out of nothing. They enjoy being sociable and enjoy attention and praise, much like those born in the year of the monkey they are snappy dressers and spend a lot of time on their appearance.
The Dog was also a favourite to win the race and started off with a strong lead, overcoming most obstacles in mere seconds. The dog wanted to please the emperor and focused on the finish line. However, once he reached the water, he became complacent. He saw the rat contemplating his next move and decided to relax and bathe and play in the water. Whilst he was playing other animals passed him, which almost cost him a place in the guard line-up.
Once the dog realised what had happened, he swam across the river and darted to the finish line, grabbing eleventh place. The emperor was pleased to have the dog in his line up and welcomed him warmly but warned him to not disobey him again and to not get complacent in his royal tasks. The dog was grateful for the opportunity and remained loyal to the Emperor – not leaving his side and coming whenever the Emperor called him.
Those born in the Year of the Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030 are said to be cooperative, protective, helpful, sincere and likable. They are also said to get excited easily and be very animated when excited, but they also want to be loved and needed. They are strong and brave and are not driven by materialistic things or money. They are also known to easily adapt to situations and challenges.
The last animal in the line-up was The Pig (or Boar as he is also known). The pigs’ attitude to the race was the most relaxed of all. The pig just went with the flow and hoped that he would fall into the final line-up. He didn’t prepare much, instead the night before he enjoyed a large feast, to help build up his strength for the race.
The pig got halfway into the race and was complacent with his position of third place. The pig felt tired, so he laid down and drifted off into a nap as he assumed the other animals will take their time to catch up. It wasn’t until the pig was awakened by the loud barks of the dog playing in the river, that he realised he had slept through a lot of the race! He rushed to the river, and through to the finish line, crossing just after the dog – claiming twelfth place – the last guard slot the emperor was offering.
The Emperor was delighted to have his final twelve and was delighted that the pig took the final slot. He believed pigs to be lucky animals and saw how sorry the pig was for falling asleep – showing he had learnt from his mistake. The Emperor liked this quality and knew he could rely on the pig to complete a project or task till the very end.
Those born in the Year of The Pig (or boar): 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019 and 2031 are said to be intelligent, thoughtful, noble, curious and very responsible. Also, those born in this year are said to work relentlessly to achieve their goals and are good planners and organisers. They also enjoy indulging and being generous, however their biggest downfall is over-indulging and becoming complacent. However, as the story of the pig in the race goes, they learn from their errors. They enjoy making friends and hanging around in large groups.
So, there you have it, the story of the Chinese Zodiac. We’re interested to know what animal you are and if you feel your characteristics match those listed per animal.
Thank you for reading and we wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous Chinese New Year.