The Chinese zodiac is a cycle of years wherein each year is represented by an animal. Each animal represents a certain trait and personality which is said to be inherited by those born in that year. In fact, in China, your Chinese zodiac matters more than your age. The reason behind this is that they would know about your personality traits, physical as well as mental attributes, and your level of success and happiness just by the year you were born. This is all because of the twelve animals associated with each year in the Chinese zodiac calendar.
The origin of Chinese zodiac signs dates back to the Han Dynasty. Because the calendar we use today did not yet exist at that time, they used a time division related to the number 12 because the Chinese people before believed that there are 12 moons for each year which is proof enough that the time division was somehow related to astronomy. Each of these 12 years is represented by an animal. These animals include the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, lamb, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
These animals, according to the Chinese legend, were said to have had a battle with regards to which one of them should be the boss of the 12 year cycle. To put an end to the dispute, the gods decided to organize a race wherein the victorious winner would be the one to lead the cycle of these years. Towards the end of the race, the ox was at the lead. However, the ox did not know that the rat was riding on his back the whole time. When the ox was almost at the finish line, the rat jumped off his back and reached the line before the ox did. This is why the year of the rat is the marker of the beginning of the twelve year cycle.
In Shenzhen, as well as in other places all over China, people have already prepared for this year which is represented by the rabbit. There are scheduled events to provide information about what to expect in the year of the rabbit for those who were born in this animal sign as well as those who were not. People are advised to wear something red to ward off bad luck that might come their way. While some would rush out to buy red stuff ranging from scarves to underwear, there are some who rely on optimism.
Photo Source: sina.com
For Further Reading:
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The Transformation of the Traditional Chinese Woman
Business Etiquettes in China Part I
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