A few years ago I decide to start a new thematic stamps collection dedicated to the topic of the Chinese New Lunar Year.

This blog have now the objective to share with all of you this new thematic stamps collection initiated in 2007 with the Year of the Rat.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chinese New Year Animals

There are several different explanations of the Chinese horoscope and how the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac were chosen. This telling offers insight to some of the traits of each animal.

The Jade Emperor and the Beginning of Time

The story of the Chinese New Year Animals
When introducing time, the Jade Emperor challenged the animals with a swimming race. He promised them that the first twelve to cross the river would be awarded by having a year of the zodiac named after them.

Rat, Cat & Ox
As the animals lined the river bank waiting for the race to begin the rat and the cat, who were then good friends, worried about making it across because neither was a strong swimmer. They decided to ask the ox if he would carry them to the other side of the river and he agreed.
Just before they reached the shore the rat pushed the cat off of the ox and jumped to shore. The rat made it to shore first and the kind ox came in second. So, the first year of the zodiac is the year of the rat and the second year is the year of the ox.

Tiger, Rabbit & Dragon
The tiger fought against the river’s strong current, but arrived on shore third. The rabbit, who had hopped from log to log in order to make it across the river, arrive fourth while the winged dragon was the fifth animal to reach the shore.
The Jade Emperor asked the dragon why he hadn’t arrived fist since he could both swim and fly. The benevolent dragon explained that he had stopped to make rain for people who were thirsty and to blow a gentle wind to help a rabbit who was stranded on a log, make it safely to shore.
Horse & Snake
Just then the sound of horse’s hooves filled the air, but the snake slithered in front of the horse startling him so that he jumped back. The sneaky snake therefore arrived sixth while the horse became the seventh animal of the zodiac.

Goat, Monkey, and Rooster
The next three animals to arrive were the goat, monkey and rooster. These animals had worked together to build a raft which got them safely across the river and to shore.

The eleventh animal to arrive was the dog. The Jade Emperor was perplexed by this since the dog is such a good swimmer. When asked about this, the dog explained that he had stopped to have a bath.
Bore: Lastly the bore arrived and is the twelfth animal on the zodiac. The bore is said to have been so hungry that he stopped in the middle of the race to eat and then slept off his meal before continuing the race.

Unfortunately the cat didn’t make it to shore in time to be part of the zodiac. It is said that this is the reason why cats and rats do not like each other to this day.
Each animal of the Chinese Zodiac possesses specific characteristics used in the Chinese horoscope.
This is the story behind the Chinese New Year Animals.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from India. Wishes to your new blog. Nice read. First time reading this story of Chinese New Year Animals.