Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Chinese Zodiac....Roll Call!

This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 19.  Our current year is the Year of the Horse.  Next year, it becomes the Year of the Goat.  Stay tuned for a special Chinese New Year project from Turtlekeeper Designs!

When I was little, my mom would save us Chinese calendars with cute little pictures of the zodiac animals.  I loved collecting these.  I would cut them out and stick them around my room.  My mom would remind me that the animals are presented in a specific order.  Most people are not aware that the order of these animals comes from a tale passed down from long ago.  There are a few variations to this legend. This is one interpretation via YouTube!

This is the story: as written by Mia Roberge of Prezi.
Long ago, in China, the Jade Emperor decided that there should be a way of measuring time. On his Birthday he told all the animals that there was to be a swimming race. The first twelve animals across the fast flowing fiver would be the winners and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them.... 
All the animals lined up along the river bank. The Rat and the Cat, who were good friends, were worried because they were poor swimmers. Being clever they asked the strong Ox if he would carry them across the river... "Of course," said the kind Ox, "Just climb on my back and I will take you across."  The Rat and the Cat quickly jumped up and were very excited when the Ox soon took the lead in the race. They had almost reached the other bank when the Rat suddenly pushed the Cat into the river! He was left to struggle in the water. Then just before the Ox was about to win, the Rat jumped off his head and finished first.
The Rat was awarded the first year of the Zodiac, while the poor Ox was tricked into second place...  
Shortly after, the exhausted Tiger clawed his way to the river bank to claim third place.  Next to arrive was the Rabbit, who hadn't swum across at all. He had hopped across on some stepping stones and then a floating log which carried him to the shore. 
Just then the kind Dragon swooped down the take fifth place.  "Why didn't you win the race? Surely you could have flown across the river.", the Emperor asked.  "I was held up by a poor little Rabbit floating on a log in the water, so I blew a puff of wind to help him across." the Dragon replied. 
The Emperor then heard the sound of horse's hooves. Just as he was thinking the Horse would be the next to arrive, a sneaky Snake wriggled out from around the horse's hooves. The Snake then took sixth place while the Horse had to be satisfied with seventh...   
Not long after, a raft carrying the Goat, the Monkey, and the Rooster arrived. The Rooster had found the raft while the Goat and Monkey had pushed it to shore. The Goat took eighth, the Monkey ninth and the Rooster tenth place. 
The next to finish was the Dog. He had taken a bath because the water had been so nice. He was eleventh place. 
With only one place left, the Boar quickly came into view. He had stopped to eat and then had fallen asleep. The last spot was taken. 
As for the cat who had been pushed into the water, he finally got to shore but it was too late.  Feeling very cross with the cat, he vowed to get revenge.  Ever since then, cats have never been friends with rats.

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Enter your birthday here to find out what zodiac sign you are :)

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