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These three signs are said to be intense and powerful individuals capable of great good, who make great leaders but are rather unpredictable. The three are said to be intelligent, magnanimous, charismatic, charming, authoritative, confident, eloquent and artistic, but can be manipulative, jealous, selfish, aggressive, vindictive or deceitful.
These three signs are said to possess endurance and application, with slow accumulation of energy, meticulous at planning but tending to hold fixed opinions. The three are said to be intelligent, hard-working, modest, industrious, loyal, philosophical, patient, good-hearted and morally upright, but can also be self-righteous, egotistical, vain, judgmental, narrow-minded or petty.
These three signs are said to seek true love, to pursue humanitarian causes, to be idealistic and independent but tending to be impulsive. The three are said to be productive, enthusiastic, independent, engaging, dynamic, honorable, loyal and protective, but can also be rash, rebellious, quarrelsome, anxious, disagreeable or stubborn.
These three signs are said to have a calm nature and somewhat reasonable approach; they seek aesthetic beauty and are artistic, well-mannered and compassionate, yet detached and resigned to their condition. Zodiac origin stories[ edit ] There are many stories and fables to explain the beginning of the zodiac.
Since the Han Dynasty , the 12 Earthly Branches have been used to record the time of day. However, for the sake of entertainment and convenience, they have been replaced by the 12 animals. The 24 hours are divided into 12 periods, and a mnemonic refers to the behaviour of the animals: This is the time when Rats are most active in seeking food.
Rats also have a different number of digits on front and hind legs, thus earning Rat the symbol of "turn over" or "new start". This is the time when Oxen begin to chew the cud slowly and comfortably. This is the time when Tigers hunt their prey more and show their ferocity. This is the time when the Jade Rabbit is busy pounding herbal medicine on the Moon according to the tale.
This is the time when Dragons are hovering in the sky to give rain. This is the time when Snakes are leaving their caves. This is the time when the sun is high overhead and while other animals are lying down for a rest, Horses are still standing.
This is the time when Goats eat grass and urinate frequently. This is the time when Monkeys are lively. This is the time when Roosters begin to get back to their coops. This is the time when Dogs carry out their duty of guarding the houses. This is the time when Pigs are sleeping sweetly. The Great Race[ edit ] An ancient folk story tells that Cat and Rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom.
Although they were poor swimmers, they were both quite intelligent. To get to the meeting called by the Jade Emperor , they had to cross a river to reach the meeting place. The Jade Emperor had also decreed that the years on the calendar would be named for each animal in the order they arrived to the meeting. Cat and Rat decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of Ox.
Midway across the river, Rat pushed Cat into the water. Then as Ox neared the other side of the river, Rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, claiming first place in the competition and the zodiac.
After Ox , came Tiger , panting, while explaining to the Jade Emperor how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. With its powerful strength, it made it to shore and was named the third animal in the cycle.
It explained how it crossed the river: Halfway through, it almost lost the race, but it was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the fourth animal in the zodiac cycle. In fifth place was the flying Dragon. The Jade Emperor was deeply curious as to why a swift airborne creature such as the Dragon should fail to reach first place. The mighty Dragon explained that it had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, and therefore it was held back.
Then, on its way to the finish, it saw the helpless Rabbit clinging onto a log so it did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Jade Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the Dragon , and it was added into the zodiac cycle.
As soon as it had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the Horse appeared. Hidden on its hoof was the Snake , whose sudden appearance gave it a fright, thus making it fall back and giving the Snake the sixth spot, while the Horse placed seventh. Not long after, the Goat , Monkey , and Rooster came to the shore. The three creatures helped each other to get to the shore. The Rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the Goat and the Monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore.
Because of their combined efforts, the Emperor was very pleased and promptly named the Goat as the eighth creature, the Monkey as the ninth, and the Rooster the tenth.
The eleventh animal was the Dog. Although it was supposed to be the best swimmer, it could not resist the temptation to play a little longer in the river. Though his explanation for being late was because it needed a good bath after a long spell. For that, it almost did not make it to the finish line. Just as the Jade Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little Pig. It got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, it continued the race and was named the twelfth animal of the zodiac cycle.
The cat eventually drowned, and did not make it in the zodiac. It is said that this is the reason cats always chase Rats. Another folk story tells that the Rat deceived the Ox into letting it jump on its back, in order for the Ox to hear the Rat sing, before jumping off at the finish line and finishing first.
In Chinese mythology a story tells that the cat was tricked by the Rat so it could not go to the banquet. This is why the cat is not part of the Chinese zodiac. In Buddhism , legend has it that Buddha summoned all of the animals of the earth to come before him before his departure from this earth, but only 12 animals actually came to bid him farewell.
To reward the animals who came to him, he named a year after each of them. The years were given to them in the order they had arrived. The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac were developed in the early stages of Chinese civilization, over hundreds of years before it developed into the current version; it is difficult to investigate its real origins.
Most historians agree that the cat is not included, as they had not yet been introduced to China from India, with the arrival of Buddhism. Problems with English translation[ edit ] This section does not cite any sources.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January 2014 Learn how and when to remove this template message Due to confusion with synonyms during translation, some of the animals depicted by the English words did not exist in ancient China. Chinese zodiac in other countries[ edit ] The Chinese zodiac signs are also used by cultures other than Chinese.
The Chinese lunar coins , depicting the zodiac animals, inspired the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins, as well as varieties from Australia, Korea, and Mongolia. The Chinese zodiac is also used in some other Asian countries that have been under the cultural influence of China. However, some of the animals in the zodiac may differ by country. The Japanese zodiac includes the Sheep hitsuji instead of the Goat which would be yagi , and the Wild Boar inoshishi, i instead of the Pig buta.
The Vietnamese zodiac is almost identical to the Chinese zodiac except the second animal is the Water Buffalo instead of the Ox , and the fourth animal is the Cat instead of the Rabbit. The Cham zodiac uses the same animals and order as the Chinese zodiac, but replaces the Monkey with the turtle known locally as kra. Similarly the Malay zodiac is identical to the Chinese but replaces two of the animals with the turtle kura-kura and mousedeer kancil. One of the replaced animals is always the rabbit, the other being either the pig or monkey.
Following is the Hunnish or Bulgarian Pagan zodiac calendar, distinctive from the Greek zodiac but much in conformity with the Chinese one: