The Chinese Zodiac is made up of 12 animals. The order in which the animals appear are in accordance with where they finished in a race. According to Chinese mythology, it was an Emperor or Buddha who called for a race. The race involved crossing a river and crossing the finish line on the shore.
The story goes that the rat jumped onto the head of the Ox to cross the river and then jumped off to be the first to cross the finish line.
The first to cross the line was the Rat and the last was the Pig. Each animal possess different traits and qualities.
Unlike the Western zodiac which is determined by month(s), the Chinese zodiac is determined by year. But the year starts and ends according to the Lunar calendar. For example, 2024 is the year of the Dragon but it only commences from the first full moon of the Lunar calendar, which this year is on February 10 which many of us will celebrate as Chinese or Lunar New Year. So if a baby were to be born before February 10, they would be born within the year of the rabbit.
Many Chinese people will use their zodiac to read their fortunes, determine auspicious dates for getting married or moving house, or check compatibility with significant others. For example, some couples who are thinking of conceiving might check if there are animals that are more suitable than others and they will aim to conceive and fall pregnant in that year.
Personalities of Chinese Zodiac Signs
Note that personality traits are generalised. There are nuances based on the place and time where someone is born. Most Chinese people hold on tightly to the exact time of birth as it is believed that with the details of your place, time and date of birth, spells can be cast. Similarly, it is believed that evil can also be warded off with this information.
Whilst many people might be excited when the year is that of their zodiac, Chinese people often approach that year with caution. It is believed that if the year is that of your birth zodiac, you will offend the God of Age and are likely to face challenges during the year. To ward off the bad luck, many Chinese people will wear something red whether it is red clothing, red underwear or they might opt for a red string bracelet which they don’t have to remove until the end of the year.
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