Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Year of the Tiger

This year on Feb. 14th while most of the world was celebrating the very commercialized Valentines Day, people in China were celebrating the beginning of another lunar calendar that this year is named after the Tiger.

For those who don't follow the Chinese Calendar or their horoscope predictions (like I do), here's a little information of what it is based on.

According to what I have read the legend goes something like this:

The Jade Emperor (Emperor of Heaven) decided to call for a contest: a race! All the animals of the kingdom were invited to participate in this event that incidentally took place during the emperor's birthday. There will only be 12 winners. In order to win and gain a permanent place in the Zodiac Years, the animals must cross a swift current river and reach the designated spot on the shore.

While we are all aware of the hatred between a cat and a rat, these two animals were actually very good friends once. Good friends they may be, but these two animals are the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. Although bad swimmers, they were both intelligent. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river is to hop on the back of the ox. The ox, being a naïve and good-natured animal, agreed to carry them across. However, when there is a carrot dangling in front, it is sometimes difficult to stick to friendship and the crafty rat decides that in order to win, it must do something and promptly pushed the cat into the river. Because of this, the cat had never forgiven the rat, and no doubt, hated the water too. After the ox had crossed the river, the rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, and it cleverly claimed first place in the race! 

Following closely behind was the strong ox, and it was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After the ox, came the tiger, panting away while explaining to the emperor just how difficult it was to cross the river with the heavy currents pushing it downstream all the time. But with powerful strength, it made to shore and was named the 3rd animal in the cycle. 

Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound and out pop the rabbit. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race but the rabbit was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the 4th animal in the zodiac cycle. Coming in 5th place was the gallant dragon, flying and belching fire into the air. Of course the Emperor was deeply curious as to why a strong and flying creature such as the dragon should fail to reach first. The mighty dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth, therefore he was held back a little. Then on his way to the finish line, he saw a little helpless rabbit clinging on to a log so he did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The emperor was very pleased with the actions of the dragon and he was added into the zodiac cycle. As soon as he had done so, a galloping sound was heard and the horse appeared. Hidden on the horse's hoof is the slimy sneaky snake whose sudden appearance gave the horse a fright thus making it fall back and gave the snake 6th spot whilst the horse took the 7th.

Not long after that, a little distance away, the sheep, monkey and rooster came to the shore. These three creatures helped each other to get to where they are. The rooster spotted a raft, and took the other two animals with it. Together, the sheep 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 sheep as the 8th creature, the monkey as the 9th, and the rooster the 10th.

The 11th animal is the dog. His explanation for being late although he was supposed to be the best swimmer amongst the rest was that he needed a good bath after a long spell, and the fresh water from the river was too big a temptation. For that, he almost didn't make it to finish line. Just as the emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little pig. The term "lazy pig" is due here as the pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast then fell asleep. After the nap, the pig continued the race and was named the 12th and last animal of the zodiac cycle.

I was born (according to the Chinese Horoscope) on the Year of the Fire Snake and my husband was born on the Year of the Metal Rat. According to most of the predictions of the horoscope this year is going to be a good quiet year for both of our signs.

Dunno what your signs are or if you have ever followed this horoscope, but one thing I'm sure of is that this is more that the constellation zodiac as I have been following both for many year, and the Chinese one is definitely the way to go.

If you would like more information on this type of horoscope check the wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_zodiac which also has the list of the animals by year and element.

Let me know your thoughts, and regardless of your sign, I hope you enjoy the year to the fullest!
Happy Belated Chinese New Year 2010!

2 commented; now it's your turn!:

La Peregrina said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Feliz año del Tigre para vos tambien chulindinga!

Fly Girl said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm a wood dragon and my husband is a metal monkey. I'm looking forward to this year of the tiger, which is supposed to be productive for dragons.

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