BC: Information Bibliography: “The Chinese Zodiac.” China.MrDonn. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2010.
FC: The Chinese Zodiac | By Norah
1: In ancient China, Sheng xiao means the ‘Chinese zodiac’ in Chinese and is a calendar that represented by twelve animals. Its history is kind of hazy and no one knows how the idea actually came to mind but the ancient Chinese people state many legends and stories about the making of this calendar. From this calendar, each person is given an animal depending on what year you were born in and with that sign, you get your personality relating to that of your creature. The zodiac can have a great effect on your life causing you to make decisions, choose between left and right, and also has its benefits to others. Also, zodiac doesn't only refer to the Chinese zodiac but also to astronomy and astrology (horoscopes).
2: The zodiac isn't a religion but a kind of philosophy, like Legalism, Taoism, or Confucianism, since you can decide to believe in that way or not. It was said to be ‘found’ or created by the emperor Huangdi (Huang-ti) in 2637 B.C.E. in the 61st year of his reign during the Shang Dynasty. ‘Zodiac’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘circle of animals’. The zodiac calendar is a calendar that has a twelve year cycle and each year is named after twelve animals. Another fact is that the zodiac calendar isn't always true with the characteristics each year contains regarding the animal representing it because not everyone has the exact personality as the animal. Some have totally different characteristics and that is why it is sort of a philosophy. Every twelve years, the cycle begins all over again just like the cycle of life. Its order is the rat, the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. Each animal also has the same five elements which are fire, wood, earth, metal and water. So in total, there are 60 years if you include the elements since only every twelve years, one animal is represented and only one element, out of the five, can come in every zodiac cycle.
3: Since every animal has five elements, their personalities change slightly for example, the fire horse are said to be dangerous and might bring bad luck to those around them. The zodiac can change your life if you are not careful.
4: No one knows exactly how the zodiac calendar was created but as we know, ancient civilizations came up with stories to help them comprehend. Chinese citizens followed that same rule and came up with three stories/theories that we know of today. All of them follow the same concept, the twelve animals each getting a year. One of the stories is that the Buddha invited all of the animals to come and say farewell to him before he left earth. In return, which ever animal came would get a year named after them. Only twelve animals agreed to such a deal and arrived in this order: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. The second theory is that the “lord” Buddha summoned all the animals together to a ceremony so he could assign them each a year. The cat told his friend the rat, back them they were friends, that the ceremony was the next day. When the next day came, the rat didn't wake up his buddy, since cats love to nap, and cat slept throughout the morning. Then, the rat rode on the ox and jumped off to the Buddha. That is the reason why the rat is first and the ox is second, why there is no year of the cat and why cats hate rats. The third theory is that one day; the Jade Emperor of the heavens asked all the animals to come to a banquet.
5: The mischievous rat wanted to play a prank on his neighbor the cat. He told his neighbor that the banquet was the day after tomorrow. So the rat left with everyone else while riding on the ox and the cat slept in dreaming of a wonderful banquet he would never attend to. All 12 zodiac animals attended and arrived in the order of the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar and got the years named after them. Due to the rats’ actions, cats hate rats and the cat believes that the only way he will be accepted in the zodiac is to defeat his neighbor who played a terrible prank on him.
6: Each zodiac animal has its own personality which relates to the characteristics the person, who is born in that year has. | Going in order, people in the year of the rat are honest, ambitious, are big spenders, cheerful, kind or generous to those they love, and enjoy gossiping which can cost them their friends. The people born in the year of the rat are said that they shouldn't go near the people from the year of the horse.
7: Next is the year of the ox. Oxen are bright, patient, inspiring to others, easy going, have a great deal of self-assurance, have thoughtful responses, and they deeply care and share their strength with those they love. They will always take the long way instead of shortcuts and will use all their knowledge to accomplish their goal. Snakes are thought to be good partners for life of oxen.
8: Children in the year of the tiger are brave, sensitive, powerful, loyal, intelligent, competent, stubborn, and quick-tempered, make great friends, and tend to not respect their elders which get them into great trouble. They always look up to the humans who are born in the year of the horse.
9: Rabbit children are the luckiest of all, talented in many subjects, loving, shy, always happy, bright, independent, ambitious, trustworthy and like to know how things work. There is a theory of why a child born in the year of the rabbit doesn't study in school or at home is that they pretend that they aren't interested to look like they are smart. Also, they are likely to be better of marrying a person born in the year of the boar or the sheep
10: People born in the year of the dragon are proud, energetic, blessed with good health, honest, strong, stubborn, protective, and lucky; they love flattery and are attracted to bad behavior which is their weakness. Good companions for them would be people born in the year of the monkey or the rat.
11: In the year of the snake, people are usually wise, good-looking, hot-tempered, focused, think that everyone should lend a helping hand, do not help that much but try their best since they hate to and trust their own judgment. Because of their personality, they shouldn't stay close to boars.
12: Like my cousin, children born in the year of the horse are popular in school, good looking, impatient, cheerful, quick witted, and shy, are easy to love and have trouble believing they are being cared for. Adults from that year are advised not to marry anyone from the year of the rat.
13: Ram people are elegant, creative, shy, wise, gentle, compassionate, and are often bossy because they are worried things might go wrong which will get them lots of money in the future. The animal that represents them is the color black or gray. Also, they are said to marry a boar or a rabbit, not an ox.
14: A person born in the year of the monkey have the personalities of being smart, funny, are easily confused, quick, nosy, witty, successful in life, have wonderful memories, are well informed on everything, and tend to chat a lot which sometimes does drive friends away. They are told to avoid people born in the year of the tiger.
15: Younglings born in the year of the rooster are honest, adventurous, selfish, early risers, prideful, alert, deep thinkers, good speakers in front of audiences, and do not like to travel. Even though some of their characteristics are kind of hard to deal with, but once you break through their natural suspicion, they become wonderful friends.
16: Mans best friend is also part of the zodiac calendar. People born in the year of the dog are loyal, honest, stubborn, selfish, quick learners, love to please their friends, are hard workers, try their best, can't stand injustice and prefer to be with people they know and like. | Are advised not mix with the people born in the year of the dragon.
17: Last but not least there are the people born in the year of the boar. Their personality includes being honorable, brave, intelligent, sincere, popular, they treat all people with great kindness, often late and forgetful. Some recommendable life partners for them are people born in the year of the rabbit or the sheep but are to avoid their own kind.
18: In Ancient China, the zodiac calendar had a big impact on peoples lives. They would have a huge celebration whenever a person would complete the 60 year cycle of the zodiac. Marriages were also a big issue since they paired up their children according to which zodiac sign had the ‘best’ relationship with them. If a child would love someone who is not compatible with their sign, the parents wouldn't allow it. The woman born in the year of the fire horse are said to be dangerous and will bring bad luck to those who live with it. For that reason, those woman have lots of trouble finding someone to be with and will need a person to help them boost their self-esteem and self-confidence. It also has a big influence on relationships and friendships making the people of ancient china more cautious of whom they hang out with. When you believe in the Chinese zodiac, many precise decisions have to be made, many cross paths are faced and lots of cautiousness is necessary so no big mistakes are made in your life.
19: Having said that, there are some good uses on how the ancient Chinese used the zodiac for their gain. The zodiac calendar was able to tell them when the raining season or when it was the right time to harvest by looking at the stars and the shapes that the twelve animals make. You can also see if your future holds good or bad luck by looking which element your sign contains and what sign you have upon yourself.
20: Astronomy, astrology and the zodiac calendar all have to do with the positions of the stars and with space. For example, the zodiac has its own twelve consolations in the sky in a band shaped form in the celestial sphere which has to do with both astrology and astronomy. Also, astrology also has twelve signs which we use like the zodiac calendar and are also seen in the night sky. Those signs (in order) are Aries (rat), Taurus (ox), Gemini (tiger), Cancer (rabbit), Leo (dragon), Virgo (snake), Libra (Horse), Scorpio (ram), Sagittarius (monkey), Capricorn (rooster), Aquarius (dog), and Pisces (boar). They have the same philosophy as well which is people having certain personalities depending on the sign that they have, The signs of both calendars do not relate when they are in order. Both astronomy and the zodiac have similar calendars that are in the shape of a circle. Even though the horoscopes (astrology) are used in the western side of the world, and the Chinese zodiac is used in the eastern part of the world, both are known to be as the zodiac but are just used differently.
21: Horoscopes don't control peoples lives as much as telling who to marry unlike the zodiac. Farmers have used the zodiac and the horoscopes that are in their star form to see when it is a good season for planting and such. Concluding with this sentence, astrology or astronomy and the Chinese zodiac are practically the same but are used in different places of the world and are in two different forms for us to use.
22: Rapping everything up, the Chinese zodiac is a kind of philosophy and 60 year cycle, if you're including the five elements, with each year being represented by an animal. It is unknown to where the emperor Huangdi got the idea of such a creation but legends tell it all. Each animal in that cycle has its own personality that relates to the persons characteristic who is born in that same year. Not only does it affect your personality, but it also affects the way your life is (only if you believe so), can change your thoughts and can change the decisions you make in life. Last but not least, the Chinese zodiac is the same as astronomy/astrology but is named and used differently. What is your zodiac sign? How does it affect your life?
24: Quiz: Question 1: What are two of the theories the ancient Chinese created to explain how the zodiac was made? Question 2: What are the twelve zodiac animals in order?
25: Question 3: What are the twelve horoscope (astrology) signs? Question 4: How did the Chinese zodiac help the ancient Chinese farmers? Question 5: What is the Chinese zodiac?
26: Picture Bibliography: Front Cover: made by me on a program called Paint. Zodiac calendar (pg. 3): www.hillsdaleschools.com/56620828173817873/ The 12 Zodiac Animals (pg. 5): picpoke.com/im/1s5mhbtd Rat (pg.6): www.flickr.com/photos/asplosh/544454437/ Ox (pg.7): animal.discovery.com/.../mammals/musk_ox.html Tiger (pg.): www.sodahead.com/.../question-375281/ Rabbit (pg.8): www.elcivics.com/easter_esl_holidays_3 Dragon (pg.9): www.freewebs.com/icycle/ Snake (pg.10): http://www.freebestwallpapers.info/wallpaper/Green-Snake-Mania
27: Horse (pg.11): www.postershop.co.uk/Anonymous/Anonymous-Hors... Ram (pg.12): www.guanzoneteen.com/shop_review/1423 Monkey (pg.13): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-455397/Orangutans-attend-jungle-school-returned-safe-forests.html Rooster (pg.14): www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.../genome/guide/chicken/ Dog (pg.15): www.dogs-central.com/.../dog-breeds-CDEF.php Boar (pg.16): bookofgrudges.wordpress.com/.../ Zodiac stars (pg. 19): www.zodiac-signs.org/.../ Horoscope (astrology) Calendar (pg. 21): http://my2008horoscope.blogspot.com/2007_12_01_archive.html Twelve Zodiac Animals (pg.23): http://www.diytrade.com/china/4/products/3079536/Chinese_Paper-cut_Chinese_Zodiac.html