Culture & heritage

Behind the Animals of the Chinese Zodiac

chinese zodiac

Ever wonder why each Chinese New Year has a theme heavily centred around a particular animal?

These animals represent the Chinese Zodiac cycle, delving into ancient Chinese astrology. Unlike Western astrology which deals with the positions of planets and stars, Chinese astronomers were rooted in more divination-based sciences. The five core elements of earth, fire, water, metal, and wood, the balancing of Yin (light) and Yang (dark), the flow of the natural Chi, and the cycles of time are all taken into account alongside the prevailing animal. These are all read to determine the future of one born under the specific sign, from fortune, behavioural traits, and trajectory for career, family, and love life.

Numerically, the 12 of the cycle are based on the old Chinese calendar during the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BC). Marking important times for planting, harvesting, and seasonal solstices, this lunisolar calendar revolved on 24 seasonal markers in Northern China.

Breaking the numerical organisation down, the number 12 presented itself as the most auspicious and recurring intervals of all seasons.

Many exciting things are happening this year, such as the decade reaching 2020, and it being a leap year, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, a new Mars mission, and so much more!

Read on below to learn how the animals of the zodiac got selected, and the strongest attributes associated with each respective being.

chinese zodiac
chinese zodiac
chinese zodiac

And while cats seem like a huge part of Chinese culture, the popular Fortune Cat found on most counter tops in restaurants and other businesses actually originate from Japan!

Dubbed the Maneki Neko, this cat is often depicted with a raised paw, a bed or belly of money or other good luck symbols, and a bib or bell around its neck. Depending on the paw raised, the cat is signalling the Feng Shui for money or customers.

Animal symbolism plays a huge part in Chinese culture, and it is always a fascinating read. To learn about your fortune for this upcoming year, why not ask your Chinese friends to give a prediction?

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