The Chinese zodiac follows a twelve year cycle, each of the years being named after an animal. The Chinese believe that people born in a particular year take on the characteristics of the animal associated with that year.
I am according to the Chinese zodiac, a Monkey.
“Very clever, but mischievous. Loves a challenge and can wriggle out of difficult situations by thinking through difficult problems. Highly successful and well-liked”.
It seems that most of the Chinese New Year celebrations are based on superstitions. I’m not at all superstitious so just find the whole thing just amusing . There are others however who take this very seriously adding ying and yang, wood, earth & water elements, time of birth etc etc... I may be an earth monkey with a special number and all kinds of other things thrown in the pot for good measure.... who knows?
According to sources the description of your personal animal then changes accordingly. It’s all a bit of a
ffaff complicated to find out to be honest, so I’ll just call myself a Monkey, plain and simple and be done with it.
There are several legends about how the animals were chosen for the Chinese zodiac (they are indeed a very strange mixture, don't you think?). And to honour the dear little rabbit, here is one of them, so if you are sitting comfortably, I shall begin.....
Once upon a time..... Long ago, in China, the Jade Emperor decided there should be a way of measuring time. He decided on a swimming race. He announced that the first twelve animals across the fast flowing river would be the winners and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them.
All the animals lined up along the river bank. The rat and the cat, who were good friends, were worried because they were poor swimmers. Being clever they asked the ox if he would carry them across the river.
‘Climb on my back and I will take you across’, said the ox.
The rat and the cat quickly jumped up and were very excited when the ox soon took the lead in the race. They had almost reached the other side when the rat pushed the cat into the river leaving him to struggle in the water. Then just before the ox was about to win the race the rat leapt on his head and on to the bank to finish first.
'The first year of the zodiac will be named after you’, announced the Emperor. The poor ox had been tricked into second place and the second year of the zodiac was named after him. Shortly after the exhausted tiger clawed his way to the river bank to claim third place.
Next to arrive was the rabbit, who hadn't swum across at all. He hopped across on some stepping stones and then found a floating log which carried him to the shore. So the fourth year was named after the rabbit.
Just then the dragon swooped down to take fifth place.
'Why didn’t you win the race, as you can fly as well as swim?' the Jade Emperor asked.
“When I was nearly here I saw a poor little rabbit on a log in the water and I blew a puff of wind so that the log would float to the river bank’, explained the dragon. And so he became the fifth.
The next thing the Emperor heard was the sound of the horse’s hooves. Just as he was thinking the horse would be the next animal to arrive, a sneaky snake wriggled out from around one of the horse’s hooves. The horse was so surprised that he jumped backwards giving the snake a chance to take the sixth place in the race. The poor horse had to be satisfied with seventh place.
Not long afterwards a raft arrived carrying the goat, the monkey and the rooster.
They explained to the Emperor how they had shared the raft that the rooster had found. The Emperor said the goat would be the eighth zodiac animal, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the tenth.
The next animal to finish was the dog.
Now there was one place left in the zodiac and the Emperor wondered when the last winner would come. He had nearly given up when he heard a grunt from the boar.
'You took a long time to cross the river,' said the Emperor to the boar.
'I was hungry and stopped to eat,' explained the boar. 'After the meal I felt so tired that I fell asleep.'
'The last year of the zodiac will be named after you said the Jade Emperor’,
As for the cat who had been pushed into the water by the rat, he finally crawled out of the water but was too late to have a year named after him. He felt very cross with the rat and since then cats have never been friends with rats, so the story goes....
And that is how it all came about. And it’s true every word
Well, how to put it, the 2k smirk has been wiped off my face. I was more like my usual purple face self today and puffed my way to the finish line of 1k. Yes, yes, I know, I too am a little disappointed in my performance after such a flying start, but ho hum, as they say! Rome, they tell me, wasn't built in a day, so no tutting. No matter how much I tried to imagine Jillian psycho Michaels screaming, it was no use, that's all I could see was 'soft touch Bob'. Maybe it was because Lady Ga Ga didn’t show to keep me upbeat? Who knows. I did a bit of Lance on the bike and since I’ve ditched the highly technical two tins of baked beans method to tone my arms, I actually used some proper bone fide weights (again), so the running maybe off whack but the Jennifer Anniston arms and shoulders project is coming on a treat, well ok, not quite, but don’t be too down on me, it’s tough out there J