The Twelve Zodiacs Blogs GoodChinese

The Twelve Zodiacs

teacherfang  2012-07-11 13:04:23 0 Comments 》

The Twelve Zodiacs

十二生肖  shí èr shēng xiāo




Speaking of dogs, we naturally need to mention the “Twelve Zodiacs” that represent traditional Chinese culture. The “Twelve Zodiacs” are a group of animal images used in ancient Chinese almanacs. They are composed of eleven animals from nature - "rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig," and a Chinese legendary component - "Dragon". The Zodiacs used to combine together with the "Twelve Earthly Branches" in the Chinese Lunar calendar and usually form 12 pair groups in sequence, including "Zi su (rat), Chou niu (ox), Yin hu (tiger), Mao tu (rabbit), Chen long (dragon), Si she (snake), Wu ma (horse), Wei yang (sheep), Shen hou (monkey), You ji (rooster), Xu gou (dog) and Hai zhu (pig)". Among these, the dog ranks the eleventh. Many Westerners take Chinese zodiacs as China’s "Constellations" or “Horoscopes”. Based on a 12-year cycle, each year has an animal as its symbol. In ancient times, zodiacs were also used to represent different time periods of the day, what we call “Shi Chen”, literally the “time periods”. In Chinese lunar calendar, there are 12 time periods a day, and every time period includes two hours. “Zi shi”, or midnight time, is the first of the twelve time periods (i.e. from 23:00 to 01:00), and the zodiac animal that matches it is rat. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, one who was born in a certain time period is usually identified having the nature of the zodiac animal. For instance, rat symbolizes wisdom; ox, hard work; tiger, bravery and courage; rabbit, prudence; dragon, bravery and power; snake, flexibility; horse, courage and fearlessness; sheep, softness and harmony; monkey, cleverness; chicken, constancy; dog, loyalty; and pig, easy-going. In short, all of these connotations for zodiacs were derived from the good wishes of ancient Chinese for their later generations.



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