The Chinese Lunar calendar is different to ours, with the New Year lasting for 16 days! This year, the New Year starts on the 1st February and begins the Year of the Tiger. In Chinese Zodiac, each year is represented by a different animal. There are 12 animals, meaning there hasn’t been a year of the tiger since 2010! However, as well as the cycle of animals, there is also a cycle of 5 different elements – with 2022 being water. So we haven’t seen the Year of the Water Tiger for 60 years!
So how did the Chinese Zodiac all come about?
It all started when the Jade Emperor wanted a way to measure time. On his birthday, he told the animals that there will be a swimming race. The first twelve animals to cross the fast flowing river would be the winners and each would have a zodiac named after them.
The rat and the cat, who were best friends, couldn’t swim very well so they asked to ride on the ox. The ox agreed, but as they approached the finish line, the rat pushed the cat off into the river and jumped on the bank. This is why cats & rats have a difficult relationship now! The rat was first, and the poor ox had to settle for second.
Third place went to the tiger, as although he was a strong swimmer, the current had been very difficult.
Fourth place went to the rabbit, who jumped on floating logs to reach the other side.
Number five went to the dragon. Although it could easily fly across, he stopped to make rain for the villagers and to blow logs onto the river for the rabbit.
Then came along the horse, but before it could cross the finish line, a snake wriggled out and startled the horse. The snake came sixth and the horse was seven.
A raft came along carrying the goat, the monkey and rooster. They had worked together to build and push the raft to the shore.
Eleventh place went to the dog, who just had to stop and take a bath in the crystal clear water.
Finally, in twelfth place, came the pig. He took a long time to cross as he had to stop for some food, and then a nap.
Each animal has its own personality, and those born in that year share those traits!
The Year of the Tiger will be different for everyone depending on their animal, but tigers represent power, courage, and might. However, be careful that these traits don’t turn into cockiness!