Chinese Zodiac System: Some Interesting Details
Before switching to the regular solar calendar of the western origin, the Chinese used to follow their own calendar which was based on lunar cycles. So, Chinese astrology is based on the conventional lunar calendar, which has twelve cycles of the moon. There are twelve different animals in Chinese zodiac. Each zodiac period consists of full moon cycle, from new moon to full moon. Therefore, twelve full lunar cycles are there in a Chinese Zodiac year. However, one animal stands for a whole year.
So, a Chinese cycle goes round for twelve years before starting all over again. Unlike in western system, where your zodiac comes around every year, in the Chinese system you can celebrate your zodiac birthday only once in twelve years. There are several legends associated with the creation of the Chinese calendar. One of them has it that the gods wanted to test which of the animals could reach their position the fastest. So, they asked all of them to compete by swimming through a river.
The order of their reaching is reflected in the Chinese zodiac. According to another legend, before leaving earth, Lord Buddha asked the animals to visit him. And when they went to meet him, he named the moon cycles according to the order of appearance of the animals. This makes the Chinese zodiac a circle with twelve equal parts much like a pie sliced into twelve parts. There are specific characteristics associated with every zodiac animal in the Chinese system. The animals are ox, rabbit, tiger, rat, snake, sheep, horse, monkey, rooster, boar, dog and dragon. So, if you fall under ‘rat’, you are supposed to be aggressive, charming, perfectionist and a little secretive. You are also party loving and somewhat stubborn. Those who belong to the ‘rat’ zodiac may also be somewhat mean at times. Therefore, each zodiac represents a complete personality with both positive and negative traits.
Chinese zodiac system is much different from the solar-based western zodiac system we are all so familiar with. However, many a time the traits you are supposed to have under western system are much the same as those under the Chinese system. That’s quite amazing. This, however, may not happen in all cases.
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