As we all know, China just celebrated its New Year on the 25th of January of this year, 2020, which is called Chinese New Year (CNY). China doesn’t celebrate its New Year by following Solar Calendar. Rather, China follows the Lunar Calendar to make fun of their traditional festivals like Hangzhou Dragon Boat Festival, Lantern Festival, and the recently celebrated famous and well-known festival; New Year and Welcome Spring Festival.
This year is dedicated to Rat according to Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac was discovered in the 14 century before the birth of Jesus Christ. Some stories also say that the great Emperor Di Huang, who is considered to be the first emperor, invented the first Chinese Lunar Calendar, which follows the cycles of the moon.
The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve animals that are considered to have appeared in the period of Zhan Guo. It is thought to be the period during the 5th century B.C. There is no exact date as of when the zodiac was discovered and who discovered it. But, indeed, they were officially applied during the Han Dynasty, which is the period of 206 B.C to 9 A.D. If we calculate it, it will become more than 2000 years ago and we can’t go that much behind.
To determine a person’s birth and death year, the zodiac became famous and quite easy too in the North Zhou Dynasty, which is around 557-581 A.D. It is not much used today but that is indeed much popular when people want to lessen their age. The Zodiac is measured by a cycle of sixty years in which the twelve different animals represent a different year.
It is quite difficult for non-Chinese to understand the zodiac. So, here we present a simplification of Rat year, as well as the interesting history of Rat.
Rat is a small animal. It is the first animal of the 12-year cycle of animals and gains an important place in the Chinese calendar system. The year of the Rat in the Chinese Language is written as鼠年 and is read as pinyin. The Rat is related to the first place of the Earthly Branch Symbol, which makes it in the first place. Surprisingly, in China, there is a yearly month and also a daily hour, about 11:00 p.m to 1:00 a.m. Each year of the rat is also associated with one of the Chinese most known “five elements”.
In this modern era, the zodiacal plan of the year related to the Rat associates various and different beliefs about prognostications for the arriving year, lucky, lucky colors, auspicious romantic relation, similarities between persons born in those years with itself.
Let’s read about the famous story behind the first place of Rat in Chinese Zodiac.
A popular modern story tells us that the order of the animals in the twelve-year cycle was due to a competition between animal candidates, held by the ruler of Heaven, Earth, and Hell — the Jade Emperor. According to one version of this tale, the emperor’s advisors selected twelve candidates from among the animal types, including the rat and the cat.
The decision of winner selection was to be made on merit: the essential traits to be considered were the personal appearance, lifestyle, and contributions to the world. At the time of the competition, the cat asked the rat to wake her so they both take part in the competition. However, having jealousy for the cat’s beauty, the rat didn’t awake cat and she kept sleeping at the time of the competition.
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The Jade Emperor, annoyed seeing only eleven candidates, asked his servant to complete the twelve competitors who hastily brought pig. Once the race was started, the rat acquired the first position while the ox was the second winner. The Jade Emperor put these animals in order each representing a year in the zodiac calendar, rat being in the first place of the year so the year 2020 is called the rat year in China.