Let us imagine ourselves on a typical morning, sitting in the kitchen wearing a silk robe, sipping tea from a porcelain cup, reading a newspaper. Now let us take a look around and wonder – where do all of the objects (cup, silk robe, tea, newspaper) come from? The answer is China, the nation that has always been known for its inventions popular even today such as fireworks or gunpowder. It is fascinating how one culture could have come up with so many original ideas.
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Speaking about this culture it is worth mentioning that up to the 18th century China kept itself religiously and culturally isolated from the Western world. The Chinese culture is filled with notions new to the people of the West, for example, Feng Shui teachings, Taoism, Zen. Naturally, since China has been developing as an independent state with its authentic culture independent of the Western influences for thousands of years, its calendar has been different.
One of the most significant events of the Chinese culture took place not so long ago – it was the Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year. On the 1st of January, we celebrated, the arrival of 2015, while according to the Chinese calendar this number has gone past 4700 and is known as the year of Goat. This paper will discuss another aspect of Chinese culture – the Chinese Astrology.
Traditionally, in the Chinese Lunar calendar, there are five segments 12 years each, so the total length of an overall cycle is 60 years. This sequence can be referred to as the animal zodiac. While in Western culture, constellations make the biggest impacts on people’s lives, the Chinese believe that the year when a person was born plays the main role.
This way, each of the 12 years in the Chinese cycle is represented by a particular animal. The fauna representatives included in this zodiac are Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, and Horse. The animals are listed according to the correct sequence, which never changes.
This way, if currently, we have the year of Goat, it means that the previous one was Horse and the following one will be Monkey. Five segments are characterized by natural elements such as Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. The Chinese astrology is an ancient belief developed thousands of years ago and carefully preserved till the modern days regardless of the decades of atheistic influence of Communism in China (Sharp 2).
The particular choice for the animals for the horoscope derives from a legend, according to which Buddha called all the animals to visit him before he left our world. Only 12 animals appeared, and each of them was assigned with a place in the cycle, and ever since that time, the zodiac started to exist (Sharp 3).
Based on this belief, each human being has a certain animal that distinguishes their personality, character, destiny, and relationships with others; the Chinese call this “an animal hidden in one’s heart” (Sharp 4). Further, each sign will be described.
Rat – people born in the Rat years are good with money, make excellent businessmen, they are level-headed with sharp intuition and strong self-preservation instinct. Rats are particularly attracted to Dragons and Monkeys and are incompatible with Horses.
Ox is one of the steadiest signs. Oxen are typically enduring and purposeful; they are not easily influenced by others so they make very strong leaders. Communication is a weakness for many Oxen, yet they are very honest. Ox gets along the best with Snake and Rooster and is incompatible with Goat.
Tiger is a daredevil who loves a challenge and a chase. These people are very loyal, expressive, and in other persons’ trust easily. Tigers can be short-tempered and like to show off at times. Tigers also may often engage in conflicts with their superiors at the workplace or seniors. Tigers are compatible with Horses and Dogs and do not get along with Monkeys.
Rabbits are hospitable and caring; they like to make friends, communicate, make others feel easy and comfortable. Rabbit is a peaceful sign that does not like conflicts and arguments. A Rabbit’s weakness is a passion for dreaming and romance, which often makes them escape reality to lose practicality. Rabbits are good with Goats and Pigs and conflict with Roosters.
Dragon people are ambitious and goal-oriented. They also can be perfectionists when it comes to work and relationships with others, which may cause them to occur judgmental and critical since they cannot stand hypocrisy or gossip. Dragons get along with Rats and Monkeys and are incompatible with Dogs.
Snakes and impressively humane and are interested in helping people, so they make great medical workers. Snakes also possess strong morals and can get along with anyone since communication is easy for them. Their weakness is jealousy. Snakes are attracted to Roosters and Oxen and conflict with Pigs.
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The horse is one of the friendliest signs; they generally are born with easy-going characters, so they end up having lots of friends around. At the same time, this is also their weakness since too many social activities require a lot of money, so Horses have trouble with spending. This sign feels good around Dogs and Tigers but does not get along with Rats.
Goats are quiet and gentle; they often prefer peaceful lifestyles to adventurous ones. Among Goats, there are art lovers and artists. The weak sides of Goats are their moodiness, timid nature that frequently comes along with a weak will. Goats are compatible with Pigs and Rabbits and are incompatible with Oxen.
Monkeys are active, energetic, and love the versatility. Among these people, there are many athletes. They are practical problem-solvers. Money is close with Dragon and Rat and conflicts with Tiger.
Roosters are fond of esthetics; they like to look good; they also are deep thinking and passionate about many things which may confuse since they drop their passions quickly. Roosters are good around Snakes and Oxen and are uncomfortable with Rabbits.
The dog is a straightforward leader who is also devoted, confident, and can inspire others. Dog’s weaknesses are lack of emotionality; they people can be distant sometimes. Dogs get along well with Horses and Tigers, but conflict with Dragons.
Finally, Pig is an honest sign, yet people born under this sign often do not have many friends and are rather impulsive. Pigs are compatible with Rabbits and Goats and are not good with Snakes.
Chinese Astrology is not only cultural and religious teaching; it is also closely connected to art. The wisdom of Lunar calendar is deep and has many levels, according to this belief not only people but the whole cultures and states can be described by their animal zodiac signs identified based on the year the stated was founded on.
This teaching explains the tension the USA and USSR experienced through the period of the Cold War and the conservative and steady nature of China. It seems like a focused investigation could result in interesting discoveries and explain various happenings from our history.
Sharp, D. Simple Chinese Astrology. Newburyport: Conari Press, 2007. Print.