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ref:topbtw-1137.html/ 27 Dicembre 2017/A

I Segni Zodiacali..
Il nuovo anno cinese..
Good luck, and happy Chinese New Year!

Cina: da un posto qualsiasi..

As the Chinese New Year comes closer and closer, people in China are amid preparations with their families.

The date of the CNY varies each year because of the lunar calendar, and this year it falls on February 16th.
One of the major things that change as Chinese New Years is that the Chinese Zodiac animal cycle changes.
But what exactly does this mean?

Just like there are twelve star signs in the Western Zodiac, there are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac.
2018, for example, is the Year of the Dog.

As CNY passes, the twelve-year cycle continues with a new animal each year.
A common way to for some Chinese to figure out someone's age is to ask them what sign they are.

As the cycle repeats every 12 years, one can estimate your age and confirm it using simple math using your zodiac sign as a guideline.
And like all Chinese traditions, there are myths and legends surrounding how the zodiac animals came to be.
Of course, there are many variations to the stories, but it goes more-or-less like this:
A long time ago, the Jade Emperor decided that he wanted twelve animals to be his royal guards, and they would also be designated as calendar signs.

He sent a messenger to the mortal world to call for all animals, and to tell them that the faster they'd get to the Heavenly Gate the next morning, the higher the rank they would have.

At that time, Rat and Cat were great friends and neighbors, and of course were both excited for the race and wanted to arrive together.

Unfortunately, Cat had a tendency of waiting up late, so it asked Rat to wake it up the next morning, and Rat promised it would wake Cat early.

But when the sun rose, Rat forgot his promise and left for the race.

Cat woke up very late and couldn't make it into the twelve-animal cycle, and that is why for all time, cats will always chase mice as a form of revenge.

When Rat came to a very large river it couldn't cross on its own, it saw the Ox crossing the river and jumped on its ear.
Of course, the diligent Ox didn't mind, and helped Rat cross the river onto the other side.

As soon as they arrived, Rat leaped ahead and was the first to cross the Heavenly Gate, with Ox being the second.

Rabbit needed to cross the river as well, and hopped on stones and logs to pass by, but Tiger was faster and rushed through the Heavenly Gate, ranking as the third animal.

Still, Rabbit wasn't discouraged and marked its place as the fourth animal.

Dragon came next ranking as fifth, and the Jade Emperor was impressed, so he offered the sixth ranking to Dragon's son.

However, Dragon's son didn't participate in the race.

Snake took advantage of this and lied to the Jade Emperor that he was in fact Dragon's son, and the Jade Emperor believed Snake since it was very similar to Dragon.

Snake therefore qualified as seventh animal.

Horse and Goat were very kind and arrived at the same time.

They both didn't want to be ahead of the other, so they were very polite and urged each other to go ahead first.

The Jade Emperor appreciated their modesty, so he ranked them seventh and eighth.

Monkey was very much behind everybody, but it didn't back down and started swinging on vines and jumping between bushes and trees and succeeded in becoming ninth.

Rooster, Dog and Pig came, and they were ranked in that order.

And this was the final ranking of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac!

Each animal's character is reflected in the story of how they made it into the zodiac, and many say that which zodiac animal's year you were born in determines your character traits, such as people born in the year of the dog being sincere, independent, confident and loyal.

Also, many believe that by blending the year's zodiac with a corresponding element (earth, fire, wood, water, metal), you can predict what may happen in the coming year.

2018 is the combination of the Year of the Dog and the element of Earth, making 2018 a profitable, secure and rewarding year, great for longstanding projects.

Good luck, and happy Chinese New Year!

Cortesia di L.B.

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