The Fable of the Chinese Zodiac


By Kristen Tomazic, Staff Writer

The Chinese fable of the Lunar New year dates back to the Jade Emperor and his birthday. He called upon animals and declared that they would all take part in a race that included crossing over a river. 12 animals were in attendance that day to take part in the race. The race began and the animals all raced towards the finish line. 

The first to cross the river were the Rat and the Ox; the Rat rode on the back of the Ox since the current was too strong and leapt off the Ox before he could make it to the finish line. The Emperor then named the first zodiac year after the Rat, then the Ox. Next came the tiger who was close behind but far back due to the strong current. The emperor named the Tiger the third year of the Chinese New Year Zodiacs. Fourth came the Rabbit who hopped across rocks and floated on a log the rest of the way. Fifth was the Dragon, who was late because they gave water to a nearby village and blew a puff of wind to help the Rabbit get across the river. Sixth was the cunning snake who had sneakily wrapped around the horse’s hoof and slithered to the finish line faster than the horse could get there. After the Horse being number seven, the Goat, Monkey, and Rooster later followed on a raft earning the eighth, ninth, and tenth year respectively. Next came the Dog who was late due to playing with people who they saw along the way. In last place was the Pig, who had eaten and fell asleep, landing them in 12th place. From this, the 12 years of the Chinese Zodiac emerged and connected families across the globe.