Legend tells us that Buddha called all the animals to his side before he left the Earth. Only 12 animals responded and came to say goodby. Buddha rewarded these 12 by naming a year after each one in the order of their arrival. The Chinese belief is that the animal in the year of a person’s birth has great influence on the personality and character of that person. The saying is “this is an animal that hides in your heart.”
Dating from 2600 BC, the Chinese Lunar New Year has the longest recorded history. Emperor Huang Ti first introduced the zodiac cycle. The new year, based on the cycles of the moon, can fall any time between late January and mid-February.
The Chinese New Year is a time of celebration, feasting, fireworks and exchanging gifts. It is one of the most important Chinese holidays lasting 15 days, beginning and ending with a new moon.
This year, 2010, is the Year of the Tiger and began February 14th.
These are the animals in order of their appearance and the characteristics attributed to them.
Rat – charming, quick to anger, thrifty, ambitious
Ox (Water Buffalo in Vietnam) – eccentric, stubborn, hard-working, patient, fierce tempered
Tiger – confident, capable, adventurous, sensitive, short-tempered
Rabbit (Cat in Vietnam) – sociable, good taste, love their homes, peaceable
Dragon – strong personalities, freedom-loving, hate routine, excitable, energetic, honest, brave
Snake – possesses great widom, sympathetic, responsible, vain, selfish
Horse – ambitious, hard-working, cheerful, wise, good with money
Monkey – clever, difficult problem solvers, flexible, cheeky, inventive
Rooster – talented, capable, faithful to family and friends, deep thinkers
Dog – loyal, fearless, stubborn, selfish and have sharp tongues
Pig (Boar) – love peace, gallant, strong, trusting