Happy Lunar New Year!
Lunar New Year is this Friday, February 12 and will mark the beginning of the Year of the Ox. So what exactly does this mean? The Chinese Zodiac is a cycle of 12 years, where each year is represented by one of 12 animals. There are variations to the origin of the Chinese Zodiac, with one myth describing a great race held amongst all the animals in the land.
The Jade Emperor, who ruled over all the Gods in Chinese mythology, held a competition to decide which animals were to be included in the Zodiac, and in what order. The powerful and hardy ox was a favorite to win, and as expected, was the front runner throughout much of the race.
But unbeknownst to the ox, the clever and wily rat had jumped on his back and had been riding atop him for most of the competition! Just as the ox was nearing the finish line, the rat jumped down and scurried across, a split second ahead of the exhausted ox. The rat was crowned the winner of the race and given first place in the Chinese Zodiac, with the ox coming in second. Thus, those born In the Year of the Ox are said to be diligent, honest, reliable and modest, often shunning the spotlight and preferring to work quietly in the background.
Want to know more about the animals and mythology of the Chinese Zodiac? Check out these books!
And to learn more about the traditions of Lunar New Year and how to create an easy and fun paper lantern, watch our video: