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    In ancient times, our ancestors counted the years with 10 celestial

    stems and 12 terrestrial branches. Although this was scientific, mostpeople were illiterate and could not memorize or calculate easily. Thusthe animals that influenced people's lives were chosen to symbolizethe terrestrial branches: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse,lamb, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

    Legend has it that one day the gods ordered that animals bedesignated as the signs of each year with the twelve who arrived firstselected. At that time, the cat and mouse were good friends andneighbors. When they heard of this news, the cat said to mouse: 'Weshould arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late.' The mousethen promised to awaken his friend and to go together. However, onthe morning when he got up, he was too excited to recall his promise,and went directly to the gathering place. On the way, the mouseencountered the tiger, ox, horse, and other animals that ran muchfaster. In order not to fall behind them, he thought up a good idea. Hemade the straightforward ox carry him on condition that he sang forthe ox. The ox and mouse arrived first. The ox was happy thinking thathe would be the first sign of the years, but the mouse had already slidin front, and became the first lucky animal of the Chinese zodiac.Meanwhile his neighbor the cat was too late; when it finally arrived,the selections were over. That's why other animals appear behind thelittle mouse and why the cat hates mice so much that every time they

    CHINESE ZODIAC

    Origin ofChineseZodiac

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    RAT

    Year of the Rat 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996,2008, 2020, 2032, 2044

    Though in people's eyes, the rat is not adorable, and even someChinese sayings that related to it have almost derogatory meanings, it

    ranged as the head of the Chinese zodiac. It was recognized as ananimal with spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility and vitality.

    People under the rat sign are usually smart and willing to accumulatewealth and to make efforts to be successful. Throughout their lives,there will be many other people who can bring great fortune to them.Thus despite timidity, most of them are happy and harmonious withothers.

    Best match: dragon, monkey, ox; Avoid: lamb, horse, rabbit, rooster

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    OX

    Year of the Ox - 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997,2009, 2021, 2033, 2045

    Ranked as the second zodiac, the ox has a large volume. In the life,

    people often used the ox to indicate something big or large in number.The ox is sedulous, simple, honest, and straightforward. Fractiouspeople are said to have an 'oxen temper'.

    People born in this year are probably honest, laborious, patient,obstinate, and poor at communication. Leaders in their career may notdiscover their abilities. In their old age, they would be bestowed withhappiness. Women are usually good wives who pay attention tochildren's education, but are likely to believe others' cajolery, soshould be cautious.

    Best match: rat, snake, rooster; Avoid: dragon, horse, lamb, dog,rabbit

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    TIGER

    Year of the Tiger - 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998,2010, 2022, 2034, 2046

    Tigers, considered to be brave, cruel, forceful and terrifying, are thesymbol of power and lordliness. In ancient times, people usually

    compared emperors or grandees with the tiger. Court officials oftensaid that 'accompanying the emperor is just like being at the side of atiger'. There are also many legends on hunting tigers dealing withstruggling against evil might.

    People born in the year of the tiger are tolerant, staunch, valiant, andrespected. In their middle age, their fate may be uneven, butafterwards will enjoy a bright prospect. Their shortcoming is to projectthemselves before others. But most women under the tiger sign areintelligent, faithful and virtuous.

    Best match: horse, dog; avoid: snake, monkey

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    RABBIT

    Year of the Rabbit - 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987,1999, 2011, 2023, 2036, 2047

    The rabbit has represented hope of the Chinese people for a long time.It is tender and lovely. The moon goddess Change in Chinese legend

    had a rabbit as her pet, which stimulated the thought that only therabbit was amiable enough to match her noble beauty. The Chinesecharacter 'Tu' (rabbit) is part of 'Yi' (escape or leisure) indicating speedand distance. The Han people have a custom that a pregnant womanis not allowed to eat rabbit meat for fear that the child will be bornwith a harelip. The newborn is given paintings of children and rabbitsrepresenting that the child will have a peaceful and happy life.

    People born under the sign of the rabbit are gentle, sensitive, modest,and merciful and have strong memory. They like to communicate withothers in a humorous manner. They cannot bear dull life, so they are

    good at creating romantic or interesting spice. But they lackmeditative abilities and often sink money into ideas that may causefailures in their career.

    Best match: lamb, dog, pig; avoid: rat, ox, dragon, rooster, horse

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    DRAGON

    Year of the Dragon - 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988,2000, 2012, 2024, 2036, 2048

    The dragon enjoys a very high reputation in Chinese culture. It is thetoken of authority, dignity, honor, success, luck, and capacity. Inancient China, a dragon was thought to speed across the sky withdivine power. Emperors entitled themselves exclusively as 'dragon';their thrones were called 'dragon thrones', their clothes 'dragongowns'.

    People under the sign of the dragon are lively, energetic andfortunate. They often can be leaders and try to go for perfection. Whenthey meet with difficulties, they are not discouraged. But they are alittle arrogant, and impatient, and women are over- confident. If they

    overcome these defects, they can have a brighter future.

    Best match: rat, monkey, rooster; avoid: dog, ox, dragon, rabbit

    http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/dragon_lion.htmhttp://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/dragon_lion.htm
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    SNAKE

    Year of the Snake - 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989,2001, 2013, 2025, 2037, 2049

    In the Chinese zodiac, snake is listed after the dragon, but its placeand the significance as the symbol of worship is far behind thedragon's. The snake carries the meanings of malevolence, cattiness

    and mystery, as well as acumen, divination and the ability todistinguish herbs. In some places, people believe that a snake found intheir court can bring delight. In Spring Festival, people like to pasteonto their doors and windows the paper-cut 'Fu' character (happiness),combined with the snake twisting around a rabbit as a popular patternindicating wealth.

    People born in the year of the snake often have a good temper, a skillof communicating, and a gracious morality, but they are likely to bejealous and suspicious. They should be cautious about discussion withothers, as that might cause them to lose friendship and opportunities.

    Women under the sign of the snake do well in housework but areirritable. They might gradually enjoy happiness in their old age.

    Best match: ox, rooster; avoid: tiger, monkey, pig

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    HORSE

    Year of Horse - 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002,2014, 2026, 2038, 2050

    The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic,bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked todesignate an able person as 'Qianli Ma' (a horse that covers athousand li a day).

    People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicatingtechniques and in their community they always want to be in thelimelight. They are active, clever, kind to others, and like to join in aventure career. They cannot bear too much constraint. However theyare interested in only the superficial level of an object, neglecting theessence. Once they suffer from failure, they become pessimistic.

    Best match: tiger, lamb, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit, horse

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    LAMB

    Year of the Lamb - 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003,2015, 2027, 2039, 2051

    The lamb is among the animals that people like most. It is gentle andcalm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to

    make writing brushes and skin to keep warm. As it is white, peopledescribe delicate and precious white jade to be 'suet jade'. Thus it isclose to the meaning of good things.

    People under the sign of the lamb are tender, polite, filial, clever, andkind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, faith in acertain religion and a special fondness for quiet living. They cope withbusiness cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to beeconomical. Women born in this year are willing to take good care ofothers, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation.

    Best match: rabbit, horse, pig; avoid: rat, ox, dog

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    MONKEY

    Year of the Monkey - 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992,2004, 2016, 2028, 2040, 2052

    The monkey is a clever animal. People used to compare it to a smartperson. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC 476 BC), the

    dignified official title, marquis with the pronunciation 'Hou', was thesame as the monkey's. The monkey was thereby