The Chinese people are in general quite superstitious, and thus numbers, colors and lucky omens are all greatly respected. Even their Zodiac has references to the animal kingdom and some legendary beasts. The Chinese Zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, that has a creature attached to each year. In order the signs are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. There is supposed to be a relationship between each animal and humans although it is hard to see that with the dragon! Originally this zodiac was created to help count the years, and it has now been assimilated into the Western Gregorian calendar. The order of the animals was based on the living habits of the animals and also their unique characters. The ancient legend of the Chinese Zodiac is that the gods gave instruction to which animals should be chosen and in which order.
The Chinese Birth Year
Chinese take their birth year very seriously, and if they somehow offend Taisui or the God of Age they can suffer sickness and economic downfall. There are ways to help prevent such trouble coming your way such as wearing red underwear, socks or even belts. Red is a lucky color for Chinese people, and certain jewelry is also considered to be lucky.
Year of the Rat
The rat is the first zodiac sign, and for Westerners this creature is far from adorable. However, in China that rat is attributed to qualities such as wit, vitality, spirit, and alertness.
Year of the Tiger
The third sign is that of the tiger, and this animal represents power and stature. They are also accredited to being cruel and terrifying which makes the tiger a creature to revere and respect. In Chinese literature, there are many legends written about tigers that elevate these grand creatures to the highest level.
Year of the Dragon
The dragon is a mythical creature that plays a big part in Chinese culture, and the people of China believe that they are actually descended from dragons. Dragons are supposed to be divine creatures and bring qualities of success and good fortune.
Year of the Snake
Feared by many all over the world, the snake is important to Chinese culture. It represents both good and evil, with malevolence being one of its bad traits. However, it is also seen as a creature that surrounds itself in mystery. Some Chinese people believe that if you are unlucky enough to be bitten by a snake then it will reduce your life span by twenty years.
Year of the Monkey
The monkey represents the ninth year of the Chinese Zodiac, and is usually compared to a very intelligent person. One of the highest ranks in Chinese culture is the marquis, which when translated into Chinese is pronounced Hou. This is the same pronunciation as monkey, and so the animal is elevated to a high status. The Chinese Zodiac fits in with the astrological beliefs of the Chinese people and has been born out of thousands of years of legends and history.