The zodiac signs in Chinese culture are represented through animals. Find out how deeply embedded this concept is and how it’s promoted during New Year celebrations.
The Chinese culture attaches much importance to the science of the Zodiac. When you study about the legendary origins of the Chinese zodiac it doesn’t seem all that scientific. Nonetheless the comparisons made by Chinese philosophers between the behavior of the zodiac animals and the human nature seem interesting to a lot of people.
The Chinese used to follow a complex calendar system prior to adopting the zodiac symbols to represent the 12 cycles. The initial system was too difficult for the masses to understand and was hence replaced by the system that gives us the 12 animals in their cyclic order.
Each New Year is ascribed to an animal. The year of the same animal comes back after every twelve years. People born in the year of a particular animal are considered to have the characteristics of that animal. Keep in mind these character sketches have been drawn by Chinese thinkers which may or may not capture the essence of the animal’s behavior or their connection with human behavior.
The zodiac sign of the year
The animal of the year is a prominent feature in the New Year celebrations. There will be many activities centered on the animal of the year. Puppets in parades and other forms of live entertainment will often feature the animal so as to make it clear that this year is the year of the ox for example.
You will also be able to find a wide range of decoration items taking up the animal of the year as the main theme. Such art work is widely available in every store and even on stalls on the streets. Many people wear the animal of the year on their T-shirts that feature the animal in some form of artistic expression. Similarly there are many other fashion accessories that revolve around the animal of the year and are very popular during the Chinese New Year season.
Ever since China has begun to experience an influx of tourists during the New Year season they have started to promote the Chinese New Year animals in a different way. Not only are foreigners intrigued with the concept rather they also want to seek more information about it including the origins. Many are even interested in finding out about the year of the animal in which they were born and then like to look at their characteristics and see if they match their personality.
Much of the western public does that for the sake of entertaining themselves. Other than the orthodox and old fashioned Chinese people, no on takes the character comparisons between the zodiac animals and themselves too seriously. It is just an ancient tradition that is looked upon in wonder and amazement being kept alive for the sake of maintaining their ancient identity.
When you consider the legendary origins of the innovation of the concept of the twelve animals the story becomes even clearer. Basically the New Year zodiac animals are a figment of someone’s imagination that has found currency over the centuries and has become a prominent part of the Chinese culture.