Chinese Lunar Calendar | History
The twelve animals that make up the Chinese zodiac initially appeared during the Zhan Guo dynasty. Although no one knows when the zodiac was essentially founded, it was formally recognized during the Han Dynasty, which was almost 2000 years ago. During the North Zhou Dynasty, the zodiac became a popular method of determining a person’s birth year, and it is still widely used today. The zodiac is based on a sixty-year cycle in which each animal represents a different year.
The Chinese zodiac animals are arranged according to the lunar calendar. The origins of this calendar can be traced all the way back to the 14th century B.C. According to legend, Emperor Huangdi, the first Chinese emperor, founded the Chinese lunar calendar in 2637 B.C., which follows the lunar cycles.
The zodiac was based on Chinese astrology and was used to keep track of the calendar’s years, months, days, and hours. The Celestial Stem and the Terrestrial Branch were used to create it. Every two hours in a 24-hour day, each of the 12 animals represents a year in a 12-year cycle, a day in a 12-day cycle, and a year in a 12-year cycle. These were once used to name each year along with the animal signs, but they now primarily utilize the dates.
- “The Chinese Zodiac,” says the author. ChinaOrbit.com. http://chinaorbit.com>, 20 July 2007.
- “The Chinese Zodiac: Its History, Stories, and Structure.” 07/10/05,4 July 2007 Asian American Faculty and Staff Association http://spirit.dos.uci.edu/aafsa/?q=node/22/>.
What was the purpose of the Chinese zodiac signs when they were first created?
The animals of the zodiac were said to have arrived in China via the Silk Road, the same central Asian trading route that carried Buddhism from India to China. However, some academics suggest that the idea predates Buddhism and can be traced back to early Chinese astronomy, which utilized Jupiter as a constant because its orbit around the earth occurred every 12 years. Others claim that the usage of animals in astrology dates back to nomadic tribes in ancient China, who created a calendar based on the animals they hunted and gathered.
What is the basis for the Chinese zodiac?
The Chinese zodiac is a traditional classification system based on the lunar calendar, in which each year in a twelve-year cycle is assigned an animal and its purported traits. The zodiac, which originated in China, is still popular in many East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand.
The use of the generic term “zodiac” to describe this system reflects several superficial similarities to the Western zodiac: both have twelve-part time cycles, each labels at least the majority of those parts with animal names, and each is widely associated with a culture of attributing a person’s personality or life events to the supposed influence of the person’s particular relationship to the cycle.
What is the origin of the zodiac symbols?
The ancient Egyptians contributed the idea that constellations were made up of star patterns that caused the sun to appear to “move” at various periods throughout the year. All of these ideas are supposed to have come together when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in roughly 330 BC.
How reliable is the Chinese zodiac?
You might not know that Chinese astrology has been around for almost 5,000 years if you’ve just read about your Chinese zodiac sign on mass-produced place mats at Chinese restaurants. It’s a significant part of traditional Chinese culture, influencing perspectives on how to connect with the world in the best possible way, Chinese traditional medicine, and Feng Shui, the Chinese art of design. You might also be shocked to learn that your Chinese Zodiac sign is considered more accurate than your astrological zodiac sign by some astrologers, for a variety of reasons.
On the surface, Chinese and Western astrology appear to be very similar. According to the Feng Shui Institute, the Chinese zodiacSheng Xiaoincludes 12 primary signs, also known as terrestrial branches, each of which is symbolized by an animalRat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig, similar to western astrology. Your Chinese zodiac sign is based on your year of birth on the Chinese calendar, rather than your month of birth, and forecasts everything from your personality to how well you get along with others, according to Travel China.
The Chinese zodiac incorporates five earthy elements that interact to form a cycle of ups and downs for each sign, as well as your birth date, month, and time, making it far more complicated than Western astrology. Your Chinese horoscope, unlike Western astrology, is not set in stone, according to the website Your Chinese Astrology. Rather, it is up to you to apply the information to improve your future luck. Continue reading to learn more about your Chinese zodiac sign and how it may be even more accurate than your astrological zodiac sign:
Why isn’t the cat considered a sign of the zodiac?
The Cat is the 13th animal emblem in the Vietnamese and Gurung zodiacs’ 12-year cycle, replacing the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. As a result, the Rabbit’s characteristics are assigned to the Cat. The Rat and the Cat are at odds.
Legends about the Chinese zodiac arrangement frequently include tales about why the cat was not included among the twelve animals. Because the Rat duped the cat into missing the Jade Emperor’s dinner, the cat was not invited, was unaware that the feast was taking place, and was not given a year, and thus began the animosity between cats and rats. Domesticated cats may not have been widespread in China at the time of the zodiac’s inception.
Another mythology, known as “The Great Race,” claims that all of the zodiac animals were on their way to the Jade Emperor. The Cat and Rat were the smartest of the animals, but they were also bad swimmers and ended up in a river. They both conned the helpful, ignorant Ox into letting them ride on its back across the river. The Rat pushed the Cat into the river as the Ox approached the opposite side, then hopped from the Ox and dashed to the Jade Emperor, becoming the first of the zodiac. The other animals made it to the Jade Emperor, but the Cat was sabotaged by the Rat and left to drown in the river. This is also supposed to be why cats are continuously on the lookout for rats.
There have been several theories as to why the Vietnamese, unlike all other countries that use the Sino lunar calendar, have the cat as their zodiac animal rather than the Rabbit. The most frequent reason is that “rabbit” (mao) sounds like “cat” in ancient Chinese (meo).
When did the zodiac come into being?
Babylonian astronomers split the ecliptic into 12 equal “signs” at the end of the 5th century BC, analogous to 12 schematic months of 30 days each. The first known celestial coordinate system was created when each sign contained 30 degrees of celestial longitude. According to contemporary astronomical estimates, the zodiac was first used between 409 and 398 BC, during Persian dominance, and most likely within a few years of 401 BC. Unlike modern astrologers, who place the beginning of the sign of Aries at the position of the Sun at the Northern Hemisphere’s vernal equinox (March equinox), Babylonian astronomers fixed the zodiac in relation to stars, placing the beginning of Cancer at the “Rear Twin Star” (Geminorum) and the beginning of Aquarius at the “Rear Star of the Goat-Fish” ( Capricorni).
Since Babylonian times, the time of year when the Sun is in a certain constellation has altered due to equinox precession; the point of March equinox has moved from Aries to Pisces.
They formed a perfect system of reference for making predictions about a planet’s longitude since they were divided into 30 equal arcs. However, Babylonian observational measurement techniques were still in the early stages of development. They measured the position of a planet in relation to a group of “normal stars” near the ecliptic (9 degrees latitude) as observational reference points to aid in planet placing inside the ecliptic coordinate system.
A planet’s location in Babylonian astrological journals was usually stated in terms of a zodiac sign alone, rather than particular degrees within a sign. When degrees of longitude were given, they were stated in terms of the 30th degree of the zodiac sign, rather than the continuous 360 ecliptic. The positions of prominent astronomical phenomena were estimated in sexagesimal fractions of a degree in astronomical ephemerides (equivalent to minutes and seconds of arc). The daily locations of a planet were less important in daily ephemerides than the astrologically significant times when the planet moved from one zodiac sign to the next.
The Chinese zodiac is a fiction, right?
According to legend, the Chinese zodiac’s twelve animals were chosen through a race. The purpose of this race is to provide a time measurement for the participants. There could only be twelve winners, and the animals had to cross a fast-flowing river and reach the finish line on the coast in order to win.
What is the significance of the Chinese zodiac being in that order?
A pig, dog, rooster, monkey, sheep, horse, snake, dragon, rabbit, tiger, ox, and rat were among the twelve animals that arrived at the starting line. The Emperor rewarded each of them by naming a year in the zodiac after them, while the race would determine the order in which each animal would be placed.