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Overview Of The Chinese Zodiac Essay

1498 words - 6 pages

Have you ever been to a Chinese restaurant that handed you a paper with a bunch of random animals and years on it? Most people will just throw it away and not pay that much attention to it. That little piece of paper contains a basic information about the Chinese Zodiac just enough to get you hooked. There are many people all over the world that very much believe in the ancient Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac can be helpful for finding the current Chinese year, what animal people are, and can help make decisions.
The Chinese use the lunar calendar. “Although China has adopted the Gregorian calendar in common with most other countries in the world for official and business purposes, the traditional Chinese calendar continues to define the dates of festivals and used for horoscopes” (“Chinese calendar”). The lunar calendar is based on of the moon. It uses the moon phases to figure out each month.
Twelve is an important number when using the Chinese calendar. One day consist of twelve time periods called Shi Chen. The time periods are two hours each. “Ancient people observe that there are 12 full moons within one year” (“Chinese calendar”). One year has twelve months. Once you reach twelve years it is called a Ji.
The Chinese Zodiac would not be the same without the Ji for many reasons. The Chinese Zodiac has twelve animals and the Ji has twelve years. The Ji acts like an alarm clock. Once it is over then all the animals have been used in the years. In the American calendar you cannot go back to the Benming Nian. The Benming Nian is also known as the year of birth. The Chinese calendar is different though. Once the Ji is over you restart. “Once in every twelve year cycle people will meet their birth [year]” (Chinese calendar).
Around spring time is when the Chinese New Year begins. Unlike the American New Year which has one set date the Chinese New Year does not have a set date. Each year has an animal sign and the “New Year day [is known as the] division of two animals” (“Chinese Zodiac”).
Each Year has different names. The names are animal names. The names are “rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig” (“Chinese Zodiac Sign”). The animal year can be related to the ten heavenly stems and twelve earthy branches.
The ten heavenly stems and twelve earthly branches are like any other calendar. It is used to count hours, the time of years, and months. “When counting years, people use them with the 12 Chinese Zodiac [signs] . . .” (Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches). The Yellow Emperor also known as Huangdi summand Da Rao Shi to make a calendar. Da Rao Shi created the calendar system. He studied the four seasons and the differences between earth and sky.
The year that people are born in will affect what type of animal they will be. The year affects what type of animal they will be because the animal changes every year. For example the Dragon started at February 5, 2000 to January 23, 2001. Then...

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