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Legends, folklore and mythological anecdotes are the enduring parts of an age-old Chinese culture that is as old as 5000 years. These significant issues are the basic aspects of Chinese zodiac as well! The twelve important animals that represent the Chinese zodiacal system are perhaps the most unique in the world. It is a very rare and unusual combination of earthly animals and their significance in relation to the Chinese zodiacal system is an amazing invention! Deeply in relation with Chinese mythology, these animals are the most enduring creatures on the planet with an ability to influence your life and career.
The legendary animals of the Chinese zodiacal system are rat, buffalo (ox), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Most treatises and texts agree on one common point: that these animals make up the heavenly signs or the basic 12 equal sectors of the Chinese zodiac, where all these animals came down to earth in response to an invitation. When these animals appeared after the invitation, they were given their due place in the Chinese zodiacal system as an immortal reward. The origin of these animal signs is an interesting story and the Chinese still believe that it is perhaps the greatest thing to have happened in their history.
As the history suggests us, the Chinese legends provide us a number of versions of how these animals appeared on earth and in what manner they became the part of a great zodiacal system. Chinese zodiacal system with its stupendous animals is almost four thousand years old! Two lines of legends exist in the Chinese mythology that tells us how these animals entered the zodiacal system. One line suggests that Lord Buddha invited them to celebrate the occasion of departure from this mortal world. While the other informs us that it was the almighty Jade Emperor, who invited these majestic animals to attend a birthday party.
Another myth suggests us that all these great animals got their invitation to attend a big feast hosted by an erstwhile emperor. One legend even suggests that all the animals got an invitation to participate in a racing event. The top twelve winners of that race were the twelve animals that are occupying the Chinese zodiacal calendar right now. In that race, the first one to cross the finishing line was the rat followed very closely by other animals like the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and finally, the pig.
Just like any other conventional zodiacal system (Hindu or Roman), even the Chinese system relies on the exact order of the appearance of these animals. It may have some special significance to most of us and the truth may come out only after conducting an exhaustive research on the origin of these animals. Whatever the legend and myth attached to these animals are, few things are certain: that these animals can influence the way in which we live and the manner in which we behave and act with others. In all, the twelve great animals of the Chinese zodiacal system are imperial and majestic! We can rely on the religious and social significance of these animals and lead a life full of bliss and contentment.