Why Isn’t The Cat in the Chinese Zodiac?-十二生肖

10 Jul

Previously, we introduced you the Chinese Zodiac (生肖 shēngxiāo) in the order of Rat (Chinese character: 鼠 shǔ), Ox (牛 niú), Tiger (虎 hǔ), Rabbit (兔 tù), Dragon (龙 lóng), Snake (蛇 shé), Horse (马 mǎ), Ram (羊 yáng), Monkey (猴 hóu), Rooster (鸡 jī), Dog (狗 gǒu), and Pig (猪 zhū) in Chinese culture. By knowing 2010 is the year of Tiger, you can calculate (计算 jìsuàn) which Chinese year you were born in (出生 chūshēng). However, like many others, you may also have the question: why isn’t the cat (猫 māo) included in the Chinese Zodiac? Well, that was a long long time ago…

The Jade Emperor (玉皇大帝 yùhuángdàdì) wanted to select (选择 xuǎnzé) 12 animals to represent (代表 dàibiǎo) each (每一个 měiyīgè) zodiac, and he appointed (任命 rènmìng) the rat to inform all the animals in the forest (森林 sēnlín) to join the ground selection the next day. The rule (规则 guīzé) was: the 12 zodiac mascot position would be assigned at a first come first serve order (先到先得 xiāndào xiāndé). At that time, the cat and the rat were very good friends (朋友 péngyǒu). The cat was very excited (兴奋 xīngfèn) about this event, however, he had quite no sense of time. Therefore, he told the rat to wake (叫醒 jiàoxǐng)him up early the next day and the rat promised (保证 bǎozhèng) with no hesitation. Unfortunately, the rat forgot about it completely because he was so busy informing the other animals. When the cat woke up and rushed to the palace of the Jade Emperor, he was the 13th to get there and all spots were taken. Sad (伤心 shāngxīn) and ashamed, the cat finally turned into anger and swore to be the rat’s enemy (敌人 dírén) for ages.

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