Chinese Zodiac Origin Stories

The Race Story of Chinese Zodiac Animals

There are 12 animals on the Chinese Zodiac calendar including Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. About the stories and legends related to the twelve animals, there are many versions. Hereunder is a well-known one and can be easily understood by kids. After reading the story, you will get answers for these frequently asked questions: What's the origin of the Chinese Zodiac? Why are there twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac calendar? How did the scheme order come from? Why did the small Rat come in the First place? Why is the cat not in the Chinese zodiac?

The story is about the race between the animals. Chinese legend said that the Jade Emperor, who was the ruler of the heavens, asked all the animals to participate his birthday (on the ninth day of the first Chinese lunar month) and held a great race. The first 12 animals that came could be given a place in the calendar.

At that time, the cat and the rat are neighbors. The cat always bullied the weak rat. However, the rat only swallowed the anger. As soon as the cat heard the news, he asked the rat to wake him up on the morning of the day to go together as he was a sleepy head. The rat promised to do so. But to take revenge on the cat, he went out early without waking up the cat on that day.

Although the rat got up early and run fast, he became worried when he arrived at the river bank as he was a poor swimmer. After waiting for the come of the ox, he asked the help from the ox to carry him across the river. With the help of the honest and helpful ox, the rat successfully crossed the river. However, he didn't jump off from the ox's back until they arrived at the door of the Jade Emperor. Just as the ox was about to win the race, the rat leapt to the Jade Emperor before the ox. Thus, the rat won the first place in the race and the second the ox. Later came the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, and Dog. The lazy pig arrived last and got the last place.

The cat, on the tenth day of the first lunar month woke up early and hurried on his journey. When he came to the heaven, other animals all mocked him that he had arrived one day later. From then on, the cat and rat became enemies. Every time the cat meets the rat, he would chase and try to eat the rat.

Order of 12 Chinese Zodiac Stories

Please click the following zodiac sign's link to get how they rank in 12 Chinese Zodiac animals. You will get why the Rat comes first, from where the dragon got its horn, why there is no leg for the snake and more interesting stories and legends. 

Folktales about Why No Cat in Chinese Zodiac?

Chinese zodiac is represented by 11 animals which are quite familiar to us in daily life and the legendary creature Dragon. Cat is also very common in our daily life, but why is it excluded in the 12 Chinese zodiac signs? The folktales about why no cat in Chinese zodiac are too numerous to mention.

Lastest Questions and Answers

about the rat being gullible? i was wondering what zodiac sign who wrote that? (0 Reply ) Asked by s***f | 8/18/2022 10:33:35 PM

i personally think that you may think we are gullible, but we are also just leading you on, for example, you are bluffing a story, and it sounded...

Looking for Sources regarding the Zodiac Stories listed on YourChineseAstrology (1 Reply ) Asked by Z***r | 3/13/2017 4:23:37 AM

Hello! I'm doing research on origin stories for the zodiac animals, and the ones covered here are rather unique and interesting: I was wondering...