The Chinese years are all marked by animals. February 16 is the start of another Chinese New Year — the Year of the Dog. It is a cycle of 12 years that corresponds to the 12 earthly branches of: Shu (rat), Niu (ox), Hu (tiger), Tu (rabbit), Lang (dragon), She (snake), Ma (horse), Yang (goat), Hou (monkey), Yi (rooster), Gou (dog), and Zhu (pig).
The 12 animal cycle is aligned with the 11.86-year orbital period of Jupiter and it dates back as far as A.D. 100. The 12 animals are part of the Chinese zodiac, which uses the universe’s movement patterns to make predictions on Earth. The Chinese calendar is used as a guide.
There is an ancient Chinese story with various versions available. They all tell about how the Great Jade Emperor invited all the animals to gather for a race. Out of all the animals, only 12 came. The race was long and the animals needed to cross a river to win. The 12 animals had their own tactics on how they were going to win the race.
The rat was to wake the cat, but the rat was so excited that he left without his friend the cat. The rat made friends with the ox and rode on his back. Just before the finish line, the rat slid off the ox and won the race. Next came the ox, then the tiger, and then the rabbit came thumping over the finish line. The dragon swooped in next, with the snake sliding off the horse coming in at 6th place. The horse got a fright seeing the snake and he came 7th. The sheep arrived at 8th place, with the monkey and the rooster following behind.
Of course, the dog was having so much fun splashing about in the river that he nearly forgot about the race. Luckily, he found his land legs and joyfully ran to the finish line in 11th place. The dog explained to the Great Jade Emperor that he needed to take a bath in the river and that the water was so fresh. Then the pig came in oinking at 12th place.
The Great Jade Emperor announced that these were the animals of the zodiac in the order they finished the race. The cat was so upset about missing out on the race that he hated the rat, and that is why the cat always chases the rat.
The Year of the Dog is known to be a good year and a good time to start a new business or hobby or anything new. The Year of the Dog will bring success to any new venture. There is a warning though, with all the success and a busy lifestyle, you may neglect your health. Perhaps a new healthy lifestyle routine is a good idea to start this year. While looking after your health and new activities, the year of the dog should be a good year and a memorable one.
The Yarra River in Warrandyte, Australia is a much-loved river where numerous dogs play in the river or walk and run along the riverbanks with their owners. I always find the many dogs here are eager to be friends. I asked some dog owners what they think the year of the dog will be like.
The owner of the German Shepherd said: “This new year will bring a good life.”
Otto’s owner said: “This year will be a good year, but Otto won’t know it’s the year of the dog — he will be oblivious!”
Meg’s owner said: “It will be a good year.”
Peaches owner said: “I’m not sure; you don’t know what’s around the corner, but I am positive and I hope it will be a good year.”
Oxo’s owner said: “This year will bring more of the good things and more adventures with Oxo.”
If you are born on the following dates, you are born with the good loyal characteristic of the year of the dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, and 2030. More about the Chinese animals and their meanings can be found at yourchineseastrology.com
I hope everyone has a barking good year in 2018 — the Year of the Dog. Woof woof!