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Why do the Chinese Name Years After Animals?

March 3rd, 2010

The Chinese have tied animal names to the calender years for a very long long time. But from where does this come from? It comes from the base of the Chinese society, Buddhism . This religion has many influences on the Chinese perspective of life and view of many other things such as love, family and many more.  The origin comes from Buddha himself, thought the story itself is a myth. Buddha had invited all the animals on earth to visit him in New Year’s Day. But only a few of the thousands existing turned up, 12 of them and what a coincidence the calender has 12 months, so Buddha rewarded them for showing up by giving them each an year. The animals who showed up were the rat, the ox, the tiger, the hare, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig.

Did you know that the Chinese Calender is used all around Asia by many other cultures and that it was perfected already in 500BC. In most parts this calender is only used for traditional festives and such but other than that they use the Gregorian calender like many of the civilization in the west.

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