What is your Chinese astrological animal?
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The Zodiac signs or animals exist in both the Western and Chinese astrology. The principle is also the same: a sign is assigned to a person according to the date of his birth, which will influence his character in the future. If you are familiar with Cancer, Sagittarius and Aquarius, we invite you to discover the fundamental aspect of the Vietnamese superstitious culture: the Chinese Zodiac.

12 animals for 12 years

The two astrology differ in many ways. The Chinese astrology is based on an annual cycle and not  monthly, like the Western. Actually, the signs follow a twelve-year lunar cycle in which the twelve animals follow one another in a very specific order: the rat (or mouse), ox (or water buffalo in Vietnam), tiger, rabbit (or cat in Vietnam), dragon, snake, horse, goat (or ram), monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Fascinating legends

It is so interesting to study the Zodiac signs, especially for the numerous legends surrounding them and participate in the mystique that characterizes them.

Why these twelve animals among others?

The legend tells that Buddha (or the Jade Emperor) summoned all the animals to visit him while he was about to die. Only twelve came (guess which ones…). To thank them, Buddha choose these animals to represent the twelves Zodiac signs. It is also surprising why the cat, THE iconic animal in China, does not appear in the sacred list (except in Vietnam). And of course, there is also a legend about this! It was said that the Jade Emperor had instructed the rat to summon the animals, but the latter forgot to invite the cat. The cat became angry and since that day they became natural enemies.

Why in this specific order?*

"The pig had succeeded in persuading the Jade Emperor to choose him as the judge of the relative value of the different animals. He began by enraging the tiger and dragon by placing them behind the rat and the ox. They made such a scandal that it was necessary to appease them. The monkey drew the "king" character (王) on the tiger’s forehead, which he still bears, to confirm his title as sovereign over the land of the animals (he is the Fifth animal). The rooster, who at the time carried horns, offered them to the dragon as a crown and thus consecrated him king of the aquatic animals. That was without counting on the unbeatable boldness of the hare who challenged the dragon to a race. He accepted the challenge and they were neck and neck when the hare headed for the wood. The dragon's new horns were caught in the branches and he lost the race. He blamed the rooster for this and the rooster was offended and so he demanded to return his gift. The dragon replied that he would give him back his horns when the Sun rose to the west, and it has been since that day that the rooster begs the Sun every morning to rise from that side. The hare owed his speed partly to the dog who had advised him to cut off his long tail. After his victory over the dragon, the dog came to congratulate him, hoping for a “thank you”. But the hare denied him any credit for his victory. Furious, the dog bit him and was placed at the end of the series as a punishment. As for the pig, having completed the classification of the animals, he himself took the lead and went to the Jade Emperor for approval. The god who heard about the incident degraded him to the last place.

*There are a lot of versions or even completely different stories and this is only one of the many.


Discover your sign below!

The year 2019 will therefore be the year of the pig! Plan a trip to Vietnam for the Têt celebrations in early February and experience the Vietnamese New Year with Phoenix Voyages.

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