Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. The picture above shows all the signs of the zodiac and the years associated with them. There are 12 signs of the zodiac, and they run in a cycle of 60 years because each year is also affiliated with one of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, or water. The element associated with the year slightly changes the horoscope characteristics of persons born in that year.
There is a story about how the order of the animals was determined: The Buddha decided to preach to all sentient beings and called the animals to come listen to him. He provided some snacks to ensure that they came. The rat smelled the snacks and ran the fastest, so the rat is the first in the Chinese zodiac. The pig wanted to get there faster, but it was too clumsy and heavy, so it came last after all the animals. The cat was too disdainful. It turned up its nose at the snack, swished its tail, and went the other way, so there is no cat in the Chinese zodiac.
I have read that the theory of karma states that people are born at the exact time and hour to give them the horoscope that best matches their karma for this life. Perhaps this is why the Buddha is involved in the zodiac story.
As I said, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. Here is a picture of a pretty tiger:
The Year of the Tiger (http://www.sinopaperart.com/images/chinese-zodiac-2-tiger-sign.jpg)
A good website to check out Chinese horoscopes is
This is some of its general information about people born in the Year of the Tiger:
"The Tiger is said to be lucky vivid, lively and engaging. Another attribute of the Tiger is his incredible bravery, evidenced in his willingness to engage in battle or his undying courage. Maybe he’s so brave because he is so lucky. But the Chinese say a Tiger having a Tiger in the house is the very best protection against the evils of fire, burglary."
There is a lot more information on the website, so I would check it out if you are interested. 2010 is the year of the Metal Tiger. Metal Tigers are different from Water Tigers, but you will have to do that research for yourselves.
(My brother is a Water Tiger, and my father is an Earth Tiger.)
Because it is the Chinese New Year, we can only talk about happy, lucky things. I will have to pick up the thread of my blog story next week when a little bit of suspense and danger won't be a jinx, so you'll have to come back again...
And now I leave you with the words that every child repeats over and over on Chinese New Year:
恭喜發財, 紅包拿來! (Gong Xi Fa Cai, Hong Bao Na Lai--Congratulations, Best Wishes for Prosperity, Give me my red envelope!)
May the Year of the Tiger be happy, healthy and prosperous for all of you!