The Chinese zodiac, also known as the zodiac or the twelve-year animal, is the twelve kinds of animals representing the year, called the twelve zodiac. There are different animals in each culture. Among them, the Chinese culture is rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, and horse. , Sheep, monkey, chicken, dog, pig. They are matched with the twelve earthly branches (Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu, Hai) in turn, forming Zimo, Chou Niu, Yinhu, Maotu, Chenlong, Si Snake, Wuma, Weiyang, Shenhou, Youji, Xugou, Haizhu. Chinese people often use the Lunar New Year as the new year’s zodiac and the symbolic animal for their birth year as the zodiac.
The origin of the Chinese zodiac is related to animal worship. According to the Qin bamboo slips unearthed from Yunmengshuihudi in Hubei and Fangmatan in Tianshui, Gansu, a relatively complete zodiac system existed in the pre-Qin period. The earliest document handed down to record the twelve zodiac signs that are the same as modern ones is “Lunheng” by Wang Chong of the Eastern Han Dynasty.
With the development of history, the twelve zodiac signs have gradually merged into the folk belief concept of mutual generation and mutual restraint, which are manifested in marriage, life, and year fortune. Each zodiac has rich legends, and forms a conceptual interpretation system based on this, which becomes folk culture Philosophy of image in Chinese, such as the zodiac signs in marriage, temple prayer, natal year, etc. In modern times, more people regard the Chinese zodiac as a mascot for the Spring Festival and a symbol of entertainment and cultural activities.
As a long-standing folk cultural symbol, the Chinese zodiac has left a large number of poetry, spring couplets, paintings, calligraphy and folk crafts depicting the image and symbolic meaning of the zodiac. In addition to China, many countries in the world issue zodiac stamps during the Spring Festival to express their blessings for the Chinese New Year.