The concept of the 12 Animal Signs (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig) comes from China. Each animal corresponds to a year in the Chinese calendar and the signs are repeated in a 12-year cycle. In Hubei Province, some written bamboo slips were excavated from a tomb, which indicated that the belief in the Animal Signs by the Chinese people started as early as in the Spring and Autumn Era (770 BC to 476 BC). At that time, the bamboo slips depicted the appearances and characters of the 11 thieves so that they looked like the 11 animals' faces. The Dragon, however, was documented elsewhere. It was said that the Dragon was a celestial body who dwelled in the southeastern heaven. The belief in the Animal Signs is derived from the worshipping of these twelve creatures in ancient China.
Generally speaking, the 12 Animal Signs are divided into 6 categories, which are the teachings by Chinese ancestors concerning the personalities of people whose were born of different signs. The first is the Rat and the Ox. The Rat represents wisdom and the Ox incarnates diligence, which the two characteristics must be combined as a whole, because if there is just wisdom, one may be so tricky. If only diligence, one may be quite stupid, that is to say, one can just work, work and work. The combination of the two good personalities together has been the requirement set by the Chinese ancestors for the younger generations.
The second group, the Tiger and the Rabbit, the former is intrepid while the latter is cautious. Indeed, courage and caution must be put together. Impertinent behavior appears if one is having courage in dealing with daily life, but one seems a little bit coward if caution always in one's heart. Therefore, the elderly people have told us that courage is placed at the first position, caution the second.
Third, the Dragon and the Snake. The Dragon is strong and powerful, the Snake is soft and flexible. An ancient teaching told us that tough things are prone to broken, if one is too flexible in dealing matters, one may loses his ideas. So people who were born either in the year of the Dragon or the Snake must know your own personalities better.
The Horse and Sheep are in the fourth group, the former represents straight-ahead reaching to the goal that it has set firmly, and the latter incarnates obedience. If a person doing things always in his own way regardless what people say, perhaps he will eventually get quarrel with someone. Conversely, if he only obeys to others, he will lose his direction. The two qualities must be put together in order to have a better career.
The fifth is the Monkey and the Rooster, the former is agile and the latter is stable due to it tells time in morning everyday. These good qualities must unite as a whole. If one always likes to move around, the aim that one set won't be reached, stability is the basic thing for daily work.
The last group is the Dog and the Pig whose represent faithfulness and easy-going respectively. If a person always displays faithfulness to his master, inevitably he will some repel his friends. However, if he maintains approving attitude to others all the time, he will lose his principles in dealing daily matters. To your country and to your own cause, fidelity and light-hearted attitudes are the essential.
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