|Photo Credit: Brian Beggerly|
These are the twelve animal signs:
Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse,
Goat/Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig
Since the lunar year starts and ends on different dates each year, sometime in January or February, if you were born in either month, your "year" may be different than you think. You can find out which sign you were born under here.
The Great Race
how the years were assigned to each animal
According to legend, the Jade Emperor had decreed that the years in each 12 year cycle would named after the animals in the order in which they arrived to his meeting place across a great river. Cat and Rat were the best of friends, but the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. They cleverly convinced good natured Ox to carry them across the river. Rat deceived his friend by pushing Cat into the water midway across the river, and jumping over Ox when they reached the shore, which is how Rat claimed first place in the race and in the zodiac. Some say this is why cats and rats have become enemies.
Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey (Affiliate link)
This is a fun illustrated storybook of the story of the great race. The endnotes include some characteristics associated with each year/animal.
Felt Zodiac Animals
|Pea and Elle are a Tiger and a Horse, respectively|
Inspired by the hanging decorations of the zodiac animals I've seen in stores and online (like these), Elle and I made felt zodiac animals to be used as hanging room ornaments or Christmas ornaments. With all the siblings and cousins, we nearly made one for each year.
|These are the ornaments Elle made for her mother, sisters and step father. She used the same color felt for all of her layers.|
Round Up of Chinese Zodiac Printables
- Lotta Magazine Chinese Zodiac Animals (pictured above) includes ideas on how to use the animals for decorations and toys. These are Elle's personal favorites - she had me print all of these, some more than once, has colored them and given some out to friends.
- Activity Village has a variety of Chinese zodiac coloring pages. (Elle really likes the one with all the animals featured together.)
- Kutchuk put a twist on Chinese zodiac animals by creating printable boxes for each animal. They also have Chinese characters with their translations in English and French on the sides.
- Geeky Angie has a sheet of zodiac animal medallions that could also be cut out and used for a garland or decoration.
- Nick Jr. has a colorful and fun zodiac wheel, and individual coloring sheets for each of the animals that include their Chinese character and some characteristics attributed to those born under the sign.
Zodiac Wheel paper cut image is attributed to China Vine