Printable – Zodiac

This next printable is based on the Chinese zodiac :)
For those who are not familiar with the chinese zodiac, here’s a short introduction:

A short introduction
The Chinese zodiac (生肖) is based on a 12 year cycle, with each year represented by an animal. This year we herald the arrival of the year of the Snake.
Similar to the western zodiac, it is believed that each zodiac sign has certain character traits, with associated strengths and weaknesses.

The animals represented in the Chinese zodiac are in the following order:
Rat 鼠
Ox 牛
Tiger 虎
Rabbit 兔
Dragon 龙
Snake 蛇
Horse 马
Sheep 羊
Monkey 猴
Rooster 鸡
Dog 狗
Pig 猪

To find out your zodiac sign, refer to the chart below:

Chinese_Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac (source: darkuangel.deviantart.com)

The Chinese Zodiac – A short story
When I introduced the Chinese zodiac to C, she asked: “Why is the tiny rat the first zodiac sign?”

Here’s a folk tale that explaining why the zodiac is ordered as such:

A long time ago, the Jade emperor decided to invite all the animals in the kingdom for a celebration. As part of the celebrations, there would be a race, and the first twelve animals that arrived at the party venue would have a year named in their honour.

All the animals in the kingdom were excited, and made preparations in order to arrive ahead of others.

Cat and Rat were good friends, and decided they would attend the race together. They would set off early to get a head start. Cat was a late-riser, but Rat promised to wake his friend.
On the day of the race, Rat woke up bright and early, and set off towards the party venue. In his excitement, he forgot about Cat, who was still curled up in a corner, fast asleep.

Rat was quick, and made his way towards the venue in no time. Alas! When he got nearer to the finishing line, he was dismayed to find that there was a huge river separating him and the finishing line. He could not swim! Along came Ox, who had started his journey two days earlier. Slowly but steadily, he plodded ahead. The river was no barrier to the huge ox, who could easily wade across.

Rat saw his chance, and managed to convince Ox to let him ride on Ox’s head by promising that he would let Ox cross the finishing line first once they were across. Ox, being honest and trusting, agreed. However, once they crossed the river, Rat jumped off Ox’s head and ran across the finishing line. And that’s why the shrewd Rat is the first of the zodiac.

The rest of the animals arrived shortly. Tiger was a powerful swimmer and had no problems crossing the river. Rabbit made his way across by hopping from stone to stone. Dragon came flying in fifth. He could have been first, since he flew, but he was delayed along the way as he had to bring rain to people further inland first. Snake came coiled on Horse’s leg, and slithered in just before Horse crossed the line. Sheep, Monkey and Rooster arrived shortly after, having worked together to build a raft. Dog stayed a while to play in the water, and trotted in eleventh. Pig came trundling in, as he had overslept slightly, and was delighted to find that he had made it just in time to be the last animal represented in the zodiac.

By the time Cat woke up the forest was quiet and empty. He had missed the race! He was furious and ran as fast as he could, but he was too late. That is why till this day, Cat and Rat are mortal enemies, and he still chases Rat each time he sees him.

Hope you have found the short introduction on the chinese zodiac interesting.

Download worksheets for preschoolers on the zodiac here ==> Zodiac-Printable

Which Chinese zodiac are you?

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12 thoughts on “Printable – Zodiac

  1. Marie @ MyMomThoughts

    I love your story about the Zodiac. I’m an Ox and I married a Rat ;), together we made a little dragon. My sister’s a dragon and my brother’s a rat. It’s funny how I’m now picturing each of them as the animal Zodiac that they are.

    Reply
    1. mummyshymz Post author

      Thanks! It’s really interesting how we start to relate to the zodiac once we know which signs we belong to :) People born in the year of the ox are said to be steady, reliable and very homely (my husband is one :))
      To the Chinese, the year of the dragon is boom time for babies ;)

      Reply
  2. eehbahmum

    I love having a dragon and a tiger baby but am a bit upset to be a rat. Surely the least glamorous of all.

    Reply
    1. mummyshymz Post author

      Oh, don’t be! Each sign has its own strengths and weaknesses. Rats are very quick and clever, and make good business people. They are also imaginative, charming, and truly generous to the ones they love. A few of my good friends are Rats, and they are definitely wonderful people. If it makes you feel better, Shakespeare, Mozart and George Washington were all born in the year of the Rat too! :)

      Reply

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