The time to let the Dog out and the Pig in was Friday, February 5, 2019. That’s when we began the Chinese New Year of the Pig! The Pig is the twelfth and last animal in the Chinese zodiac. The cycle starts anew in 2020 with the Rat year, and it will be another twelve years before the Pig year comes again. Why is the Pig last and, in fact, how did the twelve animals come to be?
According to myth, the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac were selected through a race. The legend states that once upon a time, the mighty Jade Emperor, the supreme deity of Chinese tradition, decreed a great race of animals on his birthday to decide the years on the calendar; others say that it was the Buddha who decreed this. Regardless, both stories are essentially the same. The results of the race were to be decided with a swim across the river. The years would be named in the the order of each animal’s arrival at the Emperor’s birthday party.
The Cat and the Rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom, but they were both smart. They discovered that the fastest way to cross the river was to hop on top of the Ox. The generous Ox agreed to carry them across the river. The Rat was so eager to win that he pushed the Cat into the water; thus the Cat never forgave the Rat, and wasn’t included in the race. Other variations of the story say that the Rat just never told the Cat about the race. Then, as Ox neared the other side of the river, the Rat jumped ahead of him to the finish line, claiming first place.The Ox good-naturedly took second place, followed by the powerful Tiger, making him third.
After the Tiger, came the clever Rabbit, who had crossed the river by leaping from stone to stone. A Dragon arrived next, making it fifth in the race. Of course, with its gift of swift flight, it was strange that it had not arrived first, but the Dragon explained to the Jade Emperor that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth. Then, on his way to the finish, he saw a little helpless rabbit clinging onto a log; the Dragon stopped again to do a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Jade Emperor was very pleased with the actions of the Dragon, and added him into the zodiac cycle.
Soon after the Horse arrived with a passenger attached to him: a Snake. But the Snake darted to the finish line ahead of the Horse, making the Snake sixth and the Horse seventh.
Not long after, the Sheep, Monkey, and Rooster arrived. These three creatures helped each other to get there and the Emperor was very pleased, promptly naming Sheep as the eighth creature, Monkey as the ninth, and Rooster the tenth.
Surprisingly, the Dog bounded into eleventh place. Even though he was the best swimmer of everyone, he had enjoyed playing in the water so much, he became distracted and thus came in eleventh.
And just as the Jade Emperor was about to call an end to the race, a little Pig ran across the finish line. The Pig had gotten hungry during the race, stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the Pig continued the race and was named the twelfth animal of the zodiac cycle. And that, my friends, is how the Chinese Zodiac came to be.
People born under the Pig sign are considerate, responsible, independent and optimistic, warm-
hearted, good-tempered, loyal, honest, gentle, and good at socializing and maintaining relationships.Their weaknesses include being somewhat naïve and sensitive and sometimes lacking motivation to complete actions.
Earth is the Element that influences the energy of 2019. Earth represents the ground beneath one’s feet. It is the human connection with the universe, representing fullness, fertility, order and stability. It is the center from which we operate. In humans, it represents nurturing.
Earth Pigs tend to be a more reliable creature with a strong practical bent, so that she/he takes a methodical approach to managing affairs. This kind of Pig is successful at work without needing to be right at the to of the ladder, although not without ambition and astute in financial matters. However, the Pig’s love of a pleasant social life, with plenty of good food and drink, is still present in the Earth Pig’s makeup, and some Earth Pigs need to battle with a tendency to overindulge.
Wishing you a Congenial, Prosperous and Playful Pig Year!