ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Holidays and Celebrations»
  • Asia Holidays»
  • Chinese Holidays

Why does rat become the head of the twelve zodiac animals?

Updated on July 2, 2012

It's very interesting of many different legends that why rat became the head of the twelve, but recently there is a "scientific" explanation regarding why rat became head of twelve zodiac animals. The order of twelve zodiac animals were decided by the odd-even toe numbers according Yin Yang theory.

why does cat hate rats?

There are many different legends, according to one legend, many years ago Buddha summoned all the animals to a meeting in which he would designate the first 12 animals arriving, to be signs of a year respectively. On the night before the departure, cat notified his pal, rat, and they agreed that the one waking up first the next morning must awake the other so they can depart for the meeting together. However, rat broke his promise and arrived for the meeting alone. Then, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig arrived one after the other. When cat woke up and hurried there, the meeting was over. It is said that is the reason why the cat kills rats.

Animal Olympic game

According to another legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest: whoever was to reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the rest of the animals would receive their years according to their finish.

All the twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped in. Unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped upon his back. As the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race. The pig, who was very lazy, ended up last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox second, and the pig last.

Yin Yang theory ----- a "scientific" explaination

Of course, these are only legends, in recent years, another more reasonable and credible explaination become popular. We know that Yin and Yang is the basic concept of Chinese philosophy. Yin and yang represent the two primal cosmic forces in the universe. Yin (moon) is the receptive, passive, cold female force. Yang (sun) is masculine- force, movement, heat. Actually, anything can be assign one of this attribute, man is yang, and woman is yin, single is yin and double is yang, Odd number is yin but even number is yang. They interact together and relatively. If you observe these twelve zodiac animals toes, you will find they may have different numbers of toes and their order are decided by odd -even numbers, that is to say, their order is decided by Yin-yang theory.

Whether the zodiac animals have two feet or four feet, most of them have only odd number of toes or only even numbers of toes, cow has four toes, an even number, followed five-toed tiger, odd-numbered, then rabbit has four toes, the legend figure dragon has five toes, but the snake has no foot, it has zero toes, zero is an even number, horse has only one toe, sheep has four toes, even; monkey has five, odd; Rooster has four toes, even; dog has five toes, odd, pigs has four toes, even. Buit there is one exception that rat has four toes on the front and five toes on back, so rat has both odd and even number, yin and yang in same body. We can say ancient Chinese can not fit rat anywhere but the head of the zodiac cycle, or we can say anything which has yin-yang in same body is superior, although rat live in dark and find its food in rubbish bin, and drink water from drainage.

So this kind of sientific explanation has cleared rat of his unjust treatment, give rat back its reputation.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • daviddwarren22 profile image

      daviddwarren22 6 years ago

      Very nice.

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

      Glad I found this Jim. I'm a rat born 1960. This was a light and informative hub. Thankyou.

    • profile image

      chealse  9 years ago

      so cool

    • profile image

      Alyssa 9 years ago

      but tigers and dogs have the odd fingers too? they have five in the front and four in the back.

    • profile image

      dani 10 years ago

      its great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 10 years ago from California

      Having been born in the year of the rat, the Yin and Yang explanation is one I like! lol I always wondered why a gnarly rat was the choice of animal!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

      Very interesting read...Rats do get such bad press!!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)