The Chinese New Year Of The Snake Starts Feb. 10

COURTESY PHOTO

Miller’s Run School student Sabrina Batchelder, at left, a sixth grader, completes a report on the Chinese New Year. She was born in this year’s animal, The Year of the Snake. Her sister, fourth-grader Sage Batchelder looks on.

BY SABRINA NICOLE BATCHELDER

"I'm a snake. What are you?"

This year the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Feb. 10. The New Year is also the beginning of a new zodiacal sign which lasts the whole year. Chinese horoscopes are also called Shang Xiao and it is a Chinese belief that people are born into years represented by certain kinds of animals. It all started around 2,500 BC and there are many legends, but the one I like goes like this:

One day, a long time ago in ancient China, the Emperor Jade hosted a swimming race with all the animals. He decided he would let the first 12 winners represent the next 12 years for the calendar he was inventing. The rat and the cat asked an ox to take them across the river. The ox, who was kind, said, "OK." So they jumped on his back. Soon the ox was in the lead. The rat and cat were so happy. Suddenly the rat pushed the cat off the ox and then jumped off the ox head and won. This is how the rat became the first animal in the 12-year Chinese calendar.

The ox, which had been tricked, got second. Then tiger clawed his way to the bank. Then the rabbit did not swim but hopped to rocks until he found a log that carried him to the bank. The dragon would have won, but he went to help people and he also took the time to blow wind to make the log the rabbit was on move quickly to the bank. The snake snuck across by hiding in the hoof of a horse. The horse was surprised by the snake slithering out so the horse jumped back and came in seventh.

Then a raft came along the river with a sheep, monkey and rooster on board. They shared the raft. The rooster found it, and the monkey and sheep pushed and cleared the weeds away. When they got to the other side, the emperor randomly picked them in the following order: sheep, monkey and, rooster. The dog came last because he took a bath first because the water looked so clean. And last came the pig. He took so long because he felt hungry so he stopped to eat and then he slept. The cat (who got pushed off by the rat in the beginning) finally came but it was too late for him to have a year named after him. After that cats and rats could never be friends. :)

There are 12 years and 12 animals. There is a monkey, a snake, a horse, a tiger, a dragon, a sheep, an ox, a rooster, a dog, a pig and others. I am a snake. That means I am cunning, quite intelligent and wise, is what it said. Sign of the snake are they are "intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the animal signs." What are you?

1. Year of the Rat: The rat is smart wealthy and selfish (2008, 1996 and 1984)

2. Year of the Ox: The ox is honest, patient, curious, tender-hearted and they hold respect on tradition, jobs and family. (2009, 1997 and 1985)

3. Year of the Tiger: The tiger is moody, strong leadership qualities and ambitious. (2010, 1998 and 1986)

4. Year of the Rabbit: The rabbit is popular, sincere, and enjoys home. (2011, 1999 and 1987)

5. Year of the Dragon: The dragon is warm-hearted, lucky, a natural born leader and good at giving orders. (2012, 2000 and 1988)

6. Year of the Snake: The snake is slightly dangerous, smart, charming, generous and introverted. (2013, 2001 and 1989)

7. Year of the Horse: The horse is self-reliant, money-wise and impatient. (2014, 2002 and 1990)

8. Year of the Sheep: The sheep is creative, a thinker and high-strung. (2015, 2003 and 1991)

9. Year of the Monkey: The monkey is energetic, lacks self-control and likes being active. (2017, 2004 and 1992)

10. Year of the Rooster: The rooster is trustworthy, honest and a perfectionist0. (2017, 2005 and 1993)

11. Year of the Dog: The dog is loyal, faithful and honest. (2018, 2006 and 1994)

12. Year of the Pig: The pig is intelligent, enjoys helping others and extremely nice. (2019, 2007 and 1995)

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