In ancient China, people did not know about the time because they did not have clocks. The ancient Chinese arranged the order of Chinese Zodiac subject to the 12 Zodiac animal’s living habits and personalities to mark years, months,dates, and times.Although there are a few legends about the 12 Chinese Zodiac ranking, they are just legends.Back to reality, some fun facts about Chinese Zodiac can explain how do they come from.
Chinese Translation: “SHI”=TIME
Midnight is usually the best time for people to enjoy the sky full of stars. And it was about the time from 11 pm to 12 am.One night, The ancients (Astronomers or Taoists)looked down and heard some voice like a whisper, discovering the Rat was right there. And for a long time, the ancients found that the time when the Rat came out frequently was “ZI SHI.” Therefore, “ZI SHI” was associated with Rats and ranked first in the Chinese Zodiac, like the beginning of the day, became “Zi Rat.”
As a Chinese saying goes: “horses do not eat grass at nights is not fat,” and that same as the Ox. The Ox helps the farmers to work, so feeding the Ox is significant for farmers. From 1 am is to 3 am, also called as ” “CHOU SHI,” the farmer would get up and feed the Ox. Therefore, the Ox and “CHOU SHI” are linked together; they become “Chou Ox.”
From 3 am to 5 am., tigers are the most fierce, and farmers often hear the roar of tigers. As a result, the tiger and “YIN SHI” are linked; there is a “Yin Tiger.”
- Origin of Rabbit
From 5 am to 7 am, the Rabbit ran out of the nest to eat grass with dew. Therefore, the Rabbit and the “MAO SHI” are related and become “Mao Rabbit.”
From 7 am to 9 am, it is easy to get foggy in the sky. It is said that the Dragon can fly through the clouds and drive in the fog, and people only can the Dragon tail but not its head. However, the Dragon is a legendary animal or an “artificial animal” made up of ancient Chinese with the “parts” of several animals. It can not be seen in reality. Only in the fog can people produce the illusion of a Dragon. In this way, the Dragon will “show up” in the morning fog. And the time is “CHEN SHI” that connected with the Dragon, “Chen Dragon.”
From 9 am to 11 am, the fog cleared, and the sun shows up in the sky. A snake with an unsteady temperature crawled out of its cave to enjoy a sunshine shower. Whether they’re poisonous or not, snakes are the terrible animal. The most active moment of snakes is “SI SHI.” In the creation of Chinese characters, “Si” was drawn as the pictograph of a snake. Thus, ” “Si Snake” is naturally connected.
From 11 am to 1 pm, the sun is right burning. These “hots” makes people think of the Horse, one of the “best assistants” of human beings. The red-maned Horse is a good colt, but it is as fiery and energetic as the afternoon’s burning sun. The relationship between Horse and “WU SHI” leads to the “Wu Horse.”
From 1 pm to 3 pm is “WEI SHI,” The sun has dried the dew from the grass. That is a proper time to herd the Goat. Therefore, that is called “Wei Goat.”
From 3 pm to 5 pm, the sun was located in the west, the weather became more relaxed and not very stuffy. At this time, the Monkeys liked to play and shout in the woods. When people heard it and kept it in mind, they associated this moment with the Monkey. So there is “Shen Monkey.”
From 5 pm to 7 pm, when the sun was about to sunset, it was time for the Rooster in the farms to return the nests. If they did not respond to their nests, they would be lost once the sky is dark. The farmer would in a hurry to yell and blew the Roosters back home. The moment was dinner time for eating and drinking. The Chinese Character of “Alcohol” is similar to “YOU,” dinner time is “YOU SHI.” So people naturally considered the Rooster as “You Rooster.”
From 7 pm to 9 pm, people had to make an inspection tour before they went to bed. And the Dogs were loyal and decent assistants of the human being. The time was called “XU SHI.” So the Inspection time would be regarded as “Xu Dog.”
From 9 pm to 11 pm, People could hear the Pig was arching and eating happily in the nest. But if people want a Pig to grow fatter, it was better to feed them with more food. The time was “HAI SHI,” and naturally was connected with Pigs, so there was “Hai Pig.”
Therefore, the combination of the twelve Chinese characters representing the twelve hours with the twelve zodiac animals is the following twelve combinations:
Zi Rat, Chou Ox, Yin Tiger, Mao Rabbit, Chen Dragon, Si Snake, Wu Horse, Wei Goat, Shen Monkey, you Rooster, Xu Dog, and Hai Pig.