The Sunday Mail
Ms Shiwei Tang
The 2023 Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival on 22 January ushers in the Year of the Rabbit.
In Chinese culture, there are twelve animals representing the Chinese zodiac signs, or Sheng Xiao（生肖, translating to “born and resemblance”.
They are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
The Chinese twelve-part cycle corresponds to years, rather than months.
You can determine your animal sign by referring to the year you were born.
Why these twelve animals…
The ancient folk story has it that Jade Emperor, the god rules the heaven and the earth in Chinese legend, beckoned all animals to bid him farewell before his departure from earth.
The twelve of them, namely the aforementioned animals arrived first, with each given a place of honor in a year based on the order of arrival.
One might be curious,“why no cat?” Here is the story.
During this race, the animals should cross a river. Both the cat and the rat cannot swim, so they hop on the back of the ox to move across the river.
When it is about to reach the riverbank, the rat pushed the cat into the water, jumped off the ox and rushed to the Jade Emperor. Therefore, the rat is named as the first animal of the zodiac calendar.
The cat eventually got drowned and failed to be named in the zodiac. There is another explanation in the legend.
The cat stayed up and got up late. It asked the rat to wake him up early in the morning for the race.
But on the other day, the rat totally forgot the wake-up call and it was too late for the cat to reach the Jade Emperor.
It is said that this is why cats hunt rats and also hate water.
What personalities of these animals?
Originated from ancient zoolatry and boasting a history of more than 2 000 years, the Chinese zodiac plays an important role in Chinese culture.
People associate each animal with certain characteristics.
It is believed that one born in a given year has the personality of that year’s animal.
Here are the personalities the animals represent
Rat: quick-witted, resourceful, versatile
Ox: diligent, dependable, determined
Tiger: brave, confident, competitive
Rabbit: quiet, elegant, kind
Dragon: confident, intelligent, enthusiastic
Snake: enigmatic, intelligent, wise
Horse: animated, active, energetic
Goat: calm, gentle, sympathetic
Monkey: sharp, smart, curious
Rooster: observant, hardworking, courageous
Dog: lovely, honest, prudent
Pig: compassionate, generous, diligent
What we expect in the Year of the Rabbit
The rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity in Chinese culture.
As we look ahead to the new year, we are very optimistic about the future.
Over the past years, we have been faced with challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic and overcame them with hard work and determination.
2023 is a time of hope and renewal, offering us a brand new start.
We wish all Zimbabwean people good health, peace, happiness and prosperity.
We are sure that Zimbabwe will have a brighter and more prosperous future when implementing NDS1 and achieving Vision 2030.