I remember being a kid and having our favorite Chinese dinner with my parents at Minnie's in Modesto. We lived in Merced, but drove the 80-mile round trip because the food was so good and my dad was fond of the pictures that lined the walls of the bar on the way to the restroom. All paintings of lovely young Asian women with a key part of their upper torso uncovered by the colorful kimonos they were wearing. It was apparently a "guy thing" even for a man who brought his wife and little girl there for Chinese dinner.
While my father was ogling the pictures on the bar walls, I was fascinated with the paper place mats that revealed I was not only a Cancer according to the Astrological calendar, but also a Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac scheme of things. How could I be both? And where did this Chinese Zodiac business come from anyway?
So ... order some Chinese take-out, grab your chop sticks (or fork if you're inept with manipulating those exotic little bamboo sticks like I am), and enjoy the story I am about to tell you.
In Ancient Times, the Chinese had developed so many things ... except a calendar. It was time to fix that. So the Supreme Emperor (aka King of Everything) decided to make his own calendar. A most unique idea: 12 year-long cycles, each named after a different animal. He decided to hold a race across the Realm's Raging River. Each year, for twelve years in a row, would be named after the first twelve animals in the order they reached the other side of the river. From that point until the end of time, the Chinese would have a calendar, known as the Chinese Zodiac. In this special calendar each animal would be featured in the same sequence and the cycle would repeat itself every twelve years.
The Supreme Emperor was very wise. This was a very good plan.
Word spread throughout the realm and the animals all gathered at the starting line: the Rat, Cat, Snake, Dragon, Ox, Rabbit, Monkey, Tiger, Pig, Dog, Sheep, Horse and Rooster. The Emperor raised his arms and yelled "Go!" and there was a great rush of animals plunging into the Raging River.
If you want to find out how the story ends, simply click on "Read More" below: