Chinese Lunar New Year 2009

The Year of the Cow (or Ox) began on Monday 26 January 2009.

I’ve often wondered why the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac are such an odd assortment of creatures. There are the farm animals cow (or ox), sheep (ram, goat), chicken (rooster), pig and horse. There’s also the mouse (rat) and dog. Then there are the wild animals rabbit (hare), snake, monkey and tiger. Plus the Chinese dragon isn’t an animal at all, just a mythological creation. It is perhaps telling that there are no aquatic or marine animals, nor are there any animal species specific to countries outside China.

Given that the Chinese zodiac is man-made and derived from ancient times, it is unsurprising that the Chinese came up with this limited assortment of animals that apparently share certain traits with humans.

Anyway the Chinese zodiac, like astrology, is hogwash.

Assuming Jesus was born in 1 AD in the Gregorian calendar, he was probably a chicken (rooster), or a monkey or dog (give or take a lunar year, since there is uncertainty to his actual birth month). This reminds me of the Bethlehem scene at the start of the classic movie, Monty Python’s Life of Brian:

MANDY: So, you’re astrologers, are you? Well, what is he then?
WISE MAN #2: Hmm?
MANDY: What star sign [Chinese zodiac] is he?
WISE MAN #2: Uh, Capricorn [Chicken].
MANDY: Uhh, Capricorn [Chicken], eh? What are they like?
WISE MAN #2: Ooh, but… he is the son of God, our Messiah.
WISE MAN #1: King of the Jews.
MANDY: And that’s Capricorn [Chicken], is it?
WISE MAN #2: Uh, no, no, no. That’s just him.
MANDY: Ohh, I was going to say, ‘Otherwise, there’d be a lot of them.’ [sniff]

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