Happy Lunar New Year!

It’s the Year of the Dog!

According to the Chinese zodiac, your sign is the animal assigned to your birth year. Of the many myths explaining these animal signs and their arrangement, the most enduring one is that of the Great Race. As the story goes, Yù Dì, or Jade Emperor, Ruler of the Heavens, wanted to devise a way to measure time, so he organized a race. The first twelve animals to make it across the river would earn a spot on the zodiac calendar in the order they arrived.

The ever playful Dog came in 11th. When it came time to cross the river, he got distracted and frolicked in the water for so long that, despite his great swimming skills, he scrambled to the finish line just ahead of the Pig.

And so, each year is associated with one of the animals in this order, with the cycle starting over every 60 years. Why 60 and not twelve? Check out our TED-Ed Lesson on the Chinese Zodiac to find out!

From the TED-Ed Lesson The myth behind the Chinese zodiac – Megan Campisi and Pen-Pen Chen

Animation by @martaprokopova