What is the Chinese zodiac?
The origin story behind the Chinese zodiac is that the Jade Emperor, a major Chinese deity, invited the world’s animals to participate in a race. The first twelve that crossed the finish line would each receive the honor of having a year on the calendar named after them.
What’s so special about the Year of the Rat?
But it’s not just when it finished, it’s how the rat won that makes for the best folklore. Legend has it that the rat was doing pretty well in the race - until it got to a river. Unable to swim, the rat looked around and spotted a water-safe haven in the ear of his competitor, the ox. The rat leaped into the ox’s ear, making a safe crossing and catching a stress-free ride all the way to the finish line. In the final moments of the race, the agile rat jumped out and made its final sprint to victory, easily outrunning the lumbersome ox.
While some parts of this story might not hold up today (rats are actually excellent swimmers, and who said cheating was allowed?) the rat is revered as a quick-thinking and adaptable creature - one that is ultimately successful in its pursuits.
Rats are also quite cunning; if you’ve noticed there are no cats included on the Chinese zodiac, that’s down to the rat’s clever maneuvering. According to myth, the cat asked the rat to wake it up from its nap when it was time to race. The rat did no such thing, and the cat missed out on its chance to be immortalized in the Chinese zodiac - you snooze, you lose! (Don’t feel too sad if you’re a cat person, though; the Vietnamese zodiac includes cats instead of rabbits.)
2020: A Year To Do Something Big
Everyone from Rabbits to Roosters, Dragons to Dogs will experience good luck and have golden opportunities handed their way. It’s a year for taking a big leap (much like the rat’s strategic leap into an ear) and seeing where a new direction takes you in life.
If you’ve ever wanted to try something new or go somewhere different, this is the year to explore new horizons and pursue your goals - with some careful planning, of course. SAF helps students to discover their dreams of studying abroad, offering professional, personalized and prestigious study opportunities that are planned for you at the outset and set you up to succeed.