This set of flash cards covers the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac, or 十二生肖 relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle.
Each year in the Chinese lunar calendar is represented by a zodiac animal. The animal has a great influence on the destiny and personality of people born in that year. In addition, each sign depends on additional information like the element (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and the dominant Yin or Yang.
The 12 Chinese Zodiac animals are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. One activity you can do with the kids while showing them the card is to tell them the story about how the Chinese Zodiac came about.
The Legend of 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac
The legend goes that the Jade Emperor invite all the animals to its Birthday on the 9th day of the new year. 12 animals will be selected to be guardian for the route to heaven. The succession of the animals in the Chinese calendar will be determined by their order of arrival to the birthday celebration. Thus the Chinese calendar has a cycle of 12 years and always follow the signs in the same order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
The Rat and the Cat used to be good friends and they decided to go to the celebration together. They came to a river on their way to the celebration and the kind Ox offer to give both of them a lift to cross the river. So the rat and the cat hop onto the ox and off they go. However, the Rat secretly wanted to be first and he push the cat into the water. The ox is not aware of what happened and continue on their way. When they almost arrive at the gate, the mouse jump from the Ox to the destination, just before the Ox and became the first to arrive.
Our printable Chinese Zodiac Animals Cards
A combination of Chinese traditional paper cut is and Chinese calligraphy is used for illustrating the 12 Zodiac Animals in this set of Chinese Zodiac Cards.