Story behind the Lunar New Year Zodiac Animals

The Lunar Collection was created to celebrate Asian culture and heritage. The celebration of Lunar New Year is often referred to as one of the biggest holiday periods in many Asian countries such as China, Vietnam and Korea. Much like Christmas for Western countries, during Lunar New Year, people will often return home to visit family and friends for the duration of the holiday. Many people will participate in large feasts with many traditional dishes and activities such as lighting firecrackers or gifting red pockets (also known as Hong Bao or Lai See). 


Many of us may be familiar with the 12 animals that make up the Lunar Zodiac but do you know the story of why they are in their particular order? According to Chinese folklore, the order of the Chinese Zodiac was determined by the order in which they arrived at the Heavenly Gate.

WHAT IS THE STORY OF THE HEAVENLY GATE?

The legendary story may differ from others; however, the order remains the same. Many years ago, when the Chinese zodiac did not exist, there was a Jade Emperor that wanted 12 animals to be his guards. He sent an immortal being into the human world to spread the message, and whichever animal went through the Heavenly Gate the earliest would get ranked from 1 to 12.

Rat Chinese Zodiac Necklace & Ox Chinese Zodiac Necklace

RAT & OX

The next day, the race to the Heavenly Gate began. The Rat got up early in the morning to make its way to the gate. On the way the Rat encountered a river and had to wait until its strong current died down. While waiting, the Rat noticed the Ox about to cross the river and swiftly jumped into the Ox’s ear. The ox did not mind the Rat at all, and simply continued its way to the Heavenly Gate. After crossing the other side of the river, the rat suddenly jumped out of the Ox’s ear, and dashed towards the Emperor’s feet. The Rat won first place, and Ox was second.

Tiger Zodiac Necklace & Rabbit Zodiac Necklace

TIGER & RABBIT 

Tiger and Rabbit then came in third and fourth place. Both known to be competitive animals, the Tiger beats the Rabbit due to its size and speed.

Dragon Zodiac Necklace & Snake Zodiac Necklace

DRAGON & SNAKE

Dragon was the fifth animal to enter the Heavenly Gate, and immediately caught the Jade Emperor’s eye. The Emperor asked the Dragon that his son could place sixth for the race, but unfortunately the Dragon’s son did not come with him. Soon after, the Snake came forward and told the Emperor that the Dragon was his adopted father, convincing the Emperor and making the Snake sixth place.

Horse Zodiac Necklace & Goat Zodiac Necklace

HORSE & GOAT

Horse and Goat arrived at the gates around the same time. Both animals were very kind and modest and let each other go first. The Jade Emperor saw how polite they were and ranked them seventh and eighth respectfully.

Monkey Zodiac Necklace & Rooster Zodiac Necklace

MONKEY & ROOSTER 

The Monkey struggled its way to the Heavenly Gate, however, was able to jump between trees and stones, and eventually secured the ninth spot. The last animals to enter (in order) were the Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The Rooster created a raft to help itself cross the river and eventually made it to the Heavenly Gate. 

Dog Zodiac Necklace & Pig Zodiac Necklace

DOG & PIG

The Dog ended up getting distracted and splashed playfully around the water before heading towards the Heavenly Gate. The Pig got peckish during the race and stopped for food. After eating a big meal, the Pig became sleepy and took a small nap. The Pig eventually woke up and finished in last place.

We hope you enjoy this Limited Edition Lunar New Year inspired collection and we wish you a very prosperous 2022 Year of the Tiger! Shop Lunar here.

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