Why Do the Chinese Name Each Year After An Animal and Where Did the Legend Come From?

The Chinese have tied animal names to calendar years for centuries.

According to the myth, Buddha invited all the animals on Earth to visit him on New Year’s Day, but only twelve arrived.

They were the rat, the ox, the tiger, the hare, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and the pig.

As a reward, Buddha honored each of these twelve with a year of its own.