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Political System l Religion l History

Various belief systems and philosophy thoughts have influenced the diversity of Chinese religions. The belief systems refer to all religions that were brought into China from foreign countries, which include Buddhism from India, Islam from Arabia, and Christianity from Europe and America. On the other hand, philosophy thoughts refer to the teachings of philosophers such as Laozi who founded Taoism and Confucius who founded Confucianism. Although the latter is more a teaching of philosophies than a religion, it has somehow been intertwined with Chinese religious beliefs. Taoism is the only religion accepted by many as the true ‘home-grown’ Chinese faith. At present, the main religions and beliefs in China are Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

The Chinese Horoscope

Like the western system of astrology, there are 12 zodiac signs. However, unlike the western system, these signs are represented by 12 animals. The main difference between the two is that the western system is based on the month while the Chinese’s is based on the year. The exact origins of the 12 animals’ system remain unknown. But one myth states that the Lord Buddha had summoned all the animals to him before his departure from earth. Only 12 animals responded and they were the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. To honor these animals, the Lord Buddha then named a year after each in the order of their arrival.

Dating from 2637 BC, the Chinese horoscope is the longest chronological record in history. A chart of the 12 animals and its corresponding years can be found below:

Rat 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996
Ox 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997
Tiger 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998
Rabbit 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999
Dragon 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000
Snake 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001
Horse 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002
Goat 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003
Monkey 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004
Rooster 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005
Dog 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006
Pig 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007

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