Welcome to The Year of the Horse – 午 Wǔ

2008421144416408January 6, 2014, Kentucky ~ The start of Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, will fall on Jan. 31, 2014.

Each year corresponds to a different zodiac sign and animal. The Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animals that denote a person’s birth known as shengxiao: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each of the animals is named after one favored by the Buddha and is said to influence an individual’s personality.

In 2014, it will be the year of the Horse. Known as Wu, those born during the year of the Horse tend to be clever, possess good communication skills, are cheerful and stubborn. In 2014, they are expected to have a good year and are advised to be quiet and patient. 

AnimalBranchNew Year dates
鼠 Shǔe Rat子 Zǐ19 February 19967 February 200825 January 2020
牛 Niú Ox丑 Chǒu7 February 199726 January 200912 February 2021
虎 Hǔo Tiger寅 Yín28 January 199814 February 20101 February 2022
兔 Tù Rabbit卯 Mǎo16 February 19993 February 201122 January 2023
龍 Lónga Dragon辰 Chén5 February 200023 January 201210 February 2024
蛇 Shé Snake巳 Sì24 January 200110 February 201329 January 2025
馬 Mǎt Horse午 Wǔ12 February 200231 January 201417 February 2026
羊 Yáng Goat未 Wèi1 February 200319 February 20156 February 2027
猴 Hóu Monkey申 Shēn22 January 20048 February 201626 January 2028
雞 Jī Rooster酉 Yǒu9 February 200528 January 201713 February 2029
狗 Gǒu Dog戌 Xū29 January 200616 February 20183 February 2030
豬 Zhū Pig亥 Hài18 February 20075 February 201923 February 2031

*Throughout China’s long development, no animal has affected its history as greatly as the horse. Ever since its domestication in northeastern China around 5,000 years ago, the horse has been an integral figure in the creation and survival of the Middle Kingdom. Its significance has been such that as early as the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1600-1100 BC), horses and the vehicles they powered were entombed with their owners so as to be with them in the next life. During the Western Zhou Dynasty (ca. 1100-771 BC), military might was measured by the number of war chariots available to a particular kingdom. As the empire grew, horses became essential for maintaining contact with and control of the empire and for transporting goods and supplies throughout the vast and diverse country.

Chinese genius produced three of the most significant inventions in equestrian history: an effective harnessing system based on the breast strap, the stirrup, and the horse collar. Their harnessing system was the first to effectively utilize the horse’s power without hampering its ability to breathe. It allowed for the development of shafted horse-drawn vehicles far more advanced and efficient than their counterparts in the West. In fact, it would be more than a millennium before the breast-strap harnessing system would arrive in Europe. The invention of the stirrup was equally important; for the first time, mounted cavalrymen had a secure platform from which to fight. Sun Ji, one of the leading authorities regarding the history of the horse in China, ranks the inventions of the breast-strap harnessing system and the stirrup, along with the inventions of paper and gunpowder, as two of the four most significant Chinese inventions based on their impact on world history.

*From the Kentucky Horse Park International Museum of the Horse

The Millennium’s First Great
International Exhibition

http://www.ket.org/artofthehorse/ed/history.htm

~end

 

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