Most of the 12 Zodiac Animals chosen to represent the year were common farm animals that influenced people’s life. So why were Tiger and Dragon chosen?
Because of its elegant, audacity, and power, Tiger was considered the highest ruler of the animals in ancient China. As for Dragon, the only mythical creature of the 12, was the supreme symbol of Emperor or “Heavenly Son”.
Tiger and Dragon were chosen for the zodiac because they have significantly influenced Chinese culture. They were often referenced in Chinese literature, for example, they are in popular phrases like:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 臥虎藏龍
– meaning undiscovered or concealed talents or experts
(As used in the title of the award wining
movie by Director Ang Lee.)
Contending Dragon, Fighting Tiger 龍爭虎鬥
– meaning a furious fight between two super
Dragon’s Lake, Tiger’s Den 龍潭虎穴
– meaning a very critical but dangerous place
Vital Dragon, Vigorous Tiger 生龍活虎
– meaning a vigorous, energetic, strong, and brave person
So, why wasn’t Cat chosen for the Chinese Zodiac? Read The Legend of Chinese Zodiac.