This Lunar New Year (22 January 2023) is the Year of the Rabbit.
In traditional Chinese culture, there are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. They represent the lunar calendar every year.
In the classification order, they are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
Backstory Behind the Cat’s Snub
On the Jade Emperor’s birthday, he decided to host a race of 12 animals to create the Chinese Zodiac.
When the Cat heard the news, he was excited and wanted to participate in the competition.
However, the race was slated to be hosted early in the morning. However, the Cat was a night owl who liked to sleep late and start his day later in the day—just like many of us.
The Cat was good friends with the Rat. Afraid he would oversleep, the Cat asked the Rat to wake it up, so they could go to the competition together.
The Rat excitedly agreed as he wanted to participate in the race too.
However, on race day, the Rat forgot about his promise and went to the race by himself. The Cat unfortunately overslept. Panicking, he ran to the race and found 12 other animals at the competition already—one of them was the Rat.
The Cat was betrayed by the Rat and felt angered. The betrayal was why the Cat hates the Rat now—just like Tom and Jerry did.
However, the Cat is still in the Zodiac system in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese Zodiac
Instead of the Lunar New Year, the Vietnamese celebrate Tết Nguyên Đán on 22 January 2023.
They, too, have a 12-animal Zodiac system. However, instead of the Year of the Rabbit this year, it is the Year of the Cat.
There is a possible explanation for why the Vietnamese have the Cat instead of the Rabbit.
In the Chinese language, the word for Rabbit is pronounced as “Mão”. In Vietnamese, it is called “Mẹo”. However, it also sounds like the word cat, which is “Mèo” in their language.
This confusion may be due to the history shared between China and Vietnam.
Shared Borders, Shared Cultures
As China and Vietnam share a common border, cultural influence may have seeped into Vietnam in the past.
Both countries have a language barrier, and the spreading mythology of the Chinese Zodiac may have mixed up between the Rabbit and Cat.
We can chalk up the Indo-China history of why the Vietnamese celebrate the Year of the Cat instead of the Year of the Rabbit today.
Year of the Rabbit or Cat Personalities
According to ChinaTravelGuide, people born in the Year of the Rabbit are known to be soft and tender. They also have a modest attitude and maintain a peace-loving relationship with the people they love. Pet owners could also resonate these traits with their pet rabbits.
Such personality traits are similar to people born in the Year of the Cat.
According to VietnamDrive, people born in the Year of the Cat are known to be sensitive and like to be peaceful. These traits also sum up the distant-but-loving personalities of our beloved Cat pets.
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Featured Image: Hai Mai, HAWA VECTOR / Shutterstock.com