hits the animal indication of “Rat”.
Among the old
lunar calendar that was brought to Japan long ago from China, the
classification system of “Junishi” was applied to every historical
year that is represented by 12 kinds of animals individually.
to the first turn animal of “Rat”. The fixed order of animals
consists of Rat, Cattle, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep,
Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar.
According to a
fairy tale, when God called up animals to get together for the new
year celebration, cattle arrived the meeting place earlier than
others for fear of his slow walking
Rat stayed on the
back of cattle and jumped off toward God appearing as the top animal
to see God. This is why rat was ranked as the first year animal.
Why cat was not
included ? When cat asked rat about the meeting date, rat
intentionally told a wrong day to cat, so that cat could not join
the group. Ever since that time, cats chase rats all the time.
People born in the
Rat year are said to be self-supporting and oriented to prosperous
We often ask
others, “What animal year were you born?”, as every year has its own
The animal shape
of a new year is usually printed in the “Nengajoh”, new year