Jump to content

- - - - -

Why is there a cat in the Vietnamese Zodiac?

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#16 General_Zhaoyun


    Grand Valiant General of Imperial Han Army

  • Owner
  • 12,287 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Singapore (Taiwanese/Singapore Permanent Resident)
  • Interests:Chinese History, Chinese Philosophy and Religion, Chinese languages, Minnan/Taiwanese language, Classical Chinese, General Chinese Culture
  • Languages spoken:Mandarin, Taiwanese (Hokkien), English, German, Singlish
  • Ethnic Groups or Race:Han Chinese (Taiwanese Hoklo)
  • Main Interest in CHF:
    General Chinese Culture
  • Specialisation / Expertise:
    Chinese Language, History and Culture

Posted 23 February 2010 - 03:52 AM

Hello everybody,

I'm a Vietnamese Chinese (越南華僑). Now I live in the U.S. Back in Vietnam, we used to speak Chao Zhou (潮州話)。My grandmother would teach me how to remember the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Bull, Tiger, rabbit, etc. But in school, the teachers would teach us how to remember the zodiac in Vietnamese: Rat, Bull, Tiger, CAT, etc. I am wondering why the Cat replaces the rabbit in the Vietnamese zodiac. I have google searched this issue but have not come up with a definitive answer. In some articles they say becuase cat and rabbit sound alike in Vietnamese. To my understanding, this is not true. Cat is meo, and rabbit is tho. Completely different sounds! Is there another pronunciation for rabbit in Vietnamese that I'm not aware of? Another explanation in some articles is that there are more cats than rabbits in Vietnam. I am just curious because I want to explain it to my son who has asked me this question.

Please advise,

According to this Chinese source at http://zhidao.baidu....n/96094540.html, no-one actually know the real reason why cat has replaced rabbit in Vietnamese animal Zodiac.

The most plausible theory proposed was that when the 12 Animal Zodiac was introduced into Vietnam from China, the "Mao 卯" in the Zodiac year "Mao Tu 卯兔" (Mao Rabbit Year) has the same Chinese pronunciation as "Mao 猫" (cat). Because the "Mao Nian 卯年" (Mao Year) sounds the same as "Mao Nian 貓年" (cat year), the Vietnamese had made a mistake in the writing and recorded it as "cat year" (mao nian 貓年).
Posted ImagePosted Image

"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users