15 Interesting Things about Ancient Chinese Mythology

11. The Chinese Zodiac

Chinese mythology

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There’s a popular version of how animals were allotted in the Chinese zodiac. The Jade Emperor once announced an animal race to fill up the 12 zodiac slots. But the rat forgot to wake up its neighbor cat on the day of the race. It climbed up on the ox, who was leading and leaped forward at the finish line to become the winner. So the rat became the first animal of the Chinese zodiac, followed by the ox, tiger, and rabbit in the next three positions. They were followed by the dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and finally the pig. The cat arrived late and missed the race. And that’s the reason according to Chinese mythology why the cat always tries to kill the rat.

12. Guardian lions

Chinese mythology

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You have surely seen them in front of temples, palaces, and even ordinary homes. The Chinese believe the lions to have protective powers. They usually come as a pair. While the mail lion holds a ball representing the world, under its paw, the female is seen protecting a cub.

13. The pilgrimage

Chinese mythology

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Kwan Yin is the goddess of compassion and mercy in Chinese mythology. She was killed by her father. When Kwan Yin arrived in hell, she started reading holy books. The king of hell couldn’t make dead souls suffer because of Kwan Yin. She was sent back to the ling world where she got spiritual insights from Buddha. She was later blessed with immortality. The Kwan Yin temple is situated at the Wondrous Park summit and is usually filled with pilgrims all through the year. Kwan Yin is largely credited for spreading Buddhism in China.

14. The eight immortals

Chinese mythology

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This is a group of eight legendary immortals in Chinese mythology. Each of the eight is bestowed with individual powers to uphold life or destroy evil. They are said to inhabit five islands in the Bohai Sea, including Penglai Island in the Shandong province.

Also Read: 15 Unknown Facts About Ancient Egyptian Gods

15. Cai Shen

Chinese mythology

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He is known as the god of wealth in Chinese mythology. People from the business community offer sacrifices to Cai Shen in their shops and homes, hoping to get rich with his blessings. Cai Shen is usually depicted in a red attire, holding a golden rod.