The Story of Korea’s Zodiac

South Korea, like many other Asian countries, has recognized the traditional Chinese lunar calendar for a long time. This is a calendar with a twelve-year cycle, each year falling under the influence of one of the calendar’s zodiac animals.

The legend behind the development of the Chinese zodiac comes in numerous forms. According to some, it was Buddha himself who first invited the animals who would become the twelve zodiac signs to pay witness to his departure from the material world. In other versions, it was China’s Jade Emperor inviting the animals to his birthday celebration. In some accounts, all of the animals were invited, and the only twelve to respond were rewarded with their positions on the Chinese calendar. In other versions, positions on the calendar were awarded according to a competition between the animals. Even the animals themselves are not always agreed upon, though the most widely recognized lineup includes the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Serpent, the Horse, the Ram, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig.

This year, we celebrate the return of the Year of the Monkey. Come and get your year off to a strong start with Arirang Korean BBQ in Lynnwood.