Having grown up in a large family with two siblings and many cousins, I always found it difficult keeping track of everyone’s age – especially when it came to the order from eldest to youngest. I knew I was a rabbit, but what animal was everyone else? That’s when the story of “The Great Race” became very significant to me, as I was able to pinpoint, albeit with annoying precision, the exact age of every cousin and their designated Chinese Zodiac.
Whenever my parents told me the story of The Great Race, they would always tell it from memory without having to reference anything. Unlike other bedtime stories that were read from books (or tablets nowadays), my parents used nothing other than their memory and the details in their head. This also fascinated me – the importance of practicing oral tradition within most Asian cultures. I believe it to be storytelling in its most raw and basic form.
Check out this very informative and funny animated video highlighting the most important details of this legendary race!
I have concluded long ago that this legendary race was not a fair one. It always bothered me that the almighty dragon lost to a conniving rat, and how the cat never stood a chance. One of my sisters was a “rat”, and I was always extra careful around her…
In preparation of the upcoming Lunar New Year, Reel Asian presents a mini blog series discussing the traditions behind this widely celebrated event.
Join Reel Asian and FACL on March 5 as we hold our first Lunar New Year Fundraiser Dinner to support Reel Asian’s youth mentorship and leadership programs. More information here.
Article written by Philbert Lui.