What do you think they do there? They don't drink milkshakes I assure you.
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There have been so many stories went around for the formation of the twelve zodiac in ancient Chinese, but one point came to consensus was that they have everything to do with the twelve characters by which the Chinese counting the hours of a day.
In ancient times, people discovered that the sun and the moon would gather twelve times at different places within a year by observing the natural phenomena. People then divided the sun’s track of joining the moon into twelve regions, called the zodiac, Each region represented by a symbolic animal and was named according to the twelve characters: zi(Rat), chou(Ox), yin(Tiger), mao(Rabbit), chen(Dragon), si(Snake), wu(Horse), wei(Ram), shen(Monkey), you(Rooster), xu(Dog), hai(Pig).
Such combination formed a cycle of twelve years. When one cycle ends, another begins all over again. The twelve zodiac therefore popularized nowadays. Ancient people took the view that the year of the animal in which one was born will be endowed with the characteristics of the kind of animal. They also regarded the number of “twelve” as the providence of God, so they divided years and hours of a day according to the duodecimal cycle.
In ancient Chinese culture, it seems that the twelve characters come naturally with the twelve zodiac. The situation just like heaven comes naturally with the earth as well as the sun and the moon does.