Why the Rooster crows

  • Living
  • Friday, 03 Feb 2017

Painting: A Handsome Boy, watercolour by Koh Shim Luen

At the start of the new year, a video of a group of crowing roosters “mimicking” an orchestra went viral. Millions were laughing at and sharing this video because it is funny; but it also has an auspicious message for the Lunar New Year.

Legend has it that in the old days, the Rooster was accorded a place among the 12 Chinese zodiac animals because of its crowing.

People were grateful to it for crowing to wake them up early to go to work. In those days, before clocks had been invented, the rooster’s crowing was indeed very helpful.

In Chinese Astrology, author Kwok Man-Ho said the Rooster asked the Horse how it could be included in the animal zodiac.

The Horse then advised the Rooster to help mankind.

The Horse said he was included in the signs as he helped people by carrying goods and fighting during wartime.

“The Ox ploughs the land, the Pig provides meat and the Dragon controls the rain,” said the Horse.

And he suggested to the Rooster to use his incredible voice to prove himself useful.

Because of that, mankind decided to help the Rooster in return.

People asked the Jade Emperor to grant the Rooster a place in a competition to be included as one of the 12 zodiac signs.

Apparently, flying creatures were not allowed to compete. But the Jade Emperor made a waiver. He placed a flower on the Rooster’s head (the cock’s comb) as a sign that he could participate.

The Dog and the Rooster competed for their “ranking” in the zodiac and ran a very close race. But the Rooster took flight and finished ahead of the Dog to claim its place as the 10th sign. Fuming at having lost to the Rooster, the Dog regarded it as an enemy from that day on.

According to Kwok, the Rooster has other associations as well. For one, it is related to the colour white. Tradition has it that white is associated with Autumn and maturity. The colour is also a symbol of purity, cleanliness and freshness.

He said that although white clothing is worn during mourning periods in China, white is also symbolic of good fortune and white birds and are a sign of good luck!

The Rooster, he said, is the embodiment of both yin and yang qualities. But it is associated with the Water element, which has powerful yin qualities linked to peace and reflection.

Apparently each animal sign is matched to a compass direction. The Rooster is associated with the West. Traditionally, the West is also related to the middle of Autumn, a time when yin grows stronger. – Majorie Chiew

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Why the Rooster crows


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