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十二生肖背后的神话 – 译学馆
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十二生肖背后的神话

The myth behind the Chinese zodiac - Megan Campisi and Pen-Pen Chen

What’s your sign?
你的标志属性是什么?
In Western astrology,
在西方占星术中
it’s a constellation determined by when your birthday falls in the calendar.
它是你生辰所对应的星座
But according to the Chinese zodiac, or shēngxiào,
但按中国的”黄历”或者说”生肖”
it’s your shǔxiàng,
就是”属相”
meaning the animal assigned to your birth year.
即出生那年对应的动物
And of the many myths explaining the animal signs and their arrangment,
许多神话中都诠释过被选中的动物种类和排列顺序
the most enduring one is that of the Great Race.
最经久流传的一种解释是赛跑比赛
As the story goes, Yù Dì, or Jade Emperor,
故事中说 “玉帝”
Ruler of the Heavens,
天规的制定者
wanted to devise a way to measure time,
希望找出一种记录时间的方法
so he organized a race.
于是 他组织了一场比赛
The first twelve animals to make it across the river
最先穿过河流的十二个动物
would earn a spot on the zodiac calendar
按照到达的顺序
in the order they arrived.
可以在黄历上占有一席之地
The rat rose with the sun to get an early start,
老鼠迎着曙光 早早就动身启行
but on the way to the river,
但在去河流的路上
he met the horse, the tiger, and the ox.
它遇到了马 老虎和公牛
Because the rat was small and couldn’t swim very well,
因为老鼠个儿小且游技平平
he asked the bigger animals for help.
所以它向更大只的动物求助
While the tiger and horse refused,
当老虎和马拒绝时
the kind-hearted ox agreed to carry the rat across.
好心的牛牛同意带着老鼠一起过河
Yet, just as they were about to reach the other side,
然而当它们即将到达河对岸时
the rat jumped off the ox’s head and secured first place.
老鼠从牛的头上跳下成了第一名
The ox came in second, with the powerful tiger right behind him.
健壮的老虎紧随牛后 位列第三
The rabbit, too small to battle the current,
兔子太小只 无法对抗激流
nimbly hopped across stones and logs to come in fourth.
于是敏捷地踏石 跃原木而过 位列第四
Next came the dragon,
接下来是龙
who could have flown directly across,
它本可以直接飞过
but stopped to help some creatures she had encountered on the way.
但它在途中停下帮助了些生物
After her came the horse,
龙之后是马
galloping across the river.
它飞奔向河对岸
But just as she got across,
但在马快穿河而过时
the snake slithered by.
蛇蜿蜒的滑过
The startled horse reared back,
受惊吓的马后腿直立
letting the snake sneak into sixth place.
让蛇偷偷地溜到了第六名
The Jade Emperor looked out at the river
玉帝看向河流处
spotted the sheep, the monkey, and the rooster all atop a raft,
看到一艘船载着羊 猴子 公鸡
working together to push it through the weeds.
船在它们合力划行下穿过苇草
When they made it across,
到达河对岸后
the trio agreed to give eighth place to the sheep,
三人组都同意让羊位列第八名
who had been the most comforting and harmonious of them,
因为羊是它们中最友善的
followed by the monkey and the rooster.
羊之后是猴子和鸡
Next came the dog, scrambling onto the shore.
接下来狗狗攀上了河岸
He was a great swimmer,
它是个游泳健将
but frolicked in the water for so long
但因为在水里嬉戏了太长时间
that he only managed to come in eleventh.
所以它位列十一
The final spot was claimed by the pig,
最后一个位置被猪获得了
who had gotten hungry and stopped to eat and nap
在缓速通过终点线之前
before finally waddling across the finish line.
因为饿了 猪还吃了东西并睡了会儿
And so, each year is associated with one of the animals in this order,
于是 每年就这样对应上了一种动物
with the cycle starting over every 60 years.
每60年一个轮回
Why 60 and not twelve?
为什么是60年而不是12年?
Well, the traditional Chinese calendar is made up of two overlapping systems.
因为中国传统农历是用两套系统共同计算的
The animals of the zodiac are associated with
“生肖”记年法
what’s called the Twelve Earthly Branches, or shí’èrdizhī.
又称”十二地支”记年法
Another system, the Ten Heavenly Stems, or shitiāngān,
另一套被称为”十天干”的系统
is linked with the five classical elements of
与五种传统元素相关
metal, xīn, wood, mù, water, shuǐ, fire, huǒ, and earth, tǔ.
即”金” “木” “水” “火” “土”
Each element is assigned yīn or yáng,
每种元素又有”阴阳”
creating a ten-year cycle.
这些形成了10年一个的轮回
When the twelve animals of the Earthly Branches
当”十二生肖”
are matched with the five elements
和五种元素相对应
plus the yīn or the yáng of the Heavenly Stems,
再加上”天干”中的”阴阳”
it creates 60 years of different combinations,
就出现了60年不重复的组合记年
known as a sexagenary cycle, or gānzhī.
被称为”干支”纪年
So someone born in 1980
生于1980年的
would have the sign of yáng metal monkey,
就是阳庚申猴年
while someone born in 2007 would be yīn fire pig.
生于2007年的就是阴丁亥猪年
In fact, you can also have an inner animal
事实上出生的月份
based on your birth month,
也可对应一种动物
a true animal based on your birth date,
出生日期对应一种
and a secret animal based on your birth hour.
出生时间对应一种
It was the great race that supposedly determined
长跑比赛
which animals were enshrined in the Chinese zodiac,
使中国黄历中的动物被封神
but as the system spread through Asia,
但当这套纪年法传遍亚洲
other cultures made changes to reflect their communities.
其他文化地区为适应本国而做了些调整
So if you consult the Vietnamese zodiac,
所以如果向越南人问属相
you may discover that you’re a cat, not a rabbit,
你会发现你属猫而不是兔
and if you’re in Thailand,
如果是在泰国
a mythical snake called a Naga replaces the dragon.
神话中的那伽蛇替代了龙的位置
So whether or not you place stock in what the zodiac says about you as an individual,
所以无论你在哪里 黄道纪年让你知道 你是独立个体
it certainly reveals much about the culture it comes from.
当然 它还揭示了很多它起源的文化信息

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十二生肖背后有什么故事呢?

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