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A red-and-black illustration with Chinese zodiac animals, including a pig. David Yurman Starburst designs in 18K yellow gold with garnet and a Cable bracelet in 18K gold are placed on top of the illustration.

THE GREAT RACE

The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

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THE GREAT RACE

The Story of the
Chinese Zodiac

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In honor of 2019, the year of the pig, we share the ancient tale
of how this lucky animal earned its place in the Chinese zodiac.

In honor of 2019, the year of the pig, we share the ancient tale of how this lucky animal earned its place in the Chinese zodiac.

The Origins of Lunar New Year

Based on the cycles of the moon and the solar year, the Chinese lunar calendar was created thousands of years ago, so farmers knew when to plant and gather their harvest. Lunar New Year commences the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice—from mid-January to late February—and has become one of the most important holidays in many Asian countries. People travel from all over the world to be with family as they bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new with celebrations and gifts that represent good fortune and prosperity.

The Origins of
Lunar New Year

Based on the cycles of the moon and the solar year, the Chinese lunar calendar was created thousands of years ago, so farmers knew when to plant and gather their harvest. Lunar New Year commences the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice—from mid-January to late February—and has become one of the most important holidays in many Asian countries. People travel from all over the world to be with family as they bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new with celebrations and gifts that represent good fortune and prosperity.

On February 5, 2019, the Year of the Pig begins, marking the end of the 12-year cycle based on the Chinese zodiac. This beloved creature—a symbol of luck, wealth, fun and fertility—almost didn’t become part of the lunar calendar according to one version of the ancient tale.

On February 5, 2019, the Year of the Pig begins, marking the end of the 12-year cycle based on the Chinese zodiac. This beloved creature—a symbol of luck, wealth, fun and fertility—almost didn’t become part of the lunar calendar according to one version of the ancient tale.

The Legend
of the Great Race

A long, long time ago, the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven, invited the animals to compete in a race on his birthday. There could only be 12 winners and each would earn a spot in the first Chinese zodiac.

The Legend of
the Great Race

A long, long time ago, the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven, invited the animals to compete in a race on his birthday. There could only be 12 winners and each would earn a spot in the first Chinese zodiac.

Everyone wanted to be first, but to reach the finish line, the animals had to cross a river with a fast, powerful current. 

Rat woke up early, but was a poor swimmer, so the clever creature waited at the river until ox arrived. He hopped on top of ox, who carried him across the water. At the shore, rat jumped in front of ox, taking first place.

Nine other animals—tiger, rabbit, dragon, horse, snake, rooster, sheep and dog—soon arrived at the end of the race.

Standing at the finish line, the Jade Emperor wondered who would be the final winner before hearing an exhausted “oink.” Pig quickly waddled towards him. 

“How has one with such surprising speed fallen so far behind?” asked the Jade Emperor.

Pig snorted as he got ready to speak. “Sorry, dear Jade Emperor. I was hungry and stopped to eat. I fell asleep afterwards—I couldn’t help myself.”

Everyone wanted to be first, but to reach the finish line, the animals had to cross a river with a fast, powerful current. 

Rat woke up early, but was a poor swimmer, so the clever creature waited at the river until ox arrived. He hopped on top of ox, who carried him across the water. At the shore, rat jumped in front of ox, taking first place.

Nine other animals—tiger, rabbit, dragon, horse, snake, rooster, sheep and dog—soon arrived at the end of the race.

Standing at the finish line, the Jade Emperor wondered who would be the final winner before hearing an exhausted “oink.” Pig quickly waddled towards him. 

“How has one with such surprising speed fallen so far behind?” asked the Jade Emperor.

Pig snorted as he got ready to speak. “Sorry, dear Jade Emperor. I was hungry and stopped to eat. I fell asleep afterwards—I couldn’t help myself.”

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Gifts for the Lunar New Year

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Gifts for the
Lunar New Year

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Welcome the Year of the Pig with David Yurman
women’s designs in traditional Lunar New Year hues.

Welcome the Year of the Pig with David Yurman women’s designs in traditional Lunar New Year hues.

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Discover men’s designs inspired by symbols of
good fortune, happiness, nobility and prosperity.

Discover men’s designs inspired by symbols of good fortune, happiness, nobility and prosperity.