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2023: The year of the Cat

In Vietnam, 2023 is the year of the cat (ranked at the 4th place in the 12 animals), calculated according to the solar calendar from January 22, 2023 to the end of February 9, 2024. From livestock, cats gradually become useful animals in the family from catching mice to protect property to becoming pets to be taken care of.


Cats are only found in the 12 zodiac animals of Vietnam

Cat is the fourth "character" of the 12 zodiac animals in Vietnam, while in other countries that also celebrate lunar new year like China, Korea, Japan, India, Thailand, etc., this position is a rabbit. According to the fairy tales of the countries mentioned above, when the Jade Emperor opened a contest to choose 12 animals to represent 12 years, the mouse tricked the cat by announcing the wrong time of the exam, causing the cat to oversleep that day. There is also another version that says that there is no such thing as a mouse tricking a cat, but because the cat is greedy for sleep, so that he is absent from the contest. However, the end of the story is the same, as the cats are not present in the 12 animals and that is the reason why cats hate mouse.



Nevertheless, in the legend of the 12 zodiac animals of Vietnam, both the cat and the mouse went to the contest. When crossing a large river, both of them had to rely on buffalo to hitchhike. In the middle of the stream, when the mouse kicked the cat when the cat was not paying attention, the cat fell into the river, and the buffalo carried the mouse to the gate of heaven at the earliest. At that time, the door was ajar and the mouse was quick to sneak in first, the buffalo was slower to rank second. For the lucky cat, when he fell into the river, he met a tiger who saved him and the pair took the third and fourth place among the 12 animals. However, the end of the story of 12 animals in Vietnam or other countries is the same, cats hate mouse because of this contest!


Cats in the culture of Vietnam

From the perspective of Vietnamese literature and art, especially folklore, cats often play the role of villains, and the image of cats is often used to symbolise power, combining violence and intrigue. Obviously, the victim of this powerful force is the mouse and there is no way to escape and suffer.


Since the lines of folk paintings were born, the image of a cat has had the opportunity to enter the art culture. For example, in the mouse wedding painting of the famous Dong Ho Painting Village, there was a solemn procession of rats who had to buy bribe the old cat with fish to be left alone. The caption of the picture for the note that "Protect yourself - Giữ thân", is the option chosen by the weak and powerful against the powerful.



Cats are present in many Vietnamese folk songs, idioms and proverbs, leaving many profound life lessons. In real life, the cat image is largely associated with the critical things of human nature. For example, when someone is proud of his talent, overconfident in his ability to win, or the word "cat praises the long-tailed cat - Mèo khen mèo dài đuôi" is often used to refer to people who are not in the right personality and position but love to brag.


In addition, the cat also represents those who know their own strength: "The little cat catches the baby mouse - Mèo nhỏ bắt chuột con". In fact, small business people often self-assess their capital according to this sentence. In the relationship between people and people, it is necessary to promote humility because it is not known "Which cat bites which - Mèo nào cắn mỉu nào" (doesn't know which cat bites which cat), meaning to live in the world without knowing anyone better, so each person should not look down on others because maybe they are better than themselves.


Cats as a symbol of bad luck in Vietnam

In Vietnam, the ancients used to have a saying that “It is difficult for a cat to come home, but for a dog to come home, it is beautiful - Mèo đến nhà thì khó, chó đến nhà thì sang” to indicate the choice of a pet in the house. It can be understood that when cats randomly appear in the house and stay, it is considered to be an unlucky thing.


Regarding the cat anecdote, there are also many stories causing stir and aversion because of related events. For example, there are ancient stories such as a cat jumping over a deceased person will turn up and turn into a demon entering the colon, the sound is homophonous with the word poverty, all of which have been passed down from generation to generation in everyday culture. Since then, a part of Vietnamese people considers having a cat in the family as bad luck.


However, with the advanced level of science and technology, it has proven that bad luck stories from cats are superstitious. Since then, cats have gradually become close pets, aversion stories have also gradually disappeared and the image of a cat god of fortune appears.


There is also a story that if a person hears a cat scream in the middle of the night, it is a harbinger of disaster, if there are 7 times, someone will have to die, and if there are 9 times, the soul of the dead person will enter the cat to claim the lives of the living. According to the concept of some ethnic groups belonging to the Tay Thai language group, especially Tay Thanh, Man Thanh, those who die if were born in the year of the cat will need to perform a magic ritual, people will pour fat or oil on the surface of the coffin to let the cat lick and when bringing the dead person near the burial place, he will make an offering ceremony and cut the cat in half, as it is believed that in doing so the spirit of the dead person will not enter the cat. Therefore, cats who scream at night are considered to be evil, specialising in harbingers of death.


People born in the year of the cat

People born in the year of the cat are mild-mannered, gentle, peace-loving, and always polite and elegant in their gestures and words. With that gentle appearance, making it easy for people to misunderstand the nature of the people born in the year of the cat, in fact, they are people with strong will and unchanging steadfastness. People born in the year of the cat are determined to pursue anything to the end. They are also gifted in social and political sciences.


People born in the year of the cat in general do not like to fight, prefer a peaceful lifestyle, with few ups and downs. Although they treat friends and colleagues well, they keep a distance from their relatives, sometimes do not like to have a family, do not like to shoulder responsibilities in the family. As they are "comfortable people" who do not like conflicts, sometimes they become weak. In life, they do not have high desire, as long as they are safe all the time.


Women born in the year of the cat are gentle, courageous, intelligent and like to help others without thinking of return. They always sympathise and know how to share the suffering of others.


Men born in the year of the cat is very considerate, polite, and live with gentle words and gestures that make everyone admire his intelligence and follow the advice of the cat. As they are very confident, they always think they are right, but sometimes it could lead to excessive subjectivity.


In short, people of the year of the cat will overcome all obstacles on the way to reach the destination. They are people who do not like family life, but when needed, they can still fit in with everyone. In life, they always find ways to avoid conflicts and contradictions, but in a reluctant situation, they still have appropriate measures to protect their interests.


Happy new year!

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