The tiger takes the third place before the rabbit and after the ox in the Chinese Zodiac. It could have been No. 1 or No. 2 if the rat hadn’t been mean and the ox hadn’t been that steady in the race.
According to the legend, at the beginning of the selection of the 12 animals, the lion was selected since it was the leader of the animal world, but it was accused of being very cruel and evil during the inspection of the Jade Emperor, who was very angry with the lion and decided to remove its title as well as the name from the list. The animals were overjoyed at this result since they could enjoy the free life without being threatened by the lion as before. However, without the control from the lion, they went beyond themselves and did whatever they like. There was a chaos in the forest. Some of them even ran amuck and disturbed the human life and brought troubles and tragedies to the people. At a gathering organized by the God of earth, people complained a lot and made wishes to the Jade Emperor to change this situation. After a serious consideration, the Jade Emperor decided to send the tiger, a very powerful guard of the anterior hall of the court of the heaven, down to earth to be the king of the animal kingdom of the jungle. Owing to the wonderful skills of management and his power, the tiger brought the peace back to the people and he was rewarded the character “王" meaning king on his forehead by the Jade Emperor. He was also chosen to be the candidate for the 12 animals to replace the lion. That’s how he was enlisted.
In China, the tiger is regarded as not only a sign of power, but also a sign of protection. If you go to visit China, you will find many traditions related to the tiger. For instance, tiger shoes, tiger pillows and tiger hats, made of red cloth in the shape of a tiger head, are sent as gifts to new born babies with good wishes for good health and safety during the growth. In ancient times, tiger-tallies, serving as the special privileged pass in the army, were the symbol of the power of the highly ranked generals. Tiger knockers could be found on the doors of rich families. And, some people name their kids “Tiger girls” or “Tiger Boys”. All this are the indications of people’s respect, yet awesome attitude towards the tiger.
People born under the sign of the tiger are thought to be “born leaders” because of their personality as being powerful, aggressive, charming, emotional, and courageous. They like to seek adventures and they prefer a carefree life. Those people can become outstanding bosses, explorers, racecar drivers, or matadors. A Horse or a Dog can be perfect matches for their marriages.