February 24, 2024
Ask Astrology

The three best-known forms of astrology are Tropical (Western), Sidereal (Eastern), and Chinese. Tropical and Sidereal astrology interprets and divides them in the same way (12 Houses), but defines a year differently. Tropical astrology fixes 0 degrees of Aries to the vernal equinox, which happens around the same dates (19th to 22nd) of March every year. Sidereal astrology defines the year based on the precession of fixed stars, which move backward one degree every 72 years.

As a result, someone born in the middle of April using Tropical astrology would be an Aries year in and year out. But a person born in the middle of April using Sidereal astrology would have a Pisces Sun sign instead of an Aries Sun sign.

Like Tropical and Sidereal astrology, Chinese astrology has twelve representatives, but they are not Zodiac signs, like Aries, Taurus, and so on. Instead, the twelve representatives (or Zodiac signs) are animals, and they are:

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  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

The Chinese Zodiac also differs from the Tropical and Sidereal systems by using five elements instead of four. The five elements are fire, water, wood, earth, and metal.

Additionally, the cycle runs over the course of 12 years, not 12 months, so everyone born in a certain year will be an element and animal. And, the Chinese New Year does not begin on January 1st. Rather, the New Year is determined by a lunisolar calendar, which uses a special calculation to determine the actual date each year, which differs from year-to-year.

If you happen to be born after January 1st, but before February 15th, then you need to know the exact date of the Chinese New Year; otherwise, you might get your Chinese Zodiac wrong if you simply go by the year to determine which animal you happen to be. In the case of 2020, which is the year of the Earth Ox, it begins on January 25th, 2020 and ends on February 11th, 2021.

Therefore, if you were born in 2020 and you looked up your Chinese Zodiac on a site that did not make this information clear, and you happened to be born on January 4th, 2020, you would mistakenly claim you were an Earth Ox, when, in fact, you would be an Earth Pig!

Chinese horoscope

Like other systems, the Chinese horoscope is based on the Gregorian calendar.

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The Ancient Legend of Chinese Zodiac Creation

Legends say: The Jade Emperor (known as The Emperor in Heaven in Chinese folklore) ordered animals to be designated as calendar signs. The Emperor said that the 12 animals that arrive first the following day will be designated as the Chinese Zodiac signs. And the first one to arrive among the twelve will be assigned the 1st Sign.

The Rat and the Cat heard about the news first and decided to go together to the meeting place. However, the next day the Rat forgot about its friend and ran alone to the Emperor’s palace.

On the way there, the Rat realized that other animals ran faster. So, the Rat made a deal with the Ox, saying that it would sing to him if he carried her on his back. The Ox reached the palace before the other animals, and the Rat slid off his back and ran ahead of the Ox, becoming the first animal of the Chinese Zodiac.

The Ox was second, then the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The Rat’s friend, the Cat, missed the selection of the animals because it arrived at the palace too late, and that is why Cats and Rats have been enemies since ancient times.

The Chinese Zodiac Yin and Yang Theory

The fixed order of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac was decided based on the Chinese attributes of Yin and Yang. Yin is the receptive, feminine force of the universe, and Yang is the penetrating, masculine force. In order to know the yin or the yang of an animal, one must count the number of toes, claws, or hoofs.

The animals with even numbers have Yin energy and the animals with odd numbers have Yang energy. The Rat is unique because it is the only animal that has a different number of toes on its front and hind legs, making it a Yin and Yang animal. For this reason, the Rat takes first place in the Chinese Zodiac.

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Besides the Yin-Yang attributes of the animals, the ancient Chinese believed that Yin and Yang’s energy need each other for balance, which means some animals (or signs) work better together than others. For the animal signs to coexist in harmony, strong yang attributes must be balanced by yin attributes.

As such, Rat’s wisdom is balanced by the diligence of Ox, Tiger’s valor by Rabbit’s prudence, Dragon’s strength by Snake’s flexibility, Horse’s persistence by Goat’s unity, Monkey’s changeability by Rooster’s constancy, and Dog’s fidelity by Pig’s amiability.

The Chinese Zodiac Hours

Besides associating each year of the twelve-year cycle with a Chinese Zodiac animal, traditional Chinese culture arranged the same animals to correspond to the hours of the day. The ancient Chinese divided the 24-hour day into twelve two-hour periods, also known as the 12 Shichen or earthly branches, and designated an animal for every period.

As a result, a person’s character traits and his or her destiny is influenced by not just their birth year, but their birth hour as well.

In the Chinese Zodiac daily hours’ earthly branch system, the animals appear in the same order as in the twelve-year cycle: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Rat’s hours are between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., with the rest of the animals taking the following two-hour periods in the above-mentioned order.

Your Animal Sign in the Chinese Zodiac

To find out your animal sign in the eastern zodiac, you can use a Chinese Zodiac table. Calculation of the years based on the Chinese lunar calendar decides that a person will meet his birth sign once in every twelve-year cycle.

For example, people born in 1981, after February 5th, and until January 24th, 1982, are Roosters, and they met or will meet their animal sign in 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, and so on.

The Chinese Zodiac Year of Birth – Ben Ming Nian

The animal year of the person’s birth in the Chinese calendar is called Ben Ming Nian or the “Zodiac Year of Birth”. The year 2018 (February 16th to February 4th 2019) is the year of the Earth Dog.

Chinese Zodiac prediction teaches that one’s year of birth is an important time, and it is important to give relevant gifts to the people in their Ben Ming Nian to help them improve their fortune.

In order to reduce the unlucky impact of the year, the ancients advise wearing red socks, waist belts, or underwear given by elders; the red color brings good luck and wards off evil spirits.

Also, you can purchase a token with Pi Xiu, a mythical wild animal from Chinese traditions that are said to drive away evil spirits. And, you should place flowers or ornaments in the sign’s lucky directions.

Since the Chinese believe their year of birth to be unlucky, there are several important things that should be avoided in the year, such as marriage or engagement, starting a business, making investments, and changing jobs. Staying away from negative places, things, and people is also advised during one’s Ben Ming Nian.

Below you can find the years and personality characteristics corresponding to every animal sign. Remember, if you happen to be born between January 1st and February 15th, you should look up the exact date for the start of the Chinese New Year.

12 Chinese Zodiac Signs: Meanings and Characteristics

 

Rat chinese zodiac
Rat 

Rat is the first Chinese Zodiac representative. People born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, and 2020 are rats. Rats are known for their wisdom; they are also quick-witted, energetic, ambitious, practical, and charming. Their weaknesses include stubbornness, greed, timidity, and a love of gossip.

Ox Chinese sign
Ox 

Ox is the second Chinese Zodiac representative. If you were born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, or 2009, then you are an Ox. Ox individuals are diligent, creative, hard-working, ambitious, honest, and patient. Nevertheless, they can be stubborn, indifferent, slow, narrow-minded, and poor at communication.

Tiger Chinese zodiac
Tiger 

Tiger is the third Chinese Zodiac representative. If you were born in 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, and 2010, then you are a Tiger. The Tiger is brave and fierce. People who belong to this sign of the Chinese Zodiac are courageous, charismatic, competitive, intense, and lucky. Some of their weaknesses include irritability, overindulgence, and a desire to boast to other people.

Rabbit chinese zodiac
Rabbit 

Rabbit is the fourth Chinese Zodiac representative. Rabbits are symbols of longevity and good luck. Individuals born in 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011 are Rabbits. Their strengths include intelligence, caution, gentleness, friendliness, and kindness. On the negative side, they may be nervous, superficial, and melancholy.

Dragon Chinese zodiac
Dragon 

Dragon is the fifth Chinese Zodiac representative. If you were born in 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012, you are a Dragon. Dragon represents good fortune and authority. Dragon people are successful, brave, kind-hearted, powerful, and courageous. However, they might be also tactless, conceited, over-confident, and quick-tempered.

Snake Chinese zodiac
Snake 

Snake is the sixth Chinese Zodiac representative. People born in 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, and 2013 are snakes. Snakes are flexible, patient, and sensitive. They are also discreet, wise, sympathetic, and mesmerizing. On the negative side, they may be greedy, lazy, and arrogant.

Horse Chinese zodiac
Horse 

Horse is the seventh Chinese Zodiac representative. Horses are known for their persistence. If you were born in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, and 2014, you are a Horse. These individuals are easy-going, upstanding, and warm-hearted. Some of their weaknesses include: lack of persistence and love of spending money.

Goat Chinese zodiac
Goat 

Goat is the eighth Chinese Zodiac representative. Individuals born in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, and 2015 are Goats. Goats stand for harmony and solidarity. People born in the year of Goat are shy, determined, imaginative, and polite. However, they may be also unrealistic, short-sighted, and pessimistic.

Monkey Chinese zodiac
Monkey 

Monkey is the ninth Chinese Zodiac representative. Monkeys are flexible. Those born in 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, and 2016 are Monkeys. These individuals are energetic, confident, charismatic, intelligent, inventive, and loyal. Negatively, they may be arrogant, egotistical, snobbish, and restless.

Rooster Chinese zodiac
Rooster

Rooster is the tenth Chinese Zodiac representative. People born in 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and 2017 are Roosters. Roosters are punctual and loyal. They are independent, hard-working, honest, courageous, and self-confident. Some of their weaknesses include arrogance, vanity, and pride.

Dog Chinese zodiac
Dog

Dog is the eleventh Chinese Zodiac representative. If you were born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018, then you are a Dog. The Dog symbolizes honesty and loyalty. Individuals born in these years are friendly, honest, loyal, straightforward, smart, and responsible. On the negative side, they may be defensive, stubborn, self-righteous, and critical of others.

Pig Chinese zodiac
Pig

Pig is the twelfth Chinese Zodiac representative. Pigs represent wealth and good fortune. Individuals born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, and 2019 are Pigs. They are honest, fun, happy, educated, brave, and sincere. Some of their weaknesses include being gluttonous, naive, self-indulgent, and lazy.

Chinese Zodiac Years

The years of the Chinese zodiac follow a lunar calendar. The lunar calendar has only twenty-eight days, which explains why, each year, the Chinese New Year falls on a different day.

Beginning End Beginning End Sign
1900 Jan. 31 1901 Feb. 18 1960 Jan. 28 1961 Feb. 14 鼠 rat
1901 Feb. 19 1902 Feb. 07 1961 Feb. 15 1962 Feb. 04 牛 ox
1902 Feb. 08 1903 Jan. 28 1962 Feb. 05 1963 Jan. 24 虎 tiger
1903 Jan. 29 1904 Feb. 15 1963 Jan. 25 1964 Feb. 12 兔 rabbit
1904 Feb. 16 1905 Feb. 03 1964 Feb. 13 1965 Feb. 01 龍 dragon
1905 Feb. 04 1906 Jan. 24 1965 Feb. 02 1966 Jan. 20 蛇 snake
1906 Jan. 25 1907 Feb. 12 1966 Jan. 21 1967 Feb. 08 馬 horse
1907 Feb. 13 1908 Feb. 01 1967 Feb. 09 1968 Jan. 29 羊 goat
1908 Feb. 02 1909 Jan. 21 1968 Jan. 30 1969 Feb. 16 猴 monkey
1909 Jan. 22 1910 Feb. 09 1969 Feb. 17 1970 Feb. 05 鷄 rooster
1910 Feb. 10 1911 Jan. 29 1970 Feb. 06 1971 Jan. 26 狗 dog
1911 Jan. 30 1912 Feb. 17 1971 Jan. 27 1972 Feb. 14 猪 pig
1912 Feb. 18 1913 Feb. 05 1972 Feb. 15 1973 Feb. 02 鼠 rat
1913 Feb. 06 1914 Jan. 25 1973 Feb. 03 1974 Jan. 22 牛 ox
1914 Jan. 26 1915 Feb. 13 1974 Jan. 23 1975 Feb. 10 虎 tiger
1915 Feb. 14 1916 Feb. 02 1975 Feb. 11 1976 Jan. 30 兔 rabbit
1916 Feb. 03 1917 Jan. 22 1976 Jan. 31 1977 Feb. 17 龍 dragon
1917 Jan. 23 1918 Feb. 10 1977 Feb. 18 1978 Feb. 06 蛇 snake
1918 Feb. 11 1919 Jan. 31 1978 Feb. 07 1979 Jan. 27 馬 horse
1919 Feb. 01 1920 Feb. 19 1979 Jan. 28 1980 Feb. 15 羊 goat
1920 Feb. 20 1921 Feb. 07 1980 Feb. 16 1981 Feb. 04 猴 monkey
1921 Feb. 08 1922 Jan. 27 1981 Feb. 05 1982 Jan. 24 鷄 rooster
1922 Jan. 28 1923 Feb. 15 1982 Jan. 25 1983 Feb. 12 狗 dog
1923 Feb. 16 1924 Feb. 04 1983 Feb. 13 1984 Feb. 01 猪 pig
1924 Feb. 05 1925 Jan. 24 1984 Feb. 02 1985 Feb. 19 鼠 rat
1925 Jan. 25 1926 Feb. 12 1985 Feb. 20 1986 Feb. 08 牛 ox
1926 Feb. 13 1927 Feb. 01 1986 Feb. 09 1987 Jan. 28 虎 tiger
1927 Feb. 02 1928 Jan. 22 1987 Jan. 29 1988 Feb. 16 兔 rabbit
1928 Jan. 23 1929 Feb. 09 1988 Feb. 17 1989 Feb. 05 龍 dragon
1929 Feb. 10 1930 Jan. 29 1989 Feb. 06 1990 Jan. 26 蛇 snake
1930 Jan. 30 1931 Feb. 16 1990 Jan. 27 1991 Feb. 14 馬 horse
1931 Feb. 17 1932 Feb. 05 1991 Feb. 15 1992 Feb. 03 羊 goat
1932 Feb. 06 1933 Jan. 25 1992 Feb. 04 1993 Jan. 22 猴 monkey
1933 Jan. 26 1934 Feb. 13 1993 Jan. 23 1994 Feb. 09 鷄 rooster
1934 Feb. 14 1935 Feb. 03 1994 Feb. 10 1995 Jan. 30 狗 dog
1935 Feb. 04 1936 Jan. 23 1995 Jan. 31 1996 Feb. 18 猪 pig
1936 Jan. 24 1937 Feb. 10 1996 Feb. 19 1997 Feb. 06 鼠 rat
1937 Feb. 11 1938 Jan. 30 1997 Feb. 07 1998 Jan. 27 牛 ox
1938 Jan. 31 1939 Feb. 18 1998 Jan. 28 1999 Feb. 15 虎 tiger
1939 Feb. 19 1940 Feb. 07 1999 Feb. 16 2000 Feb. 04 兔 rabbit
1940 Feb. 08 1941 Jan. 26 2000 Feb. 05 2001 Jan. 23 龍 dragon
1941 Jan. 27 1942 Feb. 14 2001 Jan. 24 2002 Feb. 11 蛇 snake
1942 Feb. 15 1943 Feb. 04 2002 Feb. 12 2003 Jan. 31 馬 horse
1943 Feb. 05 1944 Jan. 24 2003 Feb. 01 2004 Jan. 21 羊 goat
1944 Jan. 25 1945 Feb. 12 2004 Jan. 22 2005 Feb. 8 猴 monkey
1945 Feb. 13 1946 Feb. 01 2005 Feb. 9 2006 Jan. 28 鷄 rooster
1946 Feb. 02 1947 Jan. 21 2006 Jan. 29 2007 Feb. 17 狗 dog
1947 Jan. 22 1948 Feb. 09 2007 Feb. 18 2008 Feb. 6 猪 pig
1948 Feb. 10 1949 Jan. 28 2008 Feb. 7 2009 Jan. 25 鼠 rat
1949 Jan. 29 1950 Feb. 16 2009 Jan. 26 2010 Feb. 23 牛 ox
1950 Feb. 17 1951 Feb. 05 2010 Feb. 24 2011 Feb. 2 虎 tiger
1951 Feb. 06 1952 Jan. 26 2011 Feb. 3 2012 Jan. 22 兔 rabbit
1952 Jan. 27 1953 Feb. 13 2012 Jan. 23 2013 Feb. 9 龍 dragon
1953 Feb. 14 1954 Feb. 02 2013 Feb. 10 2014 Jan. 30 蛇 snake
1954 Feb. 03 1955 Jan. 23 2014 Jan. 31 2015 Feb. 18 馬 horse
1955 Jan. 24 1956 Feb. 11 2015 Feb. 19 2016 Feb. 7 羊 goat
1956 Feb. 12 1957 Jan. 30 2016 Feb. 8 2017 Jan. 27 猴 monkey
1957 Jan. 31 1958 Feb. 17 2017 Jan. 28 2018 Feb. 15 鷄 rooster
1958 Feb. 18 1959 Feb. 07 2018 Feb. 16 2019 Feb. 4 狗 dog
1959 Feb. 08 1960 Jan. 27 2019 Feb. 5 2020 Jan. 24 猪 pig