What is the Chinese Zodiac
In Chinese astrology vs western astrology, their 12 signs are each given a year rather than a month. Each of these signs is represented by an animal. The dragon is the only mythological creature in their company. According to a myth, the animals were assigned their spots based on the results of a race that a god had asked them to run. The twelve fastest were given a place in the zodiac. The rat, knowing he didn’t have a chance, climbed on the back of the ox, who was fast on land, strong through difficult terrain and a good swimmer. As they neared the finish line, the rat jumped off and became the first sign, with the rest following.
Those twelve signs are further differentiated by cycles related to the traditional Chinese elements (Wood, Metal, Fire, Earth, and Water) for a total of sixty combinations in total (for example, metal rat or fire pig).
The lunar Chinese New Year (CNY) calendar below shows which of 12 animals you are! Note: if you were born in January or February you need to check if your birthday was before or after the date of that Chinese New Year. (If it was before this day your animal is the one shown for the previous year).
“What I love about Chinese Astrology is that it’s not necessarily about the predictions, but the energy flow that guides us where we need to be.” –Psychic Arthur
Chinese Zodiac Characteristics
1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032, 2044
Although rats don’t have the best of reputations in the west (and even some Chinese sayings related to it aren’t the most flattering), the rat is the head of the Chinese zodiac. However, rats have been recognized as an animal with spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility, and vitality.
People born under the rat sign are usually quite clever. They have the quick reflexes of their representative animal and are also quick-witted, intelligent, charming, sharp, persuasive, and fun. They have an innate ability to accumulate wealth and often make efforts to be materially successful. But they need to watch that materialistic streak so that it doesn’t become their only motivation. As can be expected they have excellent taste. Rats can sometimes be timid, but once that hurdle is overcome, they generally get along well with others and are good friends. They excel especially at networking to get ahead in their career or finances.
Best Match: Dragon, Monkey, Ox
Avoid: Sheep, Horse, Rabbit, Rooster
1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033, 2045
The Ox is the second animal of the Chinese Zodiac. In ancient China, the Ox was sometimes used as a metaphor to indicate something large in either size or number. While they are generally known for being steady creatures, quarrelsome people also were compared to an ox or said to have an ‘oxen temper’. Those born under this sign have a reputation for being a hardworking, a goal-oriented leader, both patient and stubborn, but kind and honest. They are patient and diligent people, preferring to take a straightforward approach whenever possible. Keeping things simple makes them happy.
People born in this year are hard-working but have an obstinate streak that can make them poor communicators. They have leadership potential, especially when it comes to their career, but they may not discover their abilities because of communication issues. Ox people need to be on guard against being manipulated by flattery. Not surprisingly, their issues with communication make them tend to be a little introverted and feel insecure, but they love their family and friends. Their sincere streak often helps them to be excellent spouses. Their children’s education is very important to them. Generally speaking, they are seen as having a high possibility for happiness in their later years.
Best Match: Rat, Snake, Rooster
Avoid: Dragon, Horse, Sheep, Dog, Rabbit
1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034, 2046
The regal tiger has been a symbol of power in China for centuries, often linked to emperors and other important officials. It was a saying that ‘accompanying the emperor is just like being at the side of a tiger’. Their power was respected, but it also had some connotations of cruelty and terror, as well bravery and decisiveness. Feelings about their capacity for both made their way into myths and legends about hunting tigers as a metaphor for dealing with struggling against evil. Those born in the year of the Tiger are brave, authoritative, emotional, courageous, and intense. They take control of situations and, like a tiger, they can pounce at a moment’s notice.
There’s a certain measure of respect that gets accorded to those born in the year of the tiger. People admire their boldness, virtuousness, faithfulness, and intelligence. There’s a chance for a rough patch around their middle age, but it isn’t permanent. Tiger people need to watch to make sure that they aren’t putting themselves before other people.
Best Match: Horse, Dog
Avoid: Snake, Monkey
1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2036, 2047
Tender and lovely, the rabbit has represented hope to the Chinese people for a long time. In one Chinese legend, the moon goddess Chang’e had a rabbit as her pet. Because of this, people began to see rabbits as a perfect match to nobility and beauty. The Chinese character ‘Tu’ (rabbit) is part of ‘Yi’ (escape or leisure) indicating speed and distance. Newborns are sometimes given paintings of children and rabbits in the hopes for a peaceful and happy life.
People born under the sign of the rabbit are gentle, sensitive, compassionate, sincere, modest, merciful, and have strong memory. They have a terrific sense of humor, enjoying light-hearted communication, going out of their way to avoid conflict. Rabbits are happy home bodies who enjoy entertaining and being surrounded by family and friends. They don’t do well with monotony or dullness, so they sometimes go out of their way to create romantic situations or an otherwise interesting change of pace. Rabbits are not the greatest at sitting still. They need to use caution and slow down when it comes to making decisions about money, especially investments. Their quick nature might have them jumping into invest in enterprises that are best left alone.
Best Match: Sheep, Dog, Pig
Avoid: Rat, Ox, Dragon, Rooster, Horse
1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036, 2048
The only purely mythological animal in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon has quite the reputation in Chinese culture. It a symbol of authority, dignity, honor, success, luck, and capacity. In ancient China, a dragon were both associated with rivers and the power of flight. They are intimately linked to imperial rule and authority. So many of the trappings of an emperor, from his throne to his clothes were embellished with images of dragons. The emperor himself would be referred to as a dragon in certain situations.
A powerful sign, individuals born under the Dragon are lively, energetic, fortunate, warm-hearted, charismatic, and fearless. They often are perfectionists. While they can come across as a bit impatient, overconfident, or even arrogant, dragons are born leaders and are seldom put off by obstacles or difficulties. If they focus on their positive traits, success will come to them.
Best Match: Rat, Monkey, Rooster
Avoid: Dog, Ox, Dragon, Rabbit
1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037, 2049
The snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese zodiac. There is a little overlap with the western perception of the snake which includes malevolence, mystery, and cattiness. But the snake is also linked to positive traits like the ability to make good decisions in a short amount of time, as well as metaphysical traits like divination and knowledge of herbs. In some places, people believe that a snake found in their court was a good sign. During the spring festival, snakes (along with rabbits) are included in a popular decoration for doors and windows featuring the ‘Fu’ character (denoting happiness), as a wish for wealth.
People born in the year of the Snake tend to be charming, gregarious, introverted, generous, seductive, and rely on their gut instincts. Snakes are hardworking, analytical, and good with money but can sometimes come across as insecure, jealous, or irritable at times. They are skilled communicators but need to watch how sharp they can come across sometimes. Snakes need to make sure their cutting words don’t cost them friendships or opportunities. Snakes like to keep their living spaces tidy. They are one of the signs who are seen as having a good chance at having a happy old age.
Best Match: Ox, Rooster
Avoid: Tiger, Monkey, Pig
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038, 2050
Horses loom large in Chinese lore. They are seen as constantly working towards self-improvement, and as such are seen in China as a reflection of the spirit of progress in the Chinese people themselves. In ancient China, accomplished people were referred to as ‘QianliMa’ (a horse that covers a thousand li a day). Horses are viewed as energetic, bright, independent, warm-hearted, intelligent, and able.
People born in the year of the horse gregarious and communicative folks who love being in the limelight. They are active, clever, kind to others, and like the challenge of a venture career. Where romance is concerned, they’re great at seduction and love intimacy.
Horses tend to have an impatient streak. They love to roam and do not like being fenced in. Travel comes naturally to them. They need to make sure they don’t get caught up in superficial appearances and put the effort into to look deeper. Failure can cause them to become pessimistic, so they need to take the time to understand any lessons they can take away from it in order to not take things to strongly to heart.
Best Match: Tiger, Sheep, Dog
Avoid: Rat, Ox, Rabbit, Horse
1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039, 2051
The eighth sign of the Chinese zodiac is the sheep, but you may also see this sign referred to as the Ram or Goat. The sheep is a valued and well-loved animal in Chinese culture. It is a gentle and calm creature, whose fleece and pelt have been used for both warmth and artistry. A rare and precious variety of white jade is named after sheep (sheep suet jade).
People born under the sign of the sheep are deep-thinkers, tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty and can be quite creative. They may also find comfort in faith and religion, having a special fondness for quiet living. Sheep people like to keep things low key whenever possible, and approach situations with caution and quiet dignity. They try to be economical in their day to day lives. Disruptions can have those born in the year of the sheep feeling scattered, neurotic, and insecure. Lots of love, support and understanding from family and friends will help keep their anxiety in check. People born in this year are willing to take good care of others but should make sure their nervousness doesn’t keep them hesitating or lead them towards pessimism.
Best Match: Rabbit, Horse, Pig
Avoid: Rat, Ox, Dog
1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040, 2052
The monkey has a reputation for cleverness and was associated with smart people in ancient China. During a portion Chinese history (the Spring and Autumn Period, 770 BC to 476 BC), the official title for a type of marquis (‘Hou’) was pronounced similarly to the word for monkey. Some of the shine from the title rubbed off on the monkey, and it took on an auspicious meaning. Images of monkeys were common on pictures pasted on the walls and doors to bring good luck to officials or official business.
Those born in the year of the Monkey enjoy having fun! They are lively, flexible, and versatile, especially loving all sorts of movement, including sports. They’re energetic, upbeat, good listeners, and creative. Monkeys are out of the box thinkers and surprise co-workers with their ingenuity. But monkeys may have issues with self-control and can sometimes be a bit self-centered. They do have a giving side though, and often do put their issues aside if it means they can help others. Good luck trying to talk over a monkey in a conversation. They refuse to rope themselves in and will not stop until they are sure they have been completely heard out. They have challenges when it comes to long-term relationships and can be heart breakers. If they can manage their impatience and out-spoken tendencies, they can go very far in life.
Best Match: Rat, Dragon
Avoid: Tiger, Snake, Pig
1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041, 2053
In the time before alarm clocks, the rooster’s crowing was a literal wake up call to get people up and started to work. Unsurprisingly, they became linked with punctuality. Their cry was also thought to banish evil spirits.
Those born in the year of the rooster are practical, resourceful, analytical, straightforward, trusting, faithful, honest, neat, independent, hardworking, honest, bright, communicative, ambitious, and warm-hearted. They often are enthusiastic starters but need to watch that they don’t lose interest and fizzle out. Roosters have a lone wolf streak and would rather put their faith in their own abilities than lean on others. That self-reliance can manifest itself as perfectionism. However, if they aren’t careful they can become arrogant, which will impair their prospects. Blessed with good looks from a young age, roosters might have several big romances in their lives, treating each one seriously.
Best Match: Ox, Dragon, Snake
Avoid: Rooster, Dog, Rabbit
1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042, 2054
The dog’s reputation for friendliness extends to both hemispheres. Dogs are known to be loyal companions, no matter what station in life their humans hold. They are regarded as auspicious animals in Chinese lore and myth. A wolf-dog mix was the companion of the god Erlang when he went monster hunting. The invincible god wasn’t the only immortal with a dog companion either.
In ancient China, it was lucky if a dog visited a home. Often, the dog would be welcomed and adopted into the home in the hopes it would bring good fortune. While all dogs were prized, poodles, especially black ones, were thought to bring the most luck to the home.
Those born in the year of the dog are straight shooters. In both their career and love life, they are faithful, courageous, dexterous, smart, and warm-hearted. However, they sometimes develop a habit of telling little white lies more often than they should and prone to mood swings. Their appealing and charming nature might hide a tendency for flightiness. But it is possible for them to achieve more stability through diligence, which will bring good fortune, especially when it comes to succeeding in business.
Best Match: Tiger Rabbit, Horse
Avoid: Ox, Dragon, Sheep, Rooster
1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2020, 2031, 2043
Pigs have a reputation of being easy going animals who want nothing more than to grow chubby while spending their lives eating and sleeping. Laziness and clumsiness are often associated with them too. On the other hand, it was seen as a harmless and well-behaved animal in ancient China, with the ability to bring affluence to a home. Over time, having a pig was seen as a sign of wealth.
People born in the year of the pig are loving, tolerant, honest, frank, intelligent, and appreciative of luxury. While they’re honest and frank, they’re also beg hearted people who enjoy helping others. They have a calm surface demeanor and are good companions but will not pull any punches if you upset them. Their tendencies towards perfectionism can make them impatient. Their plain-speaking ways might put some people off and make others think they are unsociable. This isn’t true, if anything they need to cultivate more independence. Luckily, their tolerant and optimistic nature keeps them from being put off easily. Once you become friends with someone born in the year of the pig, you’ll easily see their good points, which includes being a loyal and steadfast friend.
Best Match: Sheep, Rabbit
Avoid: Snake, Pig, Monkey
What Does Your Astrological Chart Say?
You've probably recognized yourself in these descriptions. Now it's time to apply this wisdom to your life -- the situations you're facing, the decisions you need to make, and the possibilities yet to be revealed. An astrologer can guide you through all this and more. To discover what this year holds, check out our Chinese New Year Zodiac Forecasts.