Western horoscopes are very popular, but various cultures have their own astrological signs based on their particular beliefs. The zodiac signs known throughout the western world are only way to understand astrology. The Chinese Zodiac is known as the Sheng Xiao. It’s based on the Chinese lunar calendar and consists of twelve animal zodiac signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
The Chinese zodiac was pioneered by the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD). This was the time in which the animals signs and their relationship to humans really began. The number 12 was significant during the development of the Chinese zodiac, as one ji equaled 12 years, each year has 12 months and every day has 12 shi chen (time periods).
12 Animal Zodiac Signs
It is said that every year of a certain animal contains many of the same traits as people who carry that symbol. People born in different years have a different animal, and certain animal signs are more compatible with others. In the Chinese zodiac system, animal signs that are six years apart are considered incompatible, which signs that are four years apart are considered compatible. Below is a list of the animal signs, some of their characteristics, and the years they correspond to.
- Rat: People who are born in the year of the rat tend to be wealthy, smart, and hard-working. Those born in the year of the rat can be greedy, and consider it a positive trait at Usually they don’t focus, and they can be shy. 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
- Ox: People born in the year of the ox are honest and value Because they can be conservative, they can be set in their ways and resistant to change. 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
- Tiger: Loves challenges and values self-expression, but can be overconfident and can have a short 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
- Rabbit: Seeks tranquility and is very affectionate. Appears soft, but can be stubborn. They might lose chances because of their timid personalities. 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
- Dragon: Complex and passionate. Dragons can be impatient and intolerant, and sometimes they have a hard time controlling their moods. 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
- Snake: Wise and has a strong will, but they can be fickle and tactless. 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
- Horse: Popular and enjoys the company of others. Still, people born in the year of the horse can sometimes get over-excited about projects, and fail to finish them. 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
- Sheep: Can be very private, but also quite stylish. They sometimes fish for compliments and can be indecisive.1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
- Monkey: Attempts to excel in everything. At times, they can be selfish and cunning. 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
- Rooster: A pioneer who continuously seeks the truth. They tend to lecture others, but don’t always accept constructive criticism. 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
- Dog: Works well with others and is very loyal. They can be distant in social situations, and can be extremely blunt, even if it might hurt the feelings of other people. 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
- Pig: Noble and has loyal friends. They can be gullible and impulsive. 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
60 Year Cycles
The Chinese zodiac system runs in 60 year cycles in accordance to the Chinese calendar. The Chinese calendar is consulted whenever there is a New Year, to check moon phases, and for other special events. This 60 year cycle is referred to as a stem-branch, and the names of a new year consists of two parts. The yin and yang elements (earth, fire, water, metal, and wood) are important parts of a new year, and these elements are part of a celestial branch. The animal signs are part of the terrestrial branch. The celestial element is a part of each new year for a 12 year cycle. For example, the new year could be the year of the Rat, with the element of Wood, and so on, until a new 12 year cycle begins.
Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, Chinese New Year begins a few weeks after January 1. Thus, the designated animal changes at that time, and not on January 1st.