What is Chinese Zodiac?
The Chinese zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao or Shu Xiang, features 12 animal signs in this order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Originated from ancient zoolatry and boasting a history of more than 2,000 years, it plays an essential role in Chinese culture. The 12 Chinese zodiac animals in a cycle are not only used to represent years in China, but also believed to influence people’s personalities, career, compatibility, marriage, and fortune.
What's your zodiac animal? – 12 Zodiac Animal SignsPeople’s birth years determine their Chinese zodiac signs. However, things are not that easy! There is an animal representing each year, but the “year” is defined by Chinese lunar calendar, not the Gregorian year you are familiar with from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st.
The dates of Chinese Lunar New Year vary every year, but will fall on a day in January or February. If you were born on a day during March to December, it won’t be difficult to figure out your zodiac animal sign, but for people with birthdays in January or February, there are bigger chances of mistaking their signs.
You can use our zodiac calculator to search for your animal sign. Select your Gregorian date of birth in the widget, and it will reveal your date of birth according to the lunar calendar, together with your sign.
The 12 zodiac animals are shown below in order, with recent years for you to directly find out your own birth year and animal sign.
|Zodiac Animal||Chinese Name||Recent Years|
|Rat||鼠 (shǔ)||1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032|
|Ox||牛 (niú)||1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033|
|Tiger||虎 (hǔ)||1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034|
|Rabbit||兔 (tù)||1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035|
|Dragon||龙 (lóng)||1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036|
|Snake||蛇 (shé)||1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037|
|Horse||马 (mǎ)||1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038|
|Sheep||羊 (yáng)||1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039|
|Monkey||猴 (hóu)||1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040|
|Rooster||鸡 (jī)||1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041|
|Dog||狗 (gǒu)||1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042|
|Pig||猪 (zhū)||1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043|
Origin of Chinese ZodiacThe records from the excavated ancient bamboo books have proved the existance of Chinese zodiac before the Qin Dyansty (221 – 207BC), and the complete 12 animals’ cycle had been set before or during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 – 220AD). What’s the origin of this mysterious theory with more than 2,000 years’ history? There is actually no conclusion, but the various guesses and legends make it more intriguing.
Some people believe that the 12 Chinese zodiac animals are simplified from the 28 animals which represent 28 constellations in ancient Chinese astronomy, while some insist the zodiac’s relationship with Jupiter’s revolution period just about 12 years. The most popular is the totem saying of the origin related to animal worship.
There is an interesting legend about the origin of Chinese zodiac. The Jade Emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his palace guards. He prefered the Ox to be the first for its honesty and deligence, but out of everyone’s expectation, the smart Rat covertly hided on the Ox back and occupied the first place at the essential moment. The Tiger was crowned as the King of the Forest while the Dragon was titled the Lord of the Sea, and they ranked behind the Ox. The Rabbit won a race with the Dragon and gained No. 4. The Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, and Rooster followed. The Dog was punished to be the last one for biting the Rabbit in a pet. Actually the Dog was the 11th, because there is one being late for the interview – the Pig finally took the last place.
Science behind Chinese Zodiac
How do zodiac animals affect people’s personalities and lives?
The date and time of one’s birth are the keys. This is the same in both western and Chinese horoscope. The difference lies in the ways of marking the time of birth. The Chinese lunar canlendar is based on the combinition of 10 Heavenly Stems (Tian Gan) and 12 Earthly Branches (Di Zhi), two basic groups of terms of ancient Chinese astronomy and astrology, which work together in a fixed order to mark years, months, days, and hours. Hereunder are some interesting technical terms.
1. 12 Earthly Branches: 12 terms in one-to-one correspondence with 12 zodiac animals - Zi (Rat), Chou (Ox), Yin (Tiger), Mao (Rabbit), Chen (Dragon), Si (Snake), Wu (Horse), Wei (Sheep), Shen (Monkey), You (Rooster), Xu (Dog) and Hai (Pig).
2. 10 Heavenly Stems: Jia, Yi, Bing, Ding, Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin, Ren, Gui.
The 10 Heavenly Stems match the 12 Earthly Branches in a 60-pair cycle to mark years, months, and days, eg. July 1st 2020 in Gregorian calendar is the Yi Si Day of Ren Wu Month in Gen Zi Year of the Rat. See more about Heavenly Stems & Earthly Branches.
3. Yin Yang: Yin means feminine and negative, while Yang means masculine and positive. They are profound terms in ancient Chinese philosophy. Their simple connection with zodiac animals are: Yang applies to Rat, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Monkey, and Dog, while Yin goes to Ox, Rabbit, Snake, Sheep, Rooster, and Pig.
4. Five Elements: Ancient Chinese believed that all things in the world, including the zodiac animals, belonged to five categories – Metal (Monkey, Rooster), Wood (Tiger, Rabbit), Water (Rat, Pig), Fire (Snake, Horse), and Earth (Ox, Dragon, Sheep, Dog).
5. 12 Shi Chen: 12 two-hour periods form a day, with each called a Shi Chen and marked by one of the 12 Earthly Branches and its corresponding zodiac animal, eg. 23:00 – 00:59 is called Zi Hour and represented by the Rat.
The 12 animals connect to people’s birth dates and time, with interactions from the above five perspectives, affecting people’s personalities, compatibilities, and fortune in the future.
Chinese Zodiac Compatibility: Who’s Your Mr./Ms. Right?The compatibilities of the zodiac animals are mainly based on the Five Elements they belong to – Metal (Monkey, Rooster), Wood (Tiger, Rabbit), Water (Rat, Pig), Fire (Snake, Horse), and Earth (Ox, Dragon, Sheep, Dog).
The traditional Chinese astrology indicates that the Five Elements are in a balanced generating cycle: Fire burns things to ash and Earth; Earth bears Metal inside; Metal turns into liquid (Water) in high temperature; Water nourishes Wood; Wood feeds Fire. Therefore some zodiac animals with agreeable elements can perfectly support and promote each other when they stay together, while some would stay in peace and tacit agreement; however some restrict or even harm each other when they meet.
See the illustrations below, or use our testing tool to check the compatibility for you and your partner!
Top 3 Matches
- Rat + Ox 95%
- Perfect match!
- mutual loyalty & intimacy
- peaceful & harmonious marriage life
- Rabbit + Sheep 90%
- talents in common
- sympathetic opinions on art
- perfect especially for male Rabbit & female Sheep
- Snake + Rooster 90%
- mutual appreciation
- happy marriage
- natural agreement, with less conflict
|Zodiac Animal||Best Match||Better Avoid|
|Rat||Ox, Dragon, Monkey||Horse, Rooster|
|Ox||Rat, Snake, Rooster||Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Sheep|
|Tiger||Dragon, Horse, Pig||Ox, Tiger, Snake, Monkey|
|Rabbit||Sheep, Monkey, Dog, Pig||Snake, Rooster|
|Dragon||Rooster, Rat, Monkey||Ox, Sheep, Dog|
|Snake||Dragon, Rooster||Tiger, Rabbit, Snake, Sheep, Pig|
|Horse||Tiger, Sheep, Rabbit||Rat, Ox, Rooster, Horse|
|Sheep||Rabbit, Horse, Pig||Ox, Tiger, Dog|
|Monkey||Ox, Rabbit||Tiger, Pig|
|Rooster||Ox, Snake||Rat, Rabbit, Horse, Rooster, Dog|
|Dog||Rabbit, Tiger||Dragon, Sheep, Rooster|
|Pig||Tiger, Rabbit, Sheep||Snake, Monkey|
Outline of 12 Zodiac Animals: Personality, Compatibility, Fortune-TellingThe 12 animals have their own natural features and living habits, which directly reflect in the behaviors of people born in different years. The Heavenly Stems, Earthly Branches, Yin Yang, and Five Elements stated above also influence one’s character and destiny. Though in a same zodiac sign, the different blood types and Western astrology signs count for people’s different trails in life.
Click one of the following 12 tags, to reveal your own zodiac animal’s major personalitiy traits, compatibility, career, and fortune pridiction in 2020. If you want to know more about an animal’s lucky things, birth months’ and dates’ analysis, and life advice, please enter each zodiac sign’s special column to know more.
- Rat – 鼠 (shǔ)Where there are people, there are rats. The rats have strong adaptability and survival ability. For people born in the Year of the Rat, they are vigorous and able to adapt themselves to different circumstances. Being smart and hardworking, they set clear goals in career and life, and have an indomitable will to realize them step by step. The cautious Rat people pay attention to thrift and savings. They generally live a stable and well-off life, and even better after middle age. They are wonderful friends and partners, for the cheerful and easygoing personalities make them good at livening the vibe in parties or other social places. Sometimes impulsive, but their good self-control ability always pulls them back in time.
Strengths: adaptable, quick-witted, optimistic, considerate, versatile, outgoing
Weaknesses: timid, stubborn, picky, lack of persistence, self-centered
Love and Marriage Compatability of Rats:
Best Matches: Ox, Dragon, Monkey
Complementary Pairs: Rabbit, Dog, Pig
Bad Matches: Horse, Rooster
The best jobs for Rat people include artist, author, doctor, teacher, lecturer, boat engineer, architect, fashion designer, and photographer. The skilled or creative occupations are suitable for them, and they can perform well in service industry, charity, and finance field.
Rats’ Fortune in 2020:
In 2020, people born in the Year of the Rat have pretty good fortune in wealth and career. Their salary may increase and they might get promoted and pass their qualification exams and get the certificates. In the aspect of health, they might be bothered by some respiratory system disease and heart problem. As for love and relationship, the single Rats will start a relationship if they try hard to chase someone or seek help from the elders. They are advised not to drink too much and go to entertainments places.
Chinese Zodiac Culture & FolkloreChinese zodiac is actually an imaginary belief, basing on the zodiac animals' temperament, and combining the traditional Chinese religions, philosophy, astrology, and numerology. In ancient times, the zodiac was said not only to decide people’s destinies, but also to control a year’s harvest and even influence the fortune of the whole nation. Nowadays, the zodiac signs still accompany Chinese people throughout their lives, affecting their personalities, ideas, behaviors, fortune, and marriage compatibilities.
When coming up with the years of the same zodiac signs of one’s birth year, called Ben Ming Nian in Chinese, one would be unlucky and should pay great attention to restrain his or her own behaviors to tide over the difficulty every 12 years. In Taoism, each year has a certain god called Taisui in charge of the world. People meeting their Ben Ming Nian would go to temples to worship the year’s Taisu god to pray for good luck and avoid disasters. There is also a tradition of wearing in red to exorcise evil spirits.
The zodiac culture is also embodied in Chinese literature and art. You might have been impressed by the Journey to the West, a classical Chinese novel with the leading role of Monkey King; or you might have heard the story of the 12 bronze animal heads of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. There are a lot of legends, poems, fictions, paintings, sculptures, and traditional Chinese paper-cuttings themed on zodiac animals. Nowadays, the zodiac is considered the mascot of the Chinese New Year, adding entertainments to people’s daily life.
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- Last modified on Jul. 28, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on Chinese Zodiac
Asked by Lai from VIETNAM | Jul. 29, 2020 15:00Reply
Will health be better ?
I’m lady dragon born 9/6/1940 got brain tumor / need surgery this year during pandemic - afraid tell my kids in headache pain .. will I recover soon ?
Asked by Ap from USA | Jul. 29, 2020 10:36Reply
I am a wood pig 08-14-1995 my lover was born on 03-04-1996 we love each other deeply but we are currently separated. Will we be together? Are we a good match?