Guide to the Chinese Zodiac

Guide to the Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese horoscope is a system deeply rooted in Chinese culture and astrology, based on a twelve-year cycle where each year is associated with an animal sign. Each sign is believed to impart specific personality traits, characteristics, and influences on the individuals born in that year.

Origins and Philosophy

There are many versions of how the Chinese Zodiac came to be. Some say that the Jade Emperor called a race of animals on his birthday to create the Chinese Zodiac. Others say that it was in fact, the Buddha who did. Nevertheless, both stories have the same story arc, resulting in the creation of a temporal framework that provides a compass for people to understand themselves and their potential.

According to myths, the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac were selected through a race. This race was meant to create a measurement of time for the people. There could only be twelve winners, and in order to win, the animals had to cross a rapid current river and reach the finish line on the shore.

The order of the lunar calendar follows the outcome of the race, where the Rat is the first animal to start the cycle, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig (in the Vietnamese tradition, the Ox is replaced by the Buffalo, and the Rabbit is a Cat due to slight variations in the original tale). After the Pig, the cycle starts over again. Each Lunar New Year is a time to honor a new Zodiac animal, which governs the year of changes ahead, and with it, patterns of luck and possibility.

The Twelve Animal Signs

Each animal sign is associated with particular qualities and attributes, often reflecting the perceived traits of the animal itself:

1. Rat (鼠 - Shǔ)

Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032...

Traits: Quick-witted, resourceful, adaptable, and intelligent. Rats are natural problem solvers with a keen sense of observation.

Symbolism: Associated with wealth and surplus, known for their cunning nature and ability to navigate challenges.

2. Ox (牛 - Niú) / Buffalo 

Years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033...

Traits: Diligent, dependable, strong-willed, and patient. Oxen are known for their resilience and hardworking nature.

Symbolism: Symbolizes hard work, honesty, and perseverance. Often seen as a symbol of prosperity through hard labor.

3. Tiger (虎 - Hǔ)

Years: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034...

Traits: Brave, confident, competitive, and independent. Tigers are natural leaders with strong personalities.

Symbolism: Symbolizes courage and power. Tigers are revered for their strength and are seen as guardians against evil spirits.

4. Rabbit (兔 - Tù) / Cat

Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035...

Traits: Gentle, kind-hearted, intuitive, and diplomatic. Rabbits are sensitive and value peace and harmony.

Symbolism: Associated with longevity, fertility, and good fortune. Rabbits symbolize elegance and grace.

5. Dragon (龙 - Lóng)

Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036...

Traits: Charismatic, ambitious, powerful, and confident. Dragons are natural leaders with magnetic personalities.

Symbolism: Symbolizes strength, success, and good luck. Dragons are revered as symbols of imperial power and wisdom.

6. Snake (蛇 - Shé)

Years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037...

Traits: Wise, intuitive, mysterious, and determined. Snakes are known for their deep thoughts and strategic approach.

Symbolism: Symbolizes transformation, renewal, and wisdom. Snakes are associated with healing and spiritual growth.

7. Horse (马 - Mǎ)

Years: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038...

Traits: Energetic, adventurous, independent, and free-spirited. Horses are known for their enthusiasm and love for travel.

Symbolism: Symbolizes freedom, speed, and perseverance. Horses are seen as symbols of success and progress.

8. Goat (羊 - Yáng)

Years: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039...

Traits: Calm, creative, compassionate, and gentle. Goats value harmony and are often artistic and caring.

Symbolism: Symbolizes kindness, harmony, and peace. Goats are associated with good fortune and prosperity.

9. Monkey (猴 - Hóu)

Years: 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040...

Traits: Clever, witty, innovative, and playful. Monkeys are highly intelligent and resourceful creatures.

Symbolism: Symbolizes intelligence, versatility, and adaptability. Monkeys are seen as symbols of mischief and agility.

10. Rooster (鸡 - Jī)

Years: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041...

Traits: Honest, observant, hardworking, and confident. Roosters are known for their punctuality and reliability.

Symbolism: Symbolizes fidelity, punctuality, and bravery. Roosters are associated with protection and prosperity.

11. Dog (狗 - Gǒu)

Years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042...

Traits: Loyal, faithful, protective, and sincere. Dogs are known for their devotion and sense of justice.

Symbolism: Symbolizes loyalty, honesty, and reliability. Dogs are revered for their loyalty and strong moral compass.

12. Pig (猪 - Zhū)

Years: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043...

Traits: Diligent, generous, sincere, and peace-loving. Pigs are kind-hearted individuals who value friendships.

Symbolism: Symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and sincerity. Pigs are associated with good fortune and honesty.

    (2024 horoscopes adapted from Bo & Mei takes no warranty of the accuracy of the Zodiac interpretation and will not be responsible for any interpretations made out of it.)

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