The Chinese zodiac

When meeting a new freind, Chinese tend to talk about shuxiang, that indicates a person’s lunar Birth year by signifying any of the 12 animals in Chinese zodiac. Personified by ancient Chinese, each animal partially reveals a person’s character or even fate, resembling the 12 constellations of the West.

The Chinese zodiac is a distinctive way of reckoning years and can be traced back to the reign of Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor. By observing the movement of the sun and the behaviour of the 12 animals, ancient Chinese linked these animals with the 12 Earthly Branches.

The Chinese zodiac and the myths it inspired have had a far-reaching influence on Chinese history, culture and art, but also clothing, catering and festivities.


Years of the Rat: 1900-1912-1924-1936-1948-1960-1972-1984-1996-2008

People born in the Year of the Rat are said to be honest, frank, simple, sensitive, impetuous, and capable, while also being gentle, soft and careful. They are curious about the opposite gender, and keen to make others happy.


Years of the Ox: 1901-1913-1925-1937-1949-1961-1973-1985-1997-2009

People born in these years are honest, simple, industrious and brave. These people are also thought to be patient, persistent, mild, reticent, down-to-earth and stubborn. With an indipendent mind, they aren’t easily affected by the views of others, and are clear about what is right and wrong, and about what to love and hate.


Years of the Tiger: 1902-1914-1926-1938-1950-1962-1974-1986-1998-2010

Those born in the Year of the Tiger are brave, generous, and kind, ever willing to help others. They are also eager to build a good reputation. Chinese often use such expressions as Huhushengwei (to forge ahead with the vitality of the tiger) and Shenglong Huohu (as doughty as a dragon and as lively as tiger) to describe a man, and Hutou Hunao (as strong and lovely as a little tiger) a little boy.


Years of the Rabbit: 1903-1915-1927-1939-1951-1963-1975-1987-1999-2011

Those born in the Year of the Rabbit are bold, optimistic, and sensitive.


Years of the Dragon: 1904-1916-1928-1940-1952-1964-1976-1988-2000-2012

Those born in the Year of the Dragon are resolute but open-minded. They have a strong sense of justice and are always ready to help the weak. Their personality is thus befitting of a leader.


Years of the Snake: 1905-1917-1929-1941-1953-1965-1977-1989-2001-2013

Those born in the Year of the Snake are quiet and sensitive. While thoughtful, they are capable of responding and acting quickly. They also have good taste.


Years of the Horse: 1906-1918-1930-1942-1954-1966-1978-1990-2002-2014

Those born in the Year of the Horse are thought to be idealistic, passionate, outgoing and heroic.


Years of the Goat: 1907-1919-1931-1943-1955-1967-1979-1991-2003-2015

Generally, those born in the Year of the Goat have a tender temperament, a strong sense of filial piety, and are tenacious in times of hardship.


Years of the Monkey: 1908-1920-1932-1944-1956-1968-1980-1992-2004-2016

People born in the Year of the Monkey are characterized by a good sense of humour, vitality and intelligence; they are versatile and perceptive, open-minded, confident and agile.


Years of the Rooster: 1909-1921-1933-1945-1957-1969-1981-1993-2005-2017

Those born in the Year of the Rooster have high self-esteem and self-respect. They are honest, sensitive to circumstances, flexible, friendly to others and easy to get along with.


Years of the Dog: 1910-1922-1934-1946-1958-1970-1982-1994-2006-2018

Generally, those born in the Year of the Dog are upright, faithful, generous and warm-hearted.


Years of the Pig: 1911-1923-1935-1947-1959-1971-1983-1995-2007-2019

Those born in the Year of the Pig are brave, honest, resolute and lucky, as well as skilled at mustering support from others.