The Chinese animal signs are a 12-year cycle used for dating the years. They represent a cyclical concept of time, rather than the Western linear concept of time. The Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is constructed in a different fashion than the Western solar calendar. In the Chinese calendar, the beginning of the year falls somewhere between late January and early February.
The Chinese have adopted the Western calendar since 1911, but the lunar calendar is still used for festive occasions such as the Chinese New Year. Many Chinese calendars will print both the solar dates and the Chinese lunar dates.
The Legend: The Origin of Zodiac
According to one legend, in the sixth century B.C. the Jade Emperor invited all the animals in creation to a race, only twelve showed up: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Lamb, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig, and according to their places in the race, the Jade Emperor had given them each a number starting with the Rat who was the winner of the race.
Many legends arose from the Race of the Chinese Zodiacs. One told of the reason why cats and rats shall always be enemies: He and the cat (at the time good friends) were poor swimmers, so they asked the ox if they could stay on top of his head to cross the river. Along the way he pushed the cat off the ox's back. And the cat, incapable of swimming, lagged behind. The rat stayed on top of the ox's head until the ox was almost at the finish line. And as the ox was about to cross it, the rat jumped from the ox's head and became first place. And the cat and rat have been enemies ever since.
Another legend tells that the cat had asked the rat to wake him up the day of the Race. The rat agreed, but on the said day, he did not wake the cat in his greed to win. When the cat finally woke up and got to the racing ground, he found the race to be over. The cat then swore revenge upon the rat.
The legend of the Zodiac Race, of course, is by far the least credible of all explanations of the origin of the Chinese zodiac. Because the "Twelve earthly branches" which correspond with the zodiac, was already in existence as early as the era, long before the advent of Buddhism. A parallel decimal set of symbols called "Ten heavenly stems", corresponding with "Yin-yang" dualism and the "Five elements (Chinese philosophy)" (wood, fire, earth, metal, water) was in existence in the "Shang dynasty" as the stems were part of Shang rulers' names. The order of 12 Chinese zodiac animals was based on the number of toes/hooves, alternating between even and odd numbers. Rat was the first because unlike other animals of the Chinese zodiac which all had the same number of toes/hooves on each leg, rat has four toes on the front legs and five on the rear legs, so it was selected to be number one. Ox is second with four hooves on each leg, and tiger is the third three with five toes, hare is the fourth with four toes, dragon is next in line with five fingers on its claw, while snake ranks number six because it lacked any legs and zero is an even number, etc.
The Zodiac, or the twelve earthly branches, is probably devised together with the ten heavenly stems. However, according to Derek Walters, British scholar and author of several related books, there is no historical evidence for the 12 animals correlation with the Earthly Branches prior to the late Tang or early Song eras. Susan Whitfield asserts that it was not until the Qin Dynasty that the 12 animal cycle was imported along the Silk Road from Buddhist peoples in Khotan, Sogdiana, and India.
As a duodecimal numeral system, the twelve earthly branches is probably evidence for trade between early tribes that later contributed to the Chinese civilization on the one hand, and the Mesopotamian civilization, which perfected duodecimal arithmetics, on the other.
The Chinese zodiac, though not entirely identical with the Greek zodiac, nonetheless shares with it the duodecimal system and the idea of using animals as numerical symbols. This is a hint for the triangular relations between early Chinese, Mesopotamian and Greek cultures.
Stories of The Chinese Zodiac
The Sheng xiao (Chinese: ; also known as Birthpet, or Chinese zodiac animal, Chinese zodiac sign) is 12 animals which are representative of years in some East Asia countries, and the Chinese zodiac is the 12-year cycle of these 12 animals. Each year of the 12-year cycle is named after one of the original 12 animals. Each animal has a different personality and different characteristics. The animal is believed to be the main factor in each person's life that gives them their traits, success and happiness in their lifetime.
The Chinese zodiac refers to a pure calendrical cycle. There are no equivalent constellations like those of the occidental zodiac. In imperial times there were astrologers who watched the sky for heavenly omens that would predict the future of the state, but this was a quite different practice of divination from the popular present-day methods.
In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs, and many western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called inner animals), day, and hours of the day (called secret animals).
To sum it up, while a person might appear to be a dragon because they were born in the year of the dragon, they might also be a snake internally and an ox secretively. In total, this makes for 8,640 possible combinations (five elements x 12 animals in the 60 year cycle (12 x 5 = 60) , 12 months, 12 times of day) that a person might be. These are all considered critical for the proper use of Chinese astrology.
Problems with English translation
Due to confusion with synonyms during translation, some of the animals depicted by the English words did not exist in ancient China. For example, ? can mean both goat and sheep, but goat is the species that existed in central China before sheep, and goat is the species seen in illustrations, not sheep. Similarly, ? (rat) can also be translated as mouse, as originally there are no distinctive words for the two genera in Chinese. Further, ? (pig) is sometimes translated to boar after its Japanese name, and ? (water buffalo) is commonly thought to be ox. Another confusion is rabbit. It is known as cat in some Asian countries.
Application in Chinese calendar: The months and the Solar Term
The 12 animals are also linked to the traditional Chinese agricultural calendar, which runs alongside the better known lunar calendar. Instead of months, this calendar is divided into 24 two week segments known as Solar Terms. Each animal is linked to two of these solar terms for a period similar to the Western month. Unlike the 60 year lunar calendar, which can vary by as much as a month in relation to the Western calendar, the agricultural calendar varies by only one day, beginning on the Western February 3 or 4 every year. Again unlike the cycle of the lunar years, which begins with the Rat, the agricultural calendar begins with the Tiger as it is the first animal of spring.
An individual's monthly animal sign is called their inner animal and is concerned with what motivates a person. Since this sign dictates the person's love life and inner persona, it is critical to a proper understanding of the individual's compatibility with other signs.
As each sign is linked to a month of the solar year, it is thereby also linked to a season. Each of the elements is also linked to a season (see above), and the element that shares a season with a sign is known as that sign's fixed element. In other words, that element is believed to impart some of its characteristics to the sign concerned. The fixed element of each sign applies also to the year and hour signs, and not just the monthly sign. It is important to note that the fixed element is separate from the cycle of elements which interact with the signs in the 60 year cycle.
The Chinese Horoscope - Chinese Signs of the Zodiac
The Chinese horoscope is based on a 12 year cycle with each Chinese New Year Day (based on the Lunisolar calendar) starting somewhere between the last week in January and the third week in February relating to an animal sign. The zodiac animal signs, as part of Chinese astrology, are connected to the Chinese Five Elements. The choice of twelve animals and their order in the table is based on Chinese folklore.
When a baby is born its animal sign can be used to reveal his or her character, fortune, ideal partners, lucky colors and so on. Chinese astrology, using animal signs, plays a very similar role to astrology in western culture using the signs of the zodiac.
The following table shows the twelve zodiac signs and their attributes.
North north east
East north east
East south east
South south east
South south west
West south west
West north west
North North West
The Chinese Zodiac
In Chinese astrology the zodiac of twelve animal sign represents twelve different types of personality. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and there are many stories about the Origins of the Chinese Zodiac which explain why this is so. When the twelve zodiac signs are part of the sixty year calendar in combination with the five elements, they are traditionally called the twelve earthly branches. The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order and their characteristics./b>
Rat (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water):
The Rat person is forthright, meticulous, charming, industrious, charismatic, generous to close family and friends, eloquent, sociable, shrewd, tenacious. They can also sometimes be vindictive, venal, critical, over-ambitious, manipulative, and ruthless. The Rat's good entrepreneurial and leadership skills, quickness to exploit opportunities and good eye for detail means they can achieve power and wealth. Good politicians, lawyers, detectives, engineers, and pathologists. Rat years include 1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008. The month of the Rat is Dec 7 - Jan 5, and the hours of the Rat are 11pm - 1am.
They are most compatible with people born in the years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox.
Famous people born in the Year of the Rat : Charlotte Bronte, Truman Capote, Catherine I, Prince Charles, Sasha Cohen, Eminem, Peter the Great, Mata Hari, Scarlett Johansson, Wolfgang Mozart, Plato, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, George Washington, Richard Nixon, Julia Child, Louis Armstrong, Prince Andrew, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Kathleen Battle, Albert Finney.
Ox (Ying, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water):
The Ox person is dependable, calm, methodical, patient, hardworking, ambitious, conventional, disciplined, steady, modest, fair-minded, logical, resolute, tenacious. They can also sometimes be stubborn, narrowminded, materialistic, rigid, demanding and nurture grievances. The Ox can attain prosperity and success through fortitude, hard work and natural leadership qualities. Good dentists, surgeons, engineers, and archaeologists. Ox years include 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997. The month of the Ox is Jan 6 - Feb 3, and the hours of the Ox are 1am - 3am.
They are most compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people.
Famous people born in the Year of the Ox include: Johann Sebastian Bach, Napoleon Bonaparte, Charlie Chaplin, George Clooney, Walt Disney, Anton Dvorak, Clark Gable, George Frideric Handel, Oscar De La Hoya, Richard Nixon, Barack Obama, Aishwarya Rai, Wayne Rooney, Vincent Van Gogh, Tung Chee-Hwa, Sukarno, Richard Burton, Peter Sellers, Margaret Mead, Jawaharlal Nehru, Eisaku Sato, Princess Diana.
Tiger (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood):
The Tiger person is unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. They can also sometimes be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish. The Tiger person will trust to luck and their own charisma and daring to achieve success, and their idealism and humanitarian instincts will inform their goals. Good actors, writers, pilots, and police officers. Tiger years include 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998. The month of the Tiger is Feb 4 - Mar 5, and the hours of the Tiger are 3am - 5am.
Tigers are most compatible with Horses, Dragons, and Dogs.
Famous people born in the Year of the Tiger: Emily Bronte, Sheryl Crow,
Tom Cruise, Emily Dickinson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jay Leno, Karl Marx, Marilyn Monroe, Marco Polo, Beatrix Potter, Groucho Marx, Queen Elizabeth II, Jon Stewart, Sun Yat-Sen, Jiang Zemin, Ho Chih Minh, Princess Anne, General Charles de Gaulle, Charles Lindbergh, Beethoven, Queen Beatrix, King Juan Carlos I, Jonas Salk.
Rabbit (Ying, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood):
The Rabbit person is gracious, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, astute, compassionate, flexible. They can also sometimes be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, lazy. The Rabbit person will pursue objectives methodically but unobtrusively, using friendliness and amiability to persuade others, and inscrutability and astuteness to outwit their opponents. Rabbit Years include 1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999. The month of the Rabbit is Mar 6 - Apr 4, and the hours of the Rabbit are 5am - 7am.
They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.
Famous people born in the Year of the Rabbit: Albert Einstein, Leon Trotsky, Frank Sinatra, Pope Benedict XVI, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, David Beckham, Tiger Woods, Whitney Houston, Hu Shih, Hu Yao-Bang, Kim Young Sam, Sally Ride, Leonardo Di Caprio, Bob Hope, Arturo Toscanini, Leontyne Price, Clare Boothe Luce.
Dragon (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood):
The Dragon person is magnanimous, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, direct, eager, zealous, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, ambitious, generous, loyal, idealistic. They can also sometimes be arrogant, demanding, eccentric, dogmatic, over-bearing, impetuous, brash. The Dragon person needs a mission or goal in life, and they will rely on their strength and confidence to achieve it. Good educators, instructors and sportspeople. Dragon years include 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012. The month of the Dragon is April 5 - May 4, and the hours of the Dragon are 7am - 9am.
They are compatible with Rats, Snakes, Monkeys, and Roosters.
Famous people born in the Year of the Dragon: Susan B. Anthony, Joan of Arc, Orlando Bloom, Sigmund Freud, Bruce Lee, John Lennon, Florence Nightingale, Keanu Reeves, Ronaldo, Mae West, Ringo Starr, Edward Heath, Dr. Seuss, Harold Wilson, Helen Keller, Pearl S. Buck, Salvador Dali, Francois Mitterrand, Hosni Mubarek, Maya Angelou..
Snake (Ying, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire):
The Snake person is a deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, ambitious, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. They can also sometimes be a loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, controlling, ruthless, distrustful, vengeful. Like the Rat, though perhaps to a lesser degree, the Snake person too can pursue goals ruthlessly and with calculation, and strives for control through power. Good politician, business person, teacher, theologian, and philosopher. Snake years include 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001. The month of the Snake is May 5 - Jun 5, and the hours of the Snake are 9am - 11am.
They are most compatible with the Ox and Rooster.
Famous people born in the Year of the Snake: Dick Cheney, Bob Dylan, John F. Kennedy, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Martha Stewart, Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey, Mao Tse-tong, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Ferdinand Marcos, Abraham Lincoln, Lady Pamela Mountbatten, Martin Luther King, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy, Edgar Allen Poe, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bob Dylan.
Horse (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire):
The Horse person is cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile mentally and physically, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded. They can also sometimes be impetuous, hot-tempered, rude, stubborn, lack stability and perseverance. The Horse person is success and performance oriented and relies on their astuteness and keen minds and persuasive abilities to achieve it. Horse years include 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002. The month of the Horse is Jun 6 - Jul 6, and the hours of the Horse are 11am - 1pm.
They are most compatible with Tigers, Dogs, and Sheep.
Famous people born in the Year of the Horse: Clay Aiken, Davy Crockett, James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Ella Fitzgerald, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Sandra Day O'Connor, Teddy Roosevelt, Mike Tyson, Boris Yeltsin, Duke of Windsor, Princess Margaret, Billy Graham, Igor Stravinsky, Bertrand Russell, Joseph Haydn, Barbra Streisand, Nelson Mandela, Anwar Sadat, Neil Armstrong.
Sheep (Ying, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire):
The Sheep person is righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, determined, peaceful, generous, seeks security. They can also sometimes be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer. The Sheep person relies on their good nature and sensitivity to persuade others to meet their needs and use subtle, indirect methods and persistence to achieve them. Good at artistic and creative pursuits. Sheep years include 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003. The month of the Sheep is Jul 7 - Aug 7, and the hours of the Sheep are 1pm - 3pm.
They are compatible with Rabbits, Pigs, and Horses.
Famous people born in the Year of the Sheep: Jane Austen, Boris Becker, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, King George VI, Franz Liszt, Michelangelo, Michael Owen, Mark Twain, Rudolph Valentino, Barbara Walters, Bruce Willis, Orville Wright, Sir Laurence Olivier, Josephine Bonaparte, Margot Fonteyn, Mikhail Gorbachev, Toni Morrison, Leonard Nimoy, Pierre Trudeau, Katharine Hepburn, Boris Yeltsin.
Monkey (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal):
The Monkey person is an inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. They can also sometimes be egotistical, vain, selfish, cunning, jealous, suspicious. The Monkey person is competitive and success oriented and uses their guile, charm and self confidence to achieve their goals. Good actors, writers, lawyers, diplomats, sportspeople, teachers. Monkey years include 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004. The month of the Monkey is Aug 8 - Sep 7, and the hours of the Monkey are 3pm - 5pm.
They are most compatible with the Dragon and Rat.
Famous people born in the Year of the Monkey : Julius Caesar, Daniel Craig, Bette Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betsy Ross, Diana Ross, Will Smith, Elizabeth Taylor, Harry S. Truman, Leonardo da Vinci, Alice Walker, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Taylor, Charles Dickens, Lyndon Johnson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, Simone de Beauvoir, Isaac Stern, George Lucas.
Rooster (Ying, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal):
The Rooster person is acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible. They can also sometimes be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, opinionated. The Rooster person uses their good administrative skills, and efficient, precise and methodical nature to achieve their goals. Good accountants, scientists, administrators, teachers, nurses. Rooster years include 1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005. The month of the Rooster is Sep 8 - Oct 7 and the hours of the Rooster are 5pm - 7pm.
They are most compatible with Ox, Snake, and Dragon.
Famous people born in the Year of the Rooster : Jessica Alba , Catherine the Great, Amelia Earhart, Paris Hilton, Rudyard Kipling, Britney Spears, Peter Ustinov, Suharto, Deborah Kerr, D. H. Lawrence, John Glenn, Emperor Akihito, Yoko Ono, Eudora Welty, Bette Midler..
Dog (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal):
The Dog person is honest, intelligent, straightforward,popular, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amiable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, intelligent, affectionate, dogged. They can also sometimes be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome. The Dog person uses their sense of fair play, determination and practicality to achieve their goals. Good soldiers, teachers, lawyers, judges, doctors, religious workers. Dog years include 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006. The month of the Dog is Oct 8 - Nov 7, and the hours of the Dog are 7pm - 9pm.
They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.
Famous people born in the Year of the Dog : Mariah Carey, Cher, Winston Churchill,
Bill Clinton, Dorothea Dix, Benjamin Franklin, George Gershwin, Jane Goodall, Herbert Hoover, Madonna, Shirley McLaine, Chiang Chin-Kuo, Zhou En-Lai, Lee Teng-Hui, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Jacques Cousteau, King Carl XVI Gustaf, Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, Mother Teresa, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
Pig (Ying, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water):
The Pig person is honest, simple, gallant, sturdy, courageous, persevering, resolute,sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, diligent, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent. They can also sometimes be naive, over-reliant, self-indulgent, condescending, fatalistic, materialistic. The Pig person uses their patience, hard work, strength, sociability and loyalty to achieve their goals. Good teachers, fundraisers, club and society organisers. Pig years include 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007. The month of the Pig is Nov 8 - Dec 6, and the hours of the Pig are 9pm - 11pm.
They are most compatible with Rabbits and Sheep.
Famous people born in the Year of the Pig : Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock, Mahalia Jackson, David Letterman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chiang Kai-Shek, Lee Kuan Yew, Kim Dae Jung, Syngman Rhee, Tennessee Williams, Julie Andrews, Albert Schweitzer, Jerry John Rawlings, Prince Rainier, Georges Pompidou, Chuck Yeager, Henry Kissinger, King Fahd.
The Four Trines of The 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals
The twelve animal signs are also broken into four categories of three signs each, known as trines
The First Trine
The first trine consists of the Rat, Dragon, and Monkey. These three signs are intense and powerful individuals, capable of great good or great evil. They make great leaders, but the three may have different approaches. Frustrated when hampered, these signs are ruled by highly potent energy and unpredictability. At their worst, Rats are ruthlessly power-hungry, vindictive, and Machiavellian, Dragons are inflexible megalomaniacs and dogmatists, and Monkeys are destructive manipulators and hedonists. They are intelligent, magnanimous, charismatic, charming, authoritative, confident, eloquent and artistic. They can also be tyrannical, bombastic, prejudiced, deceitful, imperious, ruthless, power-hungry, and megalomaniacal.
The Second Trine
The second trine consists of the Ox, Snake, and Rooster. These three soul mates conquer life through endurance, application, and slow accumulation of energy. Although each sign is fixed and rigid in opinions and views, they are genius in the art of meticulous planning. They are hardworking, discreet, modest, industrious, charitable, loyal, punctual, philosophical, patient, and good-hearted individuals with high moral standards. They can also be self-righteous, vain, critical, judgemental, narrow-minded, petty, and pessimistic.
The Third Trine
The third trine consists of the Tiger, Horse, and Dog. These three signs seek one another, and are like-minded in their pursuit of humanitarian causes. Each is a gifted orator and excels at verbal communication. Relationships and personal contact are of highest priority and each one seek their intimate soul mate. Idealistic and impulsive, the Tiger, Horse and Dog follow the beat of their own drummer. Defiant against injustice, these three signs wilt without large amounts of physical affection and loyal support for causes. They are productive, enthusiastic, independent, engaging, dynamic, and honourable. They can also be rash, rebellious, quarrelsome, hot-headed, reckless, anxious, moody, disagreeable, stubborn, and selfish.
Famous people born in the Year of the Tiger: Emily Bronte, Sheryl Crow,
Tom Cruise, Emily Dickinson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jay Leno, Karl Marx, Marilyn Monroe, Marco Polo, Beatrix Potter, Groucho Marx, Queen Elizabeth II, Jon Stewart
The Fourth Trine
The fourth trine consists of the Rabbit, Sheep and Pig. The quest for these three signs is the aesthetic and beautiful in life. Their calm nature gives them great leadership abilities. They are artistic, refined, intuitive, and well-mannered. These souls love the preliminaries in love, and are fine artists in their lovemaking. The Rabbit, Sheep and Pig have been bestowed with calmer natures than the other 9 signs. These three are compassionately aware, yet detached and resigned to their condition. They seek beauty and a sensitive lover. They are caring, unique, self-sacrificing, obliging, sensible, creative, empathetic, tactful, and prudent. They can also be naive, pedantic, insecure, cunning, indecisive, and pessimistic.
Chinese Zodiac Calendar
Browse the calendar to find your birth year and more about your Chinese zodiac sign :
The sexagenary cycle was first used for days in the Shang Dynasty, and later also used for years and less commonly for months.
For example, the year 2000 was the 17th year of the 78th sexagenary cycle, a gēng-chén year (???), a year of the Yang Metal Dragon. Therefore, 2006 is the 23rd year of the 78th sexagenary cycle, called a bǐng-xū year (???), a year of the Yang Fire Dog; 2007 a year of the Ying Fire Pig.
The naming of the months and days is not common now, although they are shown on Chinese calendars and almanacs.
Relation to the western calendar:Below is the sexagenary cycle matched up to the Western calendar for the years 1804 - 2043, or four full 60 year cycles.
A different animal rules each day. This animal represents the basic personality of the person.
The Chinese zodiac is also used to label times of day, with each sign corresponding to a "large-hour" or shichen, which is a two-hour period (24 divided by 12 animals). It is therefore important to know the exact time of birth to determine it. The secret animal is thought to be a person’s truest representation, since this animal is determined by the smallest denominator: a person’s birth hour. As this sign is based on the position of the sun in the sky and not the time of your local clock, it is important to compensate for daylight saving time. However, some online systems already compensate for daylight saving time, and astrologers may compensate your time for you oblivious to the fact that you've compensated it yourself, leading to an inaccurate reading.
The large-hour in which a person is born is their secret animal. It is a person's own true sign which their personality is based on. Note that while this chart is quite precise, the exact time at which each animal begins shifts by the day.
Time of Birth
Signs of Power
Signs of Romance
23:00–01:00: ? rat
01:00–03:00: ? ox
03:00–05:00: ? tiger
05:00–07:00: ? rabbit
07:00–09:00: ? dragon
09:00–11:00: ? snake
11:00–13:00: ? horse
13:00–15:00: ? ram
15:00–17:00: ? monkey
17:00–19:00: ? rooster
19:00–21:00: ? dog
21:00–23:00: ? pig
Chinese zodiac in other countries
The Chinese zodiac signs are also used by cultures other than Chinese. For one example, they usually appear on Korean New Year and Japanese New Year's cards and stamps. The United States Postal Service and those of several other countries issue a "Year of the _____" postage stamp each year to honour this Chinese heritage. However, those unfamiliar with the use of the Chinese lunar calendar usually just assume that the signs switch over on January 1 of each year. Those who are serious about the fortune telling aspect of the signs can consult a table, such as the one above. The Chinese zodiac animals were used also in the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins.
The Chinese zodiac is also used in some other Asian countries that have been under the cultural influence of China. However, some of the animals in the Zodiac may differ by country.
The Korean zodiac is identical to the Chinese one. The Vietnamese zodiac is almost identical to Chinese zodiac except that the second animal is the water buffalo instead of the ox, the fourth animal is the cat instead of the rabbit and the eighth animal is the Ram instead of the sheep. The Japanese zodiac includes the wild boar instead of the pig. The Thai zodiac includes a naga in place of the dragon.
The Earthly Branches
The Earthly Branches (Chinese: ; pinyin: dìzhī; or Chinese: ; pinyin: shíèrzhī; literally "twelve branches") provide one Chinese system for reckoning time.
This system was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter. Chinese astronomers divided the celestial circle into 12 sections to follow the orbit of Suìxīng (Jupiter, the Year Star). Astronomers rounded the orbit of Suixing to 12 years (from 11.86). Suixing was associated with Sheti (ɳ Boötes) and sometimes called Sheti.
In correlative thinking, the twelve years of the Jupiter cycle also identify the twelve months of the year, twelve animals (mnemonics for the system), directions, seasons, months, and Chinese hour in the form of double-hours. When a Branch is used for a double hour, the listed periods are meant. When used for an exact time of a day, it is the center of the period. For instance, (the Horse) means noon or a period from 11am to 1pm. (The jie qi system provided single hours and 15-degree arcs in time and space.)
Chinese seasons are based on observations of the sun and stars, not the weather. Many Chinese calendrical systems have started the new year on the first new moon after the winter solstice.
The Earthly Branches are today used with the Heavenly Stems in the current version of the "traditional calendar" and in Taoism. The Ganzhi (Stem-Branch) combination is a fairly new way to mark time; in the Shang era it was the ten Heavenly Stems that provided the names of the days of the week. The Branches are as old as the Stems (and according to recent archaeology may actually be older), but the Stems were tied to the ritual calendars of Chinese kings. They were not part of the calendrical systems of the majority of Chinese.
Even though Chinese has words for the four cardinal directions - (běi, north), (dōng, east), (nán, south), and (xī, west) - Chinese mariners and astronomers/astrologers preferred using the twelve directions of the Earthly Branches, which is somewhat similar to the modern-day practice of English-speaking pilots using o'clock for directions. Since twelve points were not enough for sailing, twelve midpoints were added. Instead of combining two adjacent direction names, they assigned new names as follows:
For the four diagonal directions, appropriate trigram names of I Ching were used.
For the rest, the Heavenly Stems were used. According to the Five Elements theory, east is assigned to wood, and the Stems of wood are (jiǎ) and (yǐ). Thus they were assigned clockwise to the two adjacent points of the east.
Advanced mariners such as Zheng He used 48-point compasses. An additional midpoint was called by a combination of its two closest basic directions, such as 丙午 (bǐngwǔ) for the direction of 172.5°, the mid-point between 丙 (bǐng), 165°, and 午 (wǔ), 180°.
Conversion between cyclic years and Western years
Conversion between cyclic years and Western years
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Relationship between sexagenary cycle and recent Common Era years
The cycle first started to be used for indicating years during the Han dynasty, but it also can be used to indicate earlier years retroactively. Since it repeats, by itself it cannot specify a year without some other information, but it is frequently used with theChinese era name (年号; "niánhào") to specify a year. The year starts with the new year of whoever is using the calendar. In China, the cyclic year normally changes on the Chinese Lunar New Year. In Japan until recently it was the Japanese lunar new year, which was sometimes different from the Chinese; now it is January 1. So when calculating the cyclic year of a date in the Gregorian year, one has to consider what their "new year" is. Hence, the following calculation deals with the Chinese dates after the Lunar New Year in that Gregorian year; to find the corresponding sexagenary year in the dates before the Lunar New Year would require the Gregorian year to be decreased by 1.
Philosophy of the Chinese Zodiac
During a diplomat banquet in Euorpe, a German aristocrat stood up and said:
"You Chinese people use the common animals like pig, dog, mouse as zodiac signs! Unlike us, we take the stars like Taurus, Leo, Virgo ... ... I do not know how your ancestors think!"
Then one of the Chinese stood up and said in a peaceful tone, "Yes, the ancestors of the Chinese people are down to earth in choosing common animals, and our 12 zodiac animals are paired in duality, reflecting the six realms of reincarnation, and is a reflection of our ancestors' expectations and demands on us."
The Chinese man continued:
"The first pairing comprises rats and cattle. Mice represents wisdom and cattle, hard work. Wisdom and hard work must be coupled together. With wisdom alone, and absence of hard work, it becomes valueless wit; and hard work solely, without the use of the brains, denotes a simpleton. The two strengths must be combined. This is the ancestor's expectations and requirements on the first and the most important group."
"The second group is tigers and rabbits. The tiger represents bravery, while the rabbit manifests caution. Courage and prudence must be coupled together to be bold and cautious. Being brave alone without caution, one becomes reckless; without courage, one becomes timid. This group is also very important". "When we Chinese people show restraint, please do not think that the Chinese people are not courageous."
"The third group is the dragon and snake - the dragon represents ferocity, while the snake represents flexibility. We all know that hard cast iron is not malleable and can be broken easily; however being flexible alone makes one easy to lose one's assertiveness. So the message from the ancients to us, is to balance both of these qualities."
"Next is the horse and sheep, Horses represents the courage to go forward, the sheep depict their natural docile nature of going with the flow. If a person only set his sights on his own targets without regard for the surrounding environment, without taking the landmarks into consideration, he will inevitably continue to bounce around randomly, and may not even be able to achieve the goals eventually. Therefore, the mettle of courage to step forward and lead, which must be coupled with the ability to work in harmony with the crowd. Both characteristics must be married tightly together...this is our ancestors expectations on the fourth group."
"Then there are monkeys and roosters. Monkeys represent adaptability, while all roosters crow regularly on time, representing consistency. Adaptability and constancy must be bind tightly and strategically together. If you are constantly changing goals and objectives, no matter how good the policy, the benefits cannot be reaped. On the one hand, stability, harmony and order are needed to maintain on course, but on the other hand one needs to change and adapt to circumstances in order to remain relevant and advance further ahead. This is the most fundamental concept of how to thrust forward for the future."
"Finally, dogs and pigs. Dogs represent fierce loyalty, pigs represent the easy-going nature. If a person is too loyal, and does not know how to be easy-going, the tendency would be to exclude others. In turn, a person who is too easy-going, has no loyalty, and this person will lose his principles & ideals. Whether it is a nation's loyalty, or loyalty to their ideals, both ideas must be closely combined, so it is easy to keep the balance of the heart."
"In the end, I would like to know the significance and qualities behind your constellations of Aquarius, Sagittarius, Capricorn and other stars, and how do these reflect the hope and expectations of your ancestors on you," the Chinese diplomat asked.
The young man who spoke then was Mr. Zhou Enlai, the former Chinese premier.