What is the Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese zodiac (Mandarin: Shēngxiào) refers to a 12 year cycle where each year is represented by an animal and its traits. The zodiac system originated during or before the Imperial China period, having existed since the Qin and Han Dynasties, over 2,000 years back.
What are the Chinese Zodiac Signs
A zodiac cycle begins with the Rat, and ends with the Pig. Each of the twelve signs is associated with one of the twelve Earthly Branches, while also having their fixed element. The order of the animals is determined by the Chinese Yin-Yang theory, with those having an even number of digits on their paw/foot/hand being Yin animals, and the ones with an odd number of digits being Yang animals.
|Chinese Zodiac in Order||Yin/Yang||Earthly Branch|
|8. Goat (Sheep)||Yin||Wei|
|12. Pig (Boar)||Yin||Hai|
There are ten Heavenly Stems in Chinese astrology that are associated with the Earthly Branches, and through tem, with the Zodiac Animals. Each Heavenly Branch is also associated with one of the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. So, the Zodiac signs also have association with these elements, and the characteristic traits of an element may be prominent in a specific Zodiac.
The Origin Story of the Chinese Zodiac: The Great Race
The myth regarding the origin and selection of the animals for the zodiac signs involves the Jade Emperor, the lord of the heaven and all Gods according to Chinese folklore, who ordered all animals from the land to participate in a race to earn a place in the calendar. Their selection and positions among the zodiac signs were decided based on which twelve animals arrived first.
What is the Chinese New Year
The Zodiac system, as well as the Earthly Branches and Heavenly Stems, all were originally introduced with the purpose of keeping the time and calculate hours, days, weeks, months, and years. The Chinese calendar was established based on these calculations and it is still followed in many East Asian countries, as well as other places around the world. The first day on the Chinese calendar is referred to as the Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, celebrated all over the world through special feasts, and parades.
As there are twelve zodiac signs, the Chinese calendar assigns one animal to each month, with the year beginning with a Year of the Rat, and ending with a Year of the Pig.
Here is a 24 year cycle showing how the Zodiac animals rotate in dominating a year:
|Date and Year||Zodiac Animal||Associated Element||Earthly Branch||Heavenly Stem|
|Feb 7, 2008–Jan 25, 2009||Rat||Yang Earth||Zi||Wu|
|Jan 26, 2009–Feb 13, 2010||Ox||Yin Earth||Chou||Ji|
|Feb 14, 2010–Feb 2, 2011||Tiger||Yang Metal||Yin||Geng|
|Feb 3, 2011–Jan 22, 2012||Rabbit||Yin Metal||Mao||Xin|
|Jan 23, 2012–Feb 9, 2013||Dragon||Yang Water||Chen||Ren|
|Feb 10, 2013–Jan 30, 2014||Snake||Yin Water||Si||Gui|
|Jan 31, 2014–Feb 18, 2015||Horse||Yang Wood||Wu||Jia|
|Feb 19, 2015–Feb 7, 2016||Goat||Yin Wood||Wei||Yi|
|Feb 8, 2016–Jan 27, 2017||Monkey||Yang Fire||Shen||Bing|
|Jan 28, 2017–Feb 15, 2018||Rooster||Yin Fire||You||Ding|
|Feb 16, 2018–Feb 4, 2019||Dog||Yang Earth||Xu||Wu|
|Feb 5, 2019–Jan 24, 2020||Pig||Yin Earth||Hai||Ji|
|Jan 25, 2020–Feb 11, 2021||Rat||Yang Metal||Zi||Geng|
|Feb 12, 2021–Jan 31, 2022||Ox||Yin Metal||Chou||Xin|
|Feb 1, 2022–Jan 21, 2023||Tiger||Yang Water||Yin||Ren|
|Jan 22, 2023–Feb 9, 2024||Rabbit||Yin Water||Mao||Gui|
|Feb 10, 2024–Jan 28, 2025||Dragon||Yang Wood||Chen||Jia|
|Jan 29, 2025–Feb 16, 2026||Snake||Yin Wood||Si||Yi|
|Feb 17, 2026–Feb 5, 2027||Horse||Yang Fire||Wu||Bing|
|Feb 6, 2027–Jan 25, 2028||Goat||Yin Fire||Wei||Ding|
|Jan 26, 2028–Feb 12, 2029||Monkey||Yang Earth||Shen||Wu|
|Feb 13, 2029–Feb 2, 2030||Rooster||Yin Earth||You||Ji|
|Feb 3, 2030–Jan 22, 2031||Dog||Yang Metal||Xu||Geng|
|Jan 23, 2031–Feb 10, 2032||Pig||Yin Metal||Hai||Xin|
Why is the Chinese New Year Date Different Every Year
Being a lunisolar calendar (combining both solar and lunar cycles), the first day of each month in the Chinese calendar is determined by the date of the new moon. A month lasts for a single lunar cycle that is 29.5 days in average. The Chinese New Year date coincides with the new moon in February, which comes sometime between 21st January and 20th February every year. As a result, the Chinese New Year date can vary from year to year.
What Does the Chinese Year of Birth Mean
As each year is attributed to a certain animal, each person has a specific zodiac year of birth, according to their birth date. These signs can be used to predict the character, temperament, as well as career, marriage, and compatibility of a person born in a specific zodiac year.
Though it might sound superstitious and odd, but your birth year is believed to be unlucky for you according to Chinese astrology. It is like a hurdle for you that return every twelve years with unfortunate events like job-problems, financial loss, health issues, and family problems. There is a simple-enough solution for this as well – wearing red underwear, belts, or socks given to you by someone elder, as the color red is supposed to bring you good luck.
How to Find Out Your Chinese Zodiac
You can easily find out you Chinese Zodiac by calculating what animal your birth year was assigned to. For example, based on the above table, a baby born between Feb 7, 2008 and Jan 25, 2009 will have the Rat as his Chinese Zodiac as he was born in the year of the Rat.
The element dominant in your birth year is your zodiac element, and it also determines your characteristic traits, contributing to shape your basic personality. In the above example, the birth element will be Earth.
Chinese Zodiac Relationship Compatibility
Out of the twelve animals, some suit each other like soul mates, while others may have issues adjusting. For example, a Snake person is best matched with a Monkey for a romantic relationship, while their personality doesn’t match that of a Pig. The following table gives an idea about one compatible and one incompatible sign for each animal:
|Zodiac||Best Match||Worst Match|
The solar and lunar calendars help to calculate the compatibility between Chinese and Western Zodiac signs as well.
Each of the zodiacs also has specific numbers, colors, and gemstones that are considered lucky for those born in their years. The Chinese Zodiac system is followed by many around the world, alongside the Western Zodiacs.
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