The Chinese Zodiac Calendar – History, Dates and More

About China — By on 28/07/2012 9:20 am

In China there is a 12 year calendar that is known in the west as the Chinese Zodiac. This calendar attributes each of the 12 years to an animal so the Chinese Zodiac has 12 animals which are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep (Goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

The year you are born in is a big deal in China and a big talking point with many Chinese for casual conversation, dating and marriage, job interviews and much more. The reason being is that each year/animal has different strengths and weaknesses and some animals are more highly regarded than others.

What Animal/Zodiac Are You?

When you are travelling and living in China, you have to know your birth year so if you don’t already know, check below.

Rat – Born in 1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Ox – Born in 1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Tiger – Born on 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Rabbit – Born on 1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Dragon – Born on 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Snake – Born in 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Horse – Born in 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Sheep – Born in 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Monkey – Born in 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
Rooster – Born in 1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Dog – Born in 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
Pig – Born in 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

The Chinese calendar is a Lunar calendar which is confusing if you are born between January and March. This Chinee Zodiac Calendar will tell you precisely which Animal / Zodiac you are: Chinese Zodiac Calculator

Characteristics of each Animal/Birth Year

According to the Chinese Zodiac, your birth year/animal will determine your personality, your fortune and the people you are compatible with and much more. Listed below are the basics for each year so check out your year and learn things about yourself you never knew.

Year of The Rat
Basics – Not adorable and often used as a derogatory term
Strengths – Smart, adaptable, adorable, thoughtful, sensible, curious. Tend to be wealthy and work hard for success
Weaknesses – Timid, poor concentration, bad stability, lacking in courage, introspection, principles and responsibility
Health – Good health and active life. Tend to stress so regular exercise is good
Compatibility – Compatible with  Dragons and Monkeys but not Horses and Rabbits

Year of the Ox
Basics – make great employees and house slaves

Strengths – honest, dependable, hard working, tolerant, open minded, principled
Weaknesses – stubborn, inflexible, prudish, poor communication, boring
Health – good health with long fulfilled lives. Tend to work to much so need more fun
Compatibility – compatible with Rats and Roosters but not Tigers and Horses

Year of the Tiger
Basics – a highly regarded year

Strengths – strive on challenge, protective of loved ones, generous, charming and well liked
Weaknesses – aggressive, selfish, self centred, short sighted, traitorous
Health – Can be too focused on work which leads to exhaustion. Need to use their energy more carefully
Compatibility – Compatible with Dogs and Horses but not Goats and Oxen

Year of the Rabbit
Basics – The nice guys of the zodiac

Strengths – gentle, sensitive, friendly, compassionate, serene, creative
Weaknesses – risk adverse, lacking in confidence, conservative, easily taken advantage of
Health – tend to bottle emotions which leads to illness, need to reduce stress
Compatibility – Compatible with Pigs and Dogs but not Roosters or Rats

Year of the Dragon
Basics – THE most desirable year/animal

Strengths – ambitious, righteous, intellectual, perfectionist, passionate, fearless
Weaknesses – loners, cannot accept help, moody, intolerant, unrealistic
Health – Overall good but suffer from stress and tension so need yoga or walking
Compatibility – Compatible with Monkeys and Rats but not Oxen and Goats

Year of the Snake
Basics – the bad boy of the zodiac

Strengths – Intelligent, analytical, good communicators, wise, financially skilled
Weaknesses – materialistic, jealous, suspicious, easily have trust issues
Health – Good but easily stressed by lack of peace and order
Compatibility – Compatible with Roosters and Oxen but not Pigs and Monkeys

Year of the Horse
Basics – The party animals
Strengths – strong, energetic, outgoing, quick learners, friendly
Weaknesses – self centred, prone to tantrums, don’t finish things, bad listeners
Health – Very healthy and suffer when confined
Compatibility – Compatible with Dogs and Tigers but not Rats or Monkeys


Year of the Sheep (Goat)
Basics – loners and deep thinkers
Strengths – creative, intelligent, dependable, calm, polite, filial, kind
Weaknesses – introspective, moody, sensitive, pessimistic, weak willed
Health – Very good health but heart ache can cause illnesses
Compatibility – Compatible with Rabbits and Pigs but not Rats and Oxen


Chinese Zodiac Monkey The Chinese Zodiac Calendar   History, Dates and MoreYear of the Monkey
Basics – The Playful tricksters
Strengths – Clever, curious, creative, thrive on challenge, flexible, self assured
Weaknesses – tend to create ill will, jealous, suspicious, cunning, selfish, arrogant
Health – Rarely ill due to active life styles. Nervousness can cause health issues
Compatibility – Compatible with Rats and Dragons but not Horses or Snakes

Year of the Rooster
Basics – Pompous, crass attention seekers

Strengths – Loyalty, trustworthy, honest, ambitious, warm hearted, independent
Weaknesses – Pride, blunt, mood swings, arrogant, eccentric
Health – Active life styles gives good health but prone to taking on too much and stress
Compatibility – Compatible with Oxen and Snakes but not Goats and Rabbits


Year of the Dog
Basics – loyal and reliable like their animal namesakes

Strengths – Kind, attentive, loyal, straightforward, courageous, warm hearted
Weaknesses – Nosy, temperamental, narrow minded, stubborn
Health – Their health depends on their level of happiness. Very resilient.
Compatibility – Compatible with Horses and Tigers but not Roosters or Dragons


Year of the Pig
Basics – Know how to enjoy life and associated with wealth

Strengths – Diligent, compassionate, generous, peaceful, honest, strong, tolerant
Weaknesses – Naïve, frivolous, easily taken advantage of, hot tempered, impulsive
Health – Indulgence and lack of active life style tends to cause health issues
Compatibility – Compatible with Rabbits and Goats but not Monkeys and Snakes

The History of the Chinese Zodiac

The custom of the Chinese Zodiac has been an integral and important part of China for almost 2000 years and goes back to the Han Dynasty (206-220AD) when the number 12 was the main unit for measuring time. 12 comes from the number of full moons in one year and is also used in dividing a day into 12 periods called Shi Chen and grouping 12 years into one period called Ji.

The most popular legend behind the custom is a race that Buddha invited all the animals to take part in. Buddha said that the first 12 animals to cross the river that was the finish line would appear in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The Rat came first by using his intelligence. The Rat knew the Ox was the strongest swimmer so he rode on the Ox’s back and jumped just before the finish line and ran across just before the Ox who came second. The Tiger is a very strong animal so he came third.

The Rabbit is a naturally fast jumper and was helped across the river at the end by the kind and magnanimous Dragon. The Snake hid in the hoof of the horse and emerged at the last minute scaring the Horse who crossed after him. The Sheep, Monkey and Rooster helped each other to finish the race and earn their spots in the calendar. The Dog also finished the race but came 11th because it thought having a bath in the river was more important than a good position. The Pig came last came last because it was the worst of the animals at running and swimming.

Life in China and the Chinese Zodiac

Children – The Chinese are big on choosing auspicious (lucky) dates for weddings, starting businesses, holidays, starting journeys AND the birth of their children. Many parents will deliberately have plan the birth of their children to coincide with good years such as Dragon or Tiger years and these years experience mini baby booms. They also try to avoid having children on less auspicious years like the year of the Snake. Cesarean births are not uncommon to as a way of making sure children are born in the right year.

Dating & Marriage – Traditionally when arranged marriages where the go and parents relied on match makers to find a spouse for their children Zodiac compatibility was a must. Marriages between opposing zodiacs were a no no and if given a choice, parents would only consider compatible zodiacs. Even in modern China a lot of attention is paid to some ones birth year and you’ll score or lose a lot of points based on the compatibility of your birth year.

Employment – Many employers will focus on the attributes of a person’s birth year when deciding if a candidate has the right character and attitude for a particular job. A candidate being picked over a more qualified applicant just because of their birth year is very common.

Why Wear Red Underwear? – Chinese believe that on you birth year (if you are a pig, your birth year is every pig year) you run the risk of offending the celestial being  who controls peoples fortune. The way to avoid misfortune is to wear red clothes such as underwear. The clothing must be bought by some one else or it will lose most of its effectiveness.

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1 Comment

  1. Louis says:

    This year is Dragon year. Unfortunately I am a "little dragon". A lot of things went not well with me. So how I wish 2013 could come very soon. Anyway thanks for you interesting post.

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