Chinese Zodiac Signs: Which Animal Are You?

By Author: Simone Jonker
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A different animal is assigned to each year in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Throughout the ages, Chinese astrology has been customarily used by billions of people in the Far East. According to historical data, Chinese astrology is recognized to have originated in the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – A.D. 220).

The legend of Buddha

One Chinese New Year, more than five centuries before Christ, Buddha invited all the animals in creation to come before him. He promised to reward each appropriately with his all-powerful and miraculous generosity. However, most animals were too busy eating, sleeping, or coupling, so they did not heed Buddha’s call.

Yet 12 of the animals did go to him. They were the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. To thank them, Buddha offered each a year that would be dedicated to them alone. It would not only carry the animal’s name, but their specific psychological traits would also mark the personality of the people born during that year.

Thus a lunar cycle of 12 years was established in perfect sync with the emblems of the 12 animals. Each animal in the zodiac is associated with its own element — metal, wood, earth, water, or fire — while each year is also assigned an element. The combination of these two is said to define one’s personality.

Each animal in the zodiac is associated with its own element — metal, wood, earth, water, or fire. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The emperors

Emperor Hui Zong of the Song Dynasty was born in the Year of the Dog. Legend has it that he, therefore, issued an imperial decree banning the killing of dogs. Because Emperor Ren Zong of the Yuan Dynasty was born in the Year of the Rooster, he issued an imperial decree strictly forbidding anyone from carrying a chicken upside down. If anyone was found within the capital violating this law, he or she would be seriously punished without pity.

Emperor Wu Zong of the Ming Dynasty was born in the Year of the Pig. He was therefore against the slaughtering of pigs. In the year 1519, he issued a royal decree forbidding pigs to be raised and slaughtered. The punishment for anyone violating this law was that they would be jailed and put in isolation. However, the following year during the Qing Ming Festival, according to Chinese tradition, the emperor and the common people were required to sacrifice pigs to honor their ancestors. As there were no more pigs available to be sacrificed, the law was promptly abolished.

What animal are you?

It’s important to note that every sign is like a small world, completely independent of all the other signs. Try altering your mindset to a more Eastern way of thinking when studying the Chinese Zodiac. Instead of asking: “What can I have?” try asking: “Who can I be?”


Charming, sociable, creative, oversteps boundaries

Born: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

(Image: Leo Gonzales via flickr CC BY 2.0 )
People born in the Year of the Rat are said to be charming, sociable, and creative. (Image: Leo Gonzales via flickr CC BY 2.0 )


Strong-willed, leader, honest, patient, bad loser  

Born: 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009


Independent, generous, leader, tempestuous

Born: 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010


Sensitive, peacemakers, passive, detached

Born: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011


Proud, assertive, intelligent, pushy, intolerant

Born: 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

(Image: Leo Gonzales via flickr CC BY 2.0 )
People born in the Year of the Dragon are thought of as proud, assertive, and intelligent. (Image: Leo Gonzales via flickr CC BY 2.0 )


Deep, complex, sophisticated, quick-tempered

Born: 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013


Popular, alert, honest freedom-loving, impulsive

Born: 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014


Pure, kind, fair, persevering, defensive

Born : 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015


Witty, clever, inventive, crafty, a bit of a tease

Born: 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

(Image: Leo Gonzales via flickr CC BY 2.0 )
People born in the Year of the Monkey are known to be witty, clever, inventive, and crafty. (Image: Leo Gonzales via flickr CC BY 2.0 )


Flamboyant, hardworking, outspoken, quarrelsome

Born: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017


Cheerful, dedicated, honest, loyal, alert, emotional

Born: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018


Honest, kind, generous, funny, stubborn  

Born: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

To find out your matching color based on the zodiac, click here. The Chinese Zodiac is a timeless mystery. It can be compared to “a dance of destiny,” with each animal mastering its own steps.

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