What Are The 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs And How To Calculate?

 Besides their love for the color red, the other thing that the Chinese are known for a little too well is the fact that they are very much into zodiac signs, and they take this aspect of their lives rather seriously. But do you know what different Chinese zodiac signs, specifically their zodiac years mean? Well, this article looks at everything you need to know about the Chinese zodiac years, signs, elements, and animals, as well as their orders.

So, let’s get started!

First things first,

what is chinese zodiac?

The Chinese zodiac, also known as Sheng Xiao, is a 12-year cycle where each year is represented by a different animal. The 12 animals in the cycle, in order, are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat (or sheep), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

Each animal is believed to have its own unique characteristics and personalities, and people born in a particular year are said to inherit those traits. The Chinese zodiac is widely used in China and other East Asian countries as a means of determining personality traits, compatibility between partners, and even forecasting the future.

In addition to the 12-year cycle, the Chinese zodiac is also divided into five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each element is associated with a different set of years, so a person’s Chinese zodiac sign may be influenced by both their birth year and the element associated with it.

The Basics of Chinese Zodiac

Chinese zodiac, known as sheng xiao in Chinese (loosely translates to ‘born resembling’), can be defined as the repeating cycle which happens every 12 years, where each year is represented by a specific animal and, by extension, the animal’s reputable attributes.

The Chinese zodiac signs are based on the repetitive 12-animal signs cycle, which is divided on an annual basis. These signs are said to date back to a myth associated with the Jade Emperor or the Supreme Immortal. It’s believed that this emperor, when coming up with the Chinese calendar, would have all the creatures known on earth summoned, and these creatures would then take part in a race. Out of these creatures, the top 12 animals to cross the finish line first would be awarded signs and placed in an order that was specific to the Chinese Zodiac.

What Are The 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals In Order?

There are 12 Chinese zodiac signs associated with animals. The order of the zodiac animals is as follows – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Each of these Zodiac animal signs is said to come around after every 12 years, with each year associated with a specific zodiac animal.

12 Animals Of The Chinese Zodiac List

So, what do these animals mean? Or rather, which are their personalities? And what is the relationship between the zodiac signs and animals and being lucky or unlucky in life?

First, let’s take a look at the bit that has to do with luck.

According to a popular folk Chinese saying, 9 out of 10 goats aren’t enough – in Chinese, this is十羊九不全 and it translates directly to 10 Goats, 9 Incomplete. The meaning derived from this phrase is that most people who are born during the year of the goat often end up being unlucky in life. This belief/ saying is also the reason why most Chinese people believe that persons that are born in the Goat Year often end up not as leaders but as followers. Of course, this pegs more on the superstitious side of things and rather an outdated belief, but it would appear that these beliefs still have an impact on Chinese societies today.

On the contrary, the animal zodiac sign that is highly coveted in Chinese culture is that of the Dragon. And the Chinese people actually plan to have the births of their kids coincide with the years of the Dragon. As a result, throughout Chinese Cultures, the most popular animal zodiac signs include the Dragon. This is followed by the Rat, Snake, Tiger, or Pig.

But if you think about it rationally, you will find that it’s rather hard for you to identify either the luckiest or the unluckiest zodiac signs, especially because the zodiac signs have their advantages as well as disadvantages, and with combinations of zodiac signs said to bring about variations in relational dynamics, it makes sense that the Chinese people are rather obsessed with the animal zodiac signs.

Below, we’ll look at different animal personalities, along with the horoscopes for 2021. Who knows, this might be your best yet!

Chinese Zodiac Rat

The rat’s personality traits can be summarized as resourceful, quick-witted, kind, and versatile. The rat’s horoscope shows that 2021 is, however, the year of the Ox, but generally, the year holds great fortune for people born in the year of the rat. This is because the zodiac signs for the year of the rat and ox have a good positive relationship; the rat people can expect good fortunes and for the year to run smoothly.

The lucky colors for people born in the year of the rat include green, blue, and gold, and the lucky colors are 2 and 3, as well as all other numbers that have these digits in them, so, 32 or 23.

Chinese Zodiac Ox

2021 is the year of the Ox. This zodiac sign is characterized by the following traits of the Ox – diligence, strength, determination, and being dependent. The lucky numbers for people born in the year of the ox are yellow, green, and white, and the lucky numbers for this zodiac are 5 and 5, as well as numbers with these digits, such as 65 and 56.

Chinese Zodiac Tiger

The tiger is said to be resourceful, kind, versatile, and quick-witted. For people with the tiger zodiac sign, 2021 is a rather mixed year, but for a tiger, the key to success over tumultuous situations is able to condition oneself and relax. Unfortunately, financial and career performances for the Tigers are expected to be rather flat in 2021, although they’d be lucky emotionally. If you are single, there is a good chance that you will make a positive connection this year. Regarding health, the tigers are encouraged to be on alert, even with the smallest physical ailments.

The lucky colors for tigers are orange, blue, and gray, while tigers’ lucky numbers are 1,3, and 4 – including 13 and 43 or other numbers with these digits.

Chinese Zodiac Rabbit

Rabbits are kind, quiet, responsible, and elegant. And the rabbit’s zodiac sign shows that rabbits will have a stable time in 2021, and they should also expect richness and help from powerful people. The lucky colors for rabbits are pink, red, blue, and purple. Their lucky numbers include 3, 4, and 6, including variations of these numbers like 46 and 34.

Chinese Zodiac Dragon

The dragon is confident, enthusiastic, and intelligent, and 2021 is said to be a mixed year for the Dragons. So, despite there being many opportunities in your career path, even the smallest blip and carelessness would result in adversity, meaning that Dragons must be careful in their deeds and words, as well as their interpersonal situations. Dragons should watch their health to avoid adverse effects.

The lucky colors for Dragons include grayish-white, silver, and gold, and their lucky numbers are 1, 6, and 7.

Chinese Zodiac Snake

The snake is intelligent, enigmatic, and wise. With 2021 being the year of the Ox, the Snake people should also expect this to be a good year for them, thanks to the calmness and intelligence of the Snake people. The lucky colors for the Snake people include yellow, red, and black, and their lucky numbers include 2, 8, and 9.

Chinese Zodiac Horse

The Horses (animated, energetic, and active) are, unfortunately, going to have a troubled year in 2021, but with some wise moves, the Horse people should expect good career performance. The Horse people may not have the best health in 2021, and they may also have terrible luck in terms of love and relationships. The lucky colors for the Horse people are yellow and green, and their lucky numbers 2/3/7.

Chinese Zodiac Goat

Goats are calm, sympathetic, and gentle, and the Goat People are required to be extra vigilant, especially because their fortunes in their careers and finances aren’t expected to be the most favorable. The Goat people face many difficulties in life, and they are largely mild-mannered but may still find themselves in constant conflict with their friends. The Goat People’s lucky colors include purple, red, and brown, and their lucky numbers are 2 and 7 or numbers with 2 and 7 in them, for example, 27 or 72.

Chinese Zodiac Monkey

Monkeys are curious, smart, and sharp. And in 2021, monkeys can expect a great fortune. Lucky numbers for monkeys are 4 and 9, while their lucky colors are blue, white, and gold.

Chinese Zodiac Rooster

Courageous, Hardworking, and Observant, the overall fortune of the Roosters is expected to be very stable in 2021, and as long as the Roosters work hard, they’ll find great deals. Their lucky colors are yellow, brown, and gold, while their lucky numbers are 5,7, and8.

Chinese Zodiac Dog

Though dogs are prudent, honest, and loving, 2021holds little luck for Dog people, these people will attract criticism from others, and they will also be trapped feeling fatigue and insomnia. Their lucky colors are purple, red, and green, while their lucky numbers are 3, 4, 9.

Chinese Zodiac Pig

Pgs are generous, compassionate, and diligent, and in 2021, they should expect great opportunities in terms of career and wealth. The lucky colors for the Pig people are gold, gray, yellow, and brown, and their lucky numbers are 2, 5, and 8.

Chinese zodiac history

The Chinese zodiac has a long history dating back to ancient China, where it was used as a means of measuring time and identifying the year in which people were born. The origins of the zodiac are not clear, but one theory is that it may have developed from animal worship and shamanism in ancient China.

The 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac were first mentioned in literature during the Warring States period (475–221 BCE). The first written record of the zodiac system as we know it today was in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), where it was used for divination and astrology. The Han Dynasty also introduced the use of the zodiac as a way of calculating the age of the emperor, which was thought to bring good fortune.

Over time, the zodiac system became more widely used, and its association with the Chinese New Year celebrations became firmly established. According to legend, the Jade Emperor decided to select 12 animals to represent each year of the Chinese zodiac, and the order in which they were chosen was based on a race between the animals. Each animal had to cross a river, and the order in which they arrived on the other side determined their place in the zodiac cycle.

Today, the Chinese zodiac remains an important part of Chinese culture and is celebrated every year during the Chinese New Year festival. People born in the year of a particular animal are believed to inherit that animal’s personality traits, and the zodiac is used as a means of determining compatibility between partners, forecasting the future, and making important life decisions.

who invented the Chinese zodiac signs?

The origin of the Chinese zodiac is disputed, with some experts believing it originated from the Han Dynasty philosopher Wang Chong. Scholars have debated and speculated on the origin of the zodiac, with no definitive conclusion. Some argue for an “imported” origin, while others support a “local” one. However, with the discovery of the Qin bamboo slips, the “local” theory seems more convincing.

Wang Chong mentioned eleven of the twelve zodiac animals, excluding the dragon, in the “Natural Phenomenon” chapter of the “Discourses Weighed in the Balance” during the Eastern Han Dynasty. This chapter mainly discusses the correspondence between the twelve earthly branches and the twelve zodiac animals, as well as the five elements corresponding to the twelve earthly branches. It is well-known that the five elements interact with and influence each other, so the twelve zodiac animals also have interactions and influences on each other. This later became a popular superstition, especially in matters of marriage, where people would first check if their zodiac signs were compatible.

However, Wang Chong refuted this popular belief, using an example of how the rat (which represents water) could defeat the horse (which represents fire) as a counter-argument. He believed that the superstition was baseless. In the “Discourses Weighed in the Balance” chapter “Words on Poison,” Wang Chong mentioned that “dragon” corresponds to the “chen” earthly branch, which completed the twelve zodiac animals.

when was the Chinese zodiac invented?

1.As an ancient folk cultural phenomenon, the origin of the Chinese zodiac has been debated by scholars throughout history. Some believe that the zodiac is related to the Earthly Branches and can be traced back to the legendary era before recorded history. The “Annals of History” records that Huangdi “built the jiazi to mark the years” and “Da Nao made the jiazi” which reflects this kind of statement. Scholars believe that the jiazi mentioned here refers to the Chinese zodiac. During the Qing Dynasty, scholar Zhao Yi believed that the zodiac originated from the nomadic peoples of northern China. In his “Gaiyu Congkao,” he said, “In the beginning, the northern customs did not have the twelve earthly branches of Zi, Chou, Yin, and so on, but used animals like rats, cows, tigers, and rabbits to divide the years. This practice gradually spread throughout China and has been passed down to this day.” Some scholars even believe that the zodiac is an imported concept, originating from ancient Babylon and brought to China. Guo Moruo is a representative of this view, and he states in his “Research on Oracle Bone Inscriptions and the Explanation of the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches” that “The twelve zodiac signs exist in Babylon, Egypt, and India, but they are not very ancient, none of them predating the Western calendar by more than a hundred years. This is because during the Han Dynasty, the countries of the Western Regions imitated Babylon’s twelve constellations and established them, which then spread to the surrounding areas.” These views are all subjective, and it is difficult to make a judgment on their accuracy. However, extensive literature indicates that the zodiac did indeed originate in China, as it is a product of the early animal worship and totemism, as well as the early astronomy of the Chinese ancestors.

2.The earliest written record of the Chinese zodiac can be found in the Book of Songs, specifically in the poem “Ji Ri” from the section “Xiao Ya”. The poem contains the line “On the auspicious day of Gengwu, they sent me out with a horse”, which indicates that the day of Gengwu (the combination of the heavenly stem Geng and the earthly branch Wu) was a good day for horse-riding and hunting. This is an example of the correspondence between the earthly branches and animals, and suggests that the association between the two was established and circulated in the Spring and Autumn period.

Further evidence for the existence of the Chinese zodiac during this time comes from bamboo strips discovered in the Sleepy Tiger site in Yunmeng County, Hubei province in 1975. One of the strips, from the “Jia” series of the “Ri Shu” (Book of Days), is titled “Thief” and contains descriptions of the physical features of thieves based on their birth years and corresponding zodiac animals. For example, “Zi, the rat, has a flat mouth and sparse beard… Chou, the ox, has a big nose and a long neck… Yin, the tiger, has sparse beard and a black face…”. The descriptions continue for all twelve animals of the zodiac.

Overall, these records indicate that the Chinese zodiac was already in existence and widely known during the Spring and Autumn period in ancient China.

3.The most systematic and earliest recorded version of the Chinese zodiac that closely matches the modern-day version can be found in Wang Chong’s “Lunheng” during the Eastern Han dynasty. The text describes each animal and its corresponding earthly branch, such as “Yin, the wood, and its animal, the tiger. Xu, the earth, and its animal, the dog… Wu, the fire, and its animal, the horse. Zi, the rat, and its animal, the rooster. Mao, the wood, and its animal, the rabbit… Hai, the water, and its animal, the pig. Wei, the earth, and its animal, the sheep. Chou, the earth, and its animal, the ox… Yi, the fire, and its animal, the snake. Shen, the metal, and its animal, the monkey.”

The description of the zodiac animals in this text covers eleven out of twelve animals, with the exception of the dragon, which is associated with the earthly branch Chen. However, the text “Yandu Pian” in the same book clarifies that Chen represents the dragon and Yi represents the snake, both located in the southeast. With this clarification, the twelve zodiac animals are complete, and their associations with the earthly branches are the same as the modern-day version. This can be considered one of the earliest and most complete recorded versions of the Chinese zodiac in ancient texts.

chinese zodiac origin story

Story One:

According to the concept of yin and yang, the twelve animals are divided into two categories, with the yin and yang of the animals determined by the odd and even number of their toes. The number of toes on the front, back, left, and right of most animals is generally the same, but the rat has four toes on the front and five toes on the back, which are odd and even, respectively. As rarity is valuable, it is ranked first. This is followed by the ox with four toes (even), the tiger with five toes (odd), the rabbit with four toes (even), the dragon with five toes (odd), the snake with no toes (even), the horse with one toe (odd), the sheep with four toes (even), the monkey with five toes (odd), the rooster with four toes (even), the dog with five toes (odd), and the pig with four toes (even). This theory was proposed by Hong Xun of the Song Dynasty, and later classified by Lang Ying of the Ming Dynasty in his book “Qixiu Leigao: The Twelve Zodiac Signs”. Lang Ying also proposed that when considering yin and yang, one should focus on the number of toes instead of the odd and even classification.

The rat has four claws on its front feet, which are even and yin, and five claws on its hind feet, which are odd and yang. The first half of the zi (rat) hour represents the yin of the previous night, while the second half represents the yang of the current day, so the rat is used to symbolize the zi hour. The hooves of the ox, sheep, and pig, as well as the four claws of the chicken, and the lack of lips and four claws of the rabbit, and the forked tongue of the snake, are all even and yin, accounting for six of the twelve earthly branches. The tiger has five claws, as well as the monkey and dog, and the horse’s hooves are round and not separated, which are all odd and yang, accounting for the remaining six earthly branches, including the rat, which is yang. Lang Ying’s classification method is similar to that of Hong Xun.

Story Two:

In ancient times, Emperor Huangdi of Xuanyuan wanted to select twelve animals to serve as palace guards. The cat applied for the position but was forgotten by the mouse, so the cat was not selected, and from then on, they became enemies. The elephant also came to apply but was scared away by a mouse that crawled into its nose, leaving the other animals to compete for the remaining spots. Originally, the ox was favored to be first, but the mouse climbed onto the ox’s back, and the pig joined in, causing the mouse to be ranked first and the pig to be last.

The tiger and dragon were dissatisfied and were named kings of the mountains and seas respectively, and were ranked behind the rat and ox. The rabbit also protested and had a race with the dragon, resulting in the rabbit being ranked ahead of the dragon. The dog was also unhappy and bit the rabbit in anger, so it was punished and ranked second to last. The snake, horse, sheep, monkey, and rooster also competed, and their ranks were determined one by one. Finally, the order of the twelve zodiac signs was established as follows: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig.

where did the Chinese zodiac come from?

The Chinese Zodiac, also known as Sheng Xiao, has a long history dating back to the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). Legend has it that the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven in Chinese mythology, invited all the animals in the world to participate in a race, and the order in which they finished would determine their position in the zodiac.

The 12 animals that finished the race in order were the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. These animals were then assigned to each of the 12 years in a repeating cycle, with each year associated with the traits of the animal it represents.

The Chinese zodiac has become an important part of Chinese culture, with many people using it to determine their compatibility with others, make important life decisions, and even predict their future. It is celebrated every year during the Chinese New Year, which falls between late January and mid-February, depending on the lunar calendar.

how long has the Chinese zodiac been around?

The Chinese zodiac has been around for over two thousand years. It originated during the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) and has since become an integral part of Chinese culture. The 12 animals that make up the zodiac were first used to represent the 12 months of the lunar calendar and were later assigned to each year in a repeating cycle. The Chinese zodiac has continued to be a popular and important part of Chinese culture, and it is celebrated every year during the Chinese New Year.

how does the Chinese zodiac work?

The Chinese zodiac is a cycle of 12 animal signs, with each sign representing a year in the lunar calendar. The 12 animal signs are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat (or sheep), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

Each animal sign is believed to have certain characteristics and traits that are associated with it, and people born in a particular year are said to inherit those traits. For example, those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be intelligent, resourceful, and quick-witted, while those born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be strong, ambitious, and confident.

The Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle, with each year associated with one of the animal signs. It is believed that the year in which a person is born affects their personality, relationships, and future prospects. In addition, each animal sign is also associated with one of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) which further influences the personality traits and characteristics of individuals born in a particular year.

The Chinese zodiac is widely used in China and other East Asian countries for various purposes, such as matchmaking, fortune-telling, and selecting auspicious dates for important events. It is also an important part of Chinese culture and is celebrated during the Chinese New Year with traditional rituals and customs.

why is there no cat in the Chinese zodiac?

The reason why the cat is not one of the 12 zodiac animals is:

  1. When the 12 zodiac animals were determined, domestic cats had not yet become widely established in China, and many people were not familiar with the species.
  • According to relevant information, the domestic cats in China originated from the Indian desert cat, which entered China around the reign of Emperor Ming of Han Dynasty. At that time, the communication between China and India was frequent through Buddhism. It is recorded in literature that the 12 zodiac animals first appeared in the Spring and Autumn Period of the Western Zhou Dynasty, and had been widely spread since the Eastern Han Dynasty. Therefore, the cat did not appear in the 12 zodiac animals.

why are the zodiac signs in that order?

As mentioned earlier, the zodiac originated from ancient animal worship and totem worship. People used animals to represent ordinal symbols and match them with the earthly branches. There is no consensus on why these 12 animals were chosen, who came first or last, or what order they should be arranged in. Due to the antiquity of the zodiac’s origins, people have lost the original intent behind the arrangement. Modern legends and stories are only attached to it, relying on myths and imagination. There are roughly three explanations for the arrangement of the zodiac:

The first is the folk legend of the zodiac arrangement. According to Han ethnic folklore, when Emperor Huangdi of Xuanyuan was selecting 12 animals to serve as palace guards, the cat asked the mouse to help it register, but the mouse forgot and the cat was not selected, leading to a long-standing grudge between the two. The elephant also participated in the competition but was driven away by the mouse crawling into its nose. Originally, the ox was supposed to be the first, but the mouse jumped onto the ox’s back, followed by the pig. As a result, the mouse was ranked first, and the pig was ranked last. The tiger and the dragon were not satisfied and were named the kings of the mountains and the sea, respectively, and were ranked behind the mouse and the ox. The rabbit was not satisfied and challenged the dragon to a race, resulting in it being ranked ahead of the dragon. The dog was also dissatisfied and bit the rabbit in anger, leading to its being ranked second to last. The snake, horse, sheep, monkey, and rooster also underwent a series of challenges and were ranked one by one, resulting in the order of the zodiac being formed as follows: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Although folk legends do not offer a scientific explanation to the problem, they reflect people’s desire to explain the selection of the 12 zodiac animals.

The second explanation of the Chinese zodiac is from the perspective of the twelve earthly branches and their relationship with animals. According to this interpretation, the Rat is associated with the midnight hour because it is believed to have been responsible for creating a gap in the chaos of the universe, known as “biting through the darkness.” The Ox is linked to the hour of the Ox, which is associated with the cultivation of land. The Tiger is associated with the hour of the Tiger, which is associated with birth and death. The Rabbit is associated with the hour of the Rabbit, which represents the dawn and the transition from night to day. The Dragon is associated with the hour of the Dragon, which occurs during the rainy season in the third lunar month. The Snake is linked to the hour of the Snake, which is associated with the arrival of spring and the flourishing of vegetation. The Horse is linked to the hour of the Horse, which represents the afternoon and the balance between yin and yang. The Goat is linked to the hour of the Goat, which is associated with the time of day when grazing is best. The Monkey is associated with the hour of the Monkey, which occurs just before sunset when monkeys are most active. The Rooster is linked to the hour of the Rooster, which represents the appearance of the moon and its association with water. The Dog is linked to the hour of the Dog, which represents the time of night when dogs keep watch. Finally, the Pig is linked to the hour of the Pig, which represents the time of night when the world is shrouded in darkness. This interpretation was favored by the famous Song Dynasty philosopher Zhu Xi.

There are three explanations for the order of the Chinese zodiac animals. The first is based on the order of their arrival to the Jade Emperor’s party. The second is based on the Buddhist story of the Great Race. The third is based on the Chinese belief in yin and yang, which classifies the twelve animals into yin and yang categories based on the odd or even number of their toes. The order is rat (odd), ox (even), tiger (odd), rabbit (even), dragon (odd), snake (even), horse (odd), sheep (even), monkey (odd), rooster (even), dog (odd), and pig (even). This classification method was proposed by Hong Xun during the Song dynasty and further developed by Lang Ying during the Ming dynasty. Lang Ying’s method considered the number of toes instead of the odd or even number of toes. The purpose of this classification was to relate the zodiac animals to the Five Elements and the yin and yang principles in Chinese culture, which explains other cultural phenomena related to human life. The rich folklore surrounding the zodiac animals has not only enriched their content but also promoted the development and inheritance of the zodiac culture.

Chinese zodiac signs with elements

The Chinese zodiac signs with elements are as follows:

Rat (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water)

Ox (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Earth)

Tiger (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood)

Rabbit (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood)

Dragon (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Earth)

Snake (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire)

Horse (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire)

Goat/Sheep (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Earth)

Monkey (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal)

Rooster (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal)

Dog (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Earth)

Pig (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water)

Each of the 12 zodiac signs is associated with one of the five elements (water, wood, fire, earth, metal), and the element is believed to influence the personality traits and destiny of people born under that sign. For example, someone born in the Year of the Rat with the Water element is believed to be intelligent, adaptable, and resourceful.

Zodiac signs in Taoism

The zodiac signs were originally a set of symbols used to record years, and were part of ancient astronomical calendars. Later, they became widely recognized as a zodiac calendar. The ancient Chinese philosophical belief is that “Heaven and Man are one” and that “Yin Yang and the Five Elements are the foundation of the universe.” They believed that Yin Yang and the Five Elements determine the survival and development of all things in the world. The sun and the moon are the source of Yin Yang, and the Five Elements – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth – are the foundation of everything, and together with the sun, moon, and stars, they are called the Seven Luminaries. The seven luminaries were used in the past to name the seven days of the week. Sunday is referred to as “Ri (sun) You (luminaries) Ri (day)” and Monday is referred to as “Yue (moon) You (luminaries) Ri (day)” and so on.

The zodiac signs were placed in the heavens to mark the twelve earthly branches, and were linked to the Seven Luminaries. Therefore, the concept of Yin Yang and the Five Elements influenced the zodiac signs, making them a part of folk religious beliefs.

Since the concept of the zodiac signs appeared in folk culture, it has continued to be passed down through fortune telling. The folk belief is that each of the five elements has a mutual restraint, and can have a significant impact on a person’s life. People can use different five-element elements to coordinate and make their lives and work go smoothly. Folklore divides the zodiac animals into yin and yang categories, corresponding to the Five Elements, creating a set of fortune-telling techniques that determine fate based on the zodiac. Folklore also believes that the zodiac signs are related to a person’s personality, and even people of the same sign may have different personalities and destinies due to the time of their birth.

Chinese Zodiac is in Paper Cuttings

Chinese Zodiac paper cuttings are a popular form of traditional Chinese folk art. Paper cutting, or Jianzhi, is the art of cutting paper into intricate designs using scissors or knives. The Chinese Zodiac is a common subject for paper cutting, and each zodiac animal is often depicted in a unique and intricate design.

Paper cuttings featuring the Chinese Zodiac are often used for decorations during the Lunar New Year, which is when the zodiac animals are celebrated in Chinese culture. These paper cuttings are displayed on doors, windows, and walls, and are believed to bring good luck and fortune to the household.

Each zodiac animal has its own meaning and symbolism in Chinese culture, and paper cuttings often incorporate these meanings into the design. For example, a paper cutting featuring the rat may include elements such as wealth and prosperity, as the rat is considered a symbol of abundance and success in Chinese culture.

Overall, Chinese Zodiac paper cuttings are a beautiful and intricate art form that showcase the rich cultural heritage of China.

Chinese zodiac in New Year 

The Chinese zodiac plays a significant role in the celebration of the Chinese New Year, which usually falls between January 21st and February 20th. Each year is associated with one of the 12 zodiac animals, and it is believed that the animal that rules the year has a profound influence on the fortunes and personalities of individuals born in that year.

During the Chinese New Year celebrations, people decorate their homes and public spaces with images of the zodiac animal of the year. This is typically done with red and gold paper cutouts, lanterns, and other decorations. The decorations are intended to bring good luck, happiness, and prosperity in the new year.

In addition to the decorations, Chinese New Year is a time for family reunions, feasting, and exchanging gifts. People often wear red clothing and give red envelopes filled with money as a symbol of good luck.

The Chinese zodiac also plays a role in the traditional Chinese calendar, which is based on both the lunar and solar cycles. Each of the 12 zodiac animals is associated with a cycle of 12 years, and the calendar rotates through each animal every 12 years. This means that people who were born in the same year share the same zodiac sign, and that sign will repeat every 12 years.

zodiac sign is in yin and yang

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are two complementary, yet opposing, principles that are believed to be present in all aspects of the universe. Yin represents the feminine, negative, and passive aspect, while yang represents the masculine, positive, and active aspect.

The Chinese zodiac signs are also believed to have a yin and yang aspect. For example, the Rat, Dragon, Monkey, Dog, and Pig are considered to be yang signs, while the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Snake, Horse, and Goat are considered to be yin signs. This categorization is based on the balance of yin and yang energy within each animal sign.

Furthermore, each zodiac animal is also associated with a particular element and a particular year in the 12-year cycle. The combination of the animal sign, element, and year is believed to provide insight into a person’s personality traits and destiny.

zodiac sign is on the head of the beast

The Twelve Bronze Animal Heads, also known as the Chinese Zodiac animal heads, were originally part of a fountain outside the Haiyan Hall in the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, China. They were cast in bronze during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty and include the ox, monkey, tiger, pig, rat, rabbit, horse, snake, rooster, dog, sheep, and dragon.

In 1860, the Old Summer Palace was destroyed by the British and French armies during the Second Opium War, and the animal heads were looted and taken overseas. As of 2022, seven of the animal heads have been returned to China through various means, but the whereabouts of the remaining five (dragon, dog, snake, sheep, and rooster) remain unknown.

The bronze animal heads have a unique design, with a realistic style for the head and a carved stone body dressed in traditional Chinese clothing. The craftsmanship is exquisite, with fine details such as wrinkles and fur that are clear and realistic.

The bronze used to cast the animal heads was a refined red copper that had a deep and lustrous color, and after hundreds of years, they have not rusted, making them a true marvel.

According to historical records, the twelve bronze animal heads were arranged in the shape of the Chinese character “八” around a pool in front of the Haiyan Hall, and they were known as the “water clock” because they would rotate and spray water to represent different times of the day. At noon, all twelve animal heads would spray water simultaneously.

Chinese zodiac signs VS constellations

Chinese zodiac signs and constellations are two different systems used for divination and astrology.

The Chinese zodiac signs are based on a 12-year cycle, with each year corresponding to an animal sign: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat/Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The animal signs are believed to influence a person’s personality, compatibility with others, and fortune.

On the other hand, constellations are groups of stars that form patterns in the night sky. In Western astrology, the 12 zodiac signs are based on the constellations that the Sun passes through over the course of a year. Each sign is associated with certain personality traits, compatibility with other signs, and predictive qualities.

While both systems are used for divination and astrology, the Chinese zodiac signs are more closely associated with Chinese culture and philosophy, while constellations are more closely associated with Western astrology and astronomy. Additionally, the Chinese zodiac signs are based on a 12-year cycle, while Western astrology is based on a 12-month cycle.

Chinese zodiac signs VS astrology

Chinese zodiac signs and astrology are two different systems for interpreting and predicting the influence of celestial bodies on human life.

The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year represented by an animal sign. It is believed that a person’s personality, traits, and fortune are influenced by the animal sign that corresponds to their birth year. This system is deeply rooted in Chinese culture and is widely used in everyday life, from choosing a partner to predicting auspicious days for important events.

Astrology, on the other hand, is a system that uses the positions and movements of celestial bodies, such as planets and stars, to interpret and predict events and influences on human life. Astrology is widely practiced around the world, and there are different schools of thought and methods for interpreting astrological charts and predictions.

While both Chinese zodiac signs and astrology are used to interpret and predict the influence of celestial bodies on human life, they are based on different systems and traditions. Chinese zodiac signs are deeply rooted in Chinese culture and have a long history, while astrology has been practiced in various forms throughout the world for thousands of years.

Chinese zodiac signs VS solar terms

Chinese zodiac signs and solar terms are both related to the traditional Chinese calendar, but they serve different purposes.

The Chinese zodiac signs are a set of twelve symbols used to represent years in the lunar calendar, with each year being associated with a different animal sign. The Chinese zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle, with each year corresponding to a different animal sign, starting with the rat and ending with the pig. The zodiac signs are believed to influence a person’s character, destiny, and compatibility with others.

On the other hand, solar terms are a set of 24 points in the traditional East Asian lunisolar calendar that are used to mark the changing of the seasons and the agricultural cycle. Each solar term is associated with a particular event or natural phenomenon, such as the start of spring or the summer solstice. Solar terms are used to guide agricultural activities, such as planting and harvesting, and to determine festival dates.

In summary, while the Chinese zodiac signs focus on personality traits and compatibility, solar terms focus on agricultural and seasonal activities.

Chinese zodiac signs VS sixty-year cycle

The Chinese zodiac signs and the sixty-year cycle are both important concepts in Chinese astrology, but they are not the same.

The Chinese zodiac signs are based on a 12-year cycle, with each year represented by an animal: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat/Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each animal has its own unique characteristics and is believed to influence the personality and destiny of individuals born in that year.

On the other hand, the sixty-year cycle is a combination of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs and the ten Heavenly Stems and twelve Earthly Branches. Each year in the cycle is represented by a unique combination of a Heavenly Stem and an Earthly Branch, creating 60 different combinations in total. These combinations are used in Chinese astrology to identify auspicious and inauspicious years for different purposes such as weddings, business ventures, and other important events.

In summary, while the Chinese zodiac signs and the sixty-year cycle are both important concepts in Chinese astrology, they have different applications and are not the same thing.

Chinese zodiac signs VS earthly branches

Chinese zodiac signs and earthly branches are closely related concepts in Chinese astrology and calendar.

The earthly branches, also known as the Twelve Branches, are a system of twelve terms used to mark the years, months, and hours in the Chinese calendar. Each earthly branch is associated with an animal, a color, a direction, and an element, forming a complex system of correspondences and associations.

The Chinese zodiac signs, on the other hand, are a cycle of twelve animal signs that are used to represent the years in a twelve-year cycle. Each animal sign is associated with certain personality traits and is believed to influence the fortunes and destinies of people born in that year.

Although the Chinese zodiac signs and the earthly branches are both based on a twelve-year cycle and use animal symbolism, they serve different purposes and have different implications in Chinese astrology and culture. The earthly branches are more closely associated with the Chinese calendar and its use in determining auspicious times for various activities, while the zodiac signs are more commonly used for character analysis and fortune-telling.

How To Know Your Chinese Zodiac Sign And Element

The 12 animal signs above, along with the five elements in the universe, are all associated with the Chinese calendar, which starts in the second new moon of the year. There also are Feng Shui elements (birth) that you should be aware of for you to determine your Chinese zodiac sign.

Generally, your birth element is determined by the last digit of your lunar or the Chinese birth year.

  • Metal– for people whose birth years end in either 0 or 1.
  • Water – applies to persons whose birth years end with a 2 or 3
  • Wood – this is for people born in years ending in 4 or 5
  • Fire – applies to people born in years that end ion 6 or 7
  • Earth – this is the element for people whose birth years end in either 8 or 9.

For persons born between 1980 and 2021, here are their Chinese Zodiac animal signs.

  • Rat: 2/2/84 to 2/19/85, 2/19/96 to 2/6/97, 2/7/08 to 1/25/09, 1/25/20 to 2/11/21
  • Ox: 2/20/85 to 2/8/86, 2/7/97 to 1/27/98, 1/26/09 to 2/13/10
  • Tiger: 2/9/86 to 1/28/87, 1/28/98 to 2/15/99, 2/14/10 to 2/2/11
  • Rabbit: 1/29/87 to 2/16/88, 2/16/99 to 2/4/00, 2/3/11 to 1/22/12
  • Dragon: 2/17/88 to 2/5/89, 2/5/00 to 1/23/01, 1/23/12 to 2/9/13
  • Snake: 2/6/89 to 1/26/90, 1/24/01 to 2/11/02, 2/10/13 to 1/30/14
  • Horse: 2/7/78 to 1/27/79, 1/27/90 to 2/14/91, 2/12/02 to 1/31/03, 1/31/14 to 2/18/15
  • Goat: 1/28/79 to 2/15/80, 2/15/91 to 2/3/92, 2/1/03 to 1/21/04, 2/19/15 to 2/7/16
  • Monkey: 2/16/80 to 2/4/81, 2/4/92 to 1/22/93, 1/22/04 to 2/8/05, 2/8/16 to 1/27/17
  • Rooster: 2/5/81 to 1/24/82, 1/23/93 to 2/9/94, 2/9/05 to 1/28/06, 1/28/17 to 2/15/18
  • Dog: 1/25/82 to 2/12/83, 2/10/94 to 1/30/95, 1/29/06 to 2/17/07, 2/16/18 to 2/4/19
  • Pig: 2/13/83 to 2/1/84, 1/31/95 to 2/18/96, 2/18/07 to 2/6/08, 2/5/19 to 1/24/20

So, there you have the basics of Chinese zodiac signs.

Bronze Statues of Animal Heads of the Twelve Zodiac Signs in Yuanmingyuan

The bronze animal head statues of the twelve zodiac signs in the Old Summer Palace, known as Yuanmingyuan in Chinese, were created as a part of the Haiyan Hall, built in 1759 during the Qing Dynasty (in the 24th year of the Qianlong reign). The name “Haiyan” symbolizes the concept of “clear rivers and tranquil seas, bringing peace and prosperity to the nation and its people.” The phrase “He Qing Hai Yan” (literally “clear river and tranquil sea”) or “Hai Yan He Qing” (with the order of the words reversed) originally referred to the clear waters of the Yellow River and the calmness of the sea, signifying peace and harmony. The name “Haiyan Hall” in the imperial gardens of Yuanmingyuan was chosen to embody this auspicious meaning of praising world peace.

The animal head statues, representing the twelve zodiac signs, were designed by the Jesuit missionary Giuseppe Castiglione, also known as Lang Shining, who served in China. Each animal head symbolized two hours of a day, and the statues would spout water in a rotating manner, creating a magnificent spectacle. In 1860, during the Second Opium War, the animal head statues were looted by the British and French forces, and they scattered around the world. However, some of the statues have been returned to China since then.

As of May 2013, the Ox, Monkey, Tiger, and Pig head statues have been returned to China and are housed in the Poly Art Museum. On November 13, 2019, as a gift to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 20th anniversary of the return of Macau, Mr. Stanley Ho donated the Horse head statue to the National Cultural Heritage Administration. The Rat and Rabbit head statues were donated to China by the Pinault family in France and are now part of the collection of the National Museum of China. The whereabouts of the Snake, Rooster, Dog, and Sheep head statues remain unknown.

The looting of the animal head statues in 1860 was part of the destruction of the Old Summer Palace by the British and French forces. This event represents the loss of Chinese cultural relics, which has occurred on a large scale since the Opium Wars. Over the years, due to wars, looting, and illicit excavation, over a million Chinese cultural relics have been lost overseas. Chinese collections in well-known museums abroad amount to more than 1.6 million items, including those held by private collectors. The total number of Chinese cultural relics scattered overseas exceeds 17 million, surpassing the combined collection of museums and private collectors within China.

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