Understand Chinese zodiac and the 12 Zodiac Animal signs in a Easy Way

Chinese Zodiac Origins

In ancient China, people observed the movement of sunlight and created the Chinese Zodiac system. In astronomy, the zodiac is an area that extends approximately 8° north or south of the ecliptic(an imaginary line on the sky that marks the annual path of the sun). The zodiac cycle is based on a twelve-year cycle. To be understood easily, each year is represented by an animal sign. They are arranged in order of: mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. There is also a legend saying that originally the system does not include mouse but cat instead, and we are telling the story in our special Chinese New Year Itinerary edition.

Beyond the years, Chinese time system also divides each 24-hour day into 12 two-hour periods and represents each period by the 12 animal signs. The corresponding time of a day describes the animals’ most active period.

In Chinese astrology,when people analyze personality and destiny, they consider the hour of birth more important than the year you were born in. The two-hour periods alternate from yin to yang. For example, the Ox is yin, while the Rat and Tiger, which come before and after the Ox, respectively, are yang.

 Zodiac Hours

  • 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.   Rats  are foraging at midnight.
  • 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.     Oxes are chewing the cud before dawn
  • 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.    Tigers are active to capture prey upon the dawn moment
  • 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.    Jade Rabbit prepares herbal medicines at this time
  • 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.    Dragons, the mythical creature are about to bring rainwater to people when temperature rises
  • 9 a.m to 11 a.m     Snakes are leaving their holes to enjoy the warm sunlight
  • 11a.m. to 1 p.m.   Horses are still energetic when the others are taking noon break
  • 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.   Goat eat grass in early afternoon will get stronger
  • 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.   Monkeys become active at this time.
  • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.   Roosters go beck home when night falls
  • 7  p.m. to 9 p.m.  Dogs are on guard in the evening
  • 9  p.m. to 11 p.m. Pigs are in deep sleep

A zodiac system has existed in Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years (since the Qin dynasty). Like the western 12 astrology signs, Chinese people believe the system has a direct influence on a man’s fortune. It plays an important role in Chinese’s daily life, like personality analysis, decisions making in marriage, career development etc.

What’s your zodiac animal?

The zodiac cycle repeats every 12 years, making it easy to figure out whether it’s your year- just check if your age is a multiple of 12! Here are the 12 zodiac animals in order with accompanying years:

In order, they are: rat , ox , tiger, rabbit, dragon , snake , horse , goat, monkey , rooster, dog , and pig .

ZODIAC ANIMALCHARACTERRECENT YEARSPERSONALITY TRAITSBest MatchesHours
Rat1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020Intelligent,creative,opportunistOx, Dragon, Rabbit11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Ox1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021Diligent, persistent, loyalRat, Monkey, or Rooster1 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Tiger1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022Confident, courageous, braveDragon, Horse, or Pig3 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Rabbit1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023Kind, quiet, sincereRat, Goat, Monkey, Dog, Pig5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Dragon1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024Charming, quick witted, energeticRat, Tiger or Snake7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Snake1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025Wise,philosophical,enigmaticDragon, Rooster9 a.m to 11 a.m
Horse1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026Adaptable,warm-hearted, spirit of freedomGoat, Tiger11a.m. to 1 p.m.
Goat1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027Gentle, sympathetic, tastefulRabbit, Horse, Pig1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Monkey1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028fast in thought, curiosity,shrewdOx, Rabbit3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Rooster1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029Hardworking, progressive,honestOx, Snake5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Dog1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030trustworthy,lovely,loyalRabbit7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Pig1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031Generous,honorable,compassionateGoat, Tiger, Rabbit9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Personalities of people born in the different zodiac years

People have similar characteristics if they were born in the same zodiac year. This Chinese astrology has worked efficiently for over three millennia. 

The Rat

Those born in the year of the rat are optimistic, social, cowardly, eager to earn quick profits, resilient, and creative. They are opportunists, forward-looking, and adapt to any environment. They can spot out the chances easily. However, they rely on intuition, which leads to a high divorce rate. The rat is most compatible with the ox. 

Lucky numbers: 4, 9

Ill-starred numbers: 0, 5

Lucky colors: white and black

Unfortunate color: green

Suitable jobs: trading, water activities, writing entertainment

Unfit job: start a business

Some famous rats: William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill, Louis Armstrong

The Ox

Just as the ox is a symbol of diligence, conservatism, responsibility, and stubbornness, so are the people born in this year. They value responsibility to their families and friends. When they choose a partner, they will not marry for romantic reasons but for logic. They are kind and compassionate, but unfortunately, they are usually cheated because they too easily trust people. They also excel as businessmen or -women, due to their superior intelligence and logical approach. The ox is most compatible with the rat, but should avoid the goat.

Lucky numbers: 0, 5

Ill-starred numbers: 3, 8

Lucky color: yellow

Unfortunate colors: green and blue

Suitable jobs: agriculture and livestock, real estate, consultant, pharmacy

Unfit job: teacher

Some famous oxen: Napoleon Bonaparte, Charlie Chaplin, Princess Diana

The Tiger

The tigers are natural leaders. In turn, the tiger sign displays traits of strength, emotion, impulsiveness, and independence. They’re willing to take risks, and they refuse to follow others. They are optimistic, have high self-esteem, and focus on material enjoyment. When it comes to romance, the tigers are sensitive and even passionate lovers. The tiger is most compatible with the pig, the horse, and the dog, but should avoid the monkey. 

Lucky numbers: 2, 7

Ill-starred numbers: 4, 9

Lucky colors: blue and green

Unfortunate color: white

Suitable job: medical, catering industry, police, literature

Unfit job: driver

Some famous tigers: Beethoven, Marilyn Monroe, Tom Cruise

The Rabbit

People born in this year are clever, artistic, creative, peaceful, easygoing, and friendly. However, they’re egocentric, bad tempered, passionate, sensitive, and impatient. When in love, the rabbit is romantic and endearing. They love social activities. Rabbits work seriously, but under pressure. 

Lucky numbers: 1, 6

Ill-starred numbers: 4, 9

Lucky colors: blue and green

Unfortunate color: white

Suitable jobs: farming, education, religion, cultural

Unfit job: doctor

Some famous rabbits: Albert Einstein, Ralph Lauren, David Beckham

The Dragon

The dragon, which is actually not a real animal, was often found in Chinese legends and myths. Most Chinese respect the dragon and treat it as the symbol of power and high social status. The dragon symbolizes prestige, respect, kindness, superb consistency, and intelligence. One the other hand, the dragon is lonely, fickle, pessimistic, impatient, obstinate, and loves to compete. In line with its dominant characteristics, it prefers the single life, even though it has many suitors. Chinese pray for their kids to be born in the year of the dragon so that it can bring them power, longevity, and richness.That’s why the school admission rate during Dragon years is always highest.

Lucky numbers: 4, 9

Ill-starred numbers: 3, 8

Lucky color: white

Unfortunate colors: green and blue

Suitable jobs: finance, watch, electrician, pharmaceutical

Unfit job: police

Some famous dragons: Joan of Arc, Mao Zedong, John Lennon, Cliff Richard

The Snake

The snake is a creature that is cunning, self-centered, jealous, stingy, and sensitive to numbers, but people born during the year of the snake are also usually charming, intelligent, rational, agile, and philosophical. They like to analyze and stick to the task, and sometimes possess psychic powers. The snake is compatible with the goat, but they don’t align well with the pig.

Lucky numbers: 0, 5

Ill-starred numbers: 1, 6

Lucky color: yellow

Unfortunate color: black

Suitable jobs: timber industry, diplomat, alcohol, bookstore

Unfit job: lawyer

Some famous snakes: Pablo Picasso, John F. Kennedy, Bruce Lee

The Horse

People born in the year of the horse are efficient, independent, active, smart, and enthusiastic, but have low expression ability. They love to compete with others, take risks, and set high targets, but they fail to achieve due to lack of perseverance. Also, the horse is loath to stay in one place. The horse must avoid the rat. 

Lucky numbers: 2, 7

Ill-starred numbers: 1, 6

Lucky color: red

Unfortunate color: black

Suitable jobs: paper industry, military, medical, building materials

Unfit job: teacher

Some famous horses: Queen Elizabeth II, Muhammad Ali, Cindy Crawford

The Goat

If you were born in the year of the goat, people will see you as meek, which you probably are, but also generous, tolerant, easy-going, and willing to listen. They are always reluctant to attend social activities or change their jobs. They are weak in dealing with difficulties. The goat is less compatible with the ox.

Lucky numbers: 2, 7

Ill-starred numbers: 4, 9

Lucky color: red

Unfortunate color: white

Suitable jobs: trading, securities industry, business, construction, metal merchant

Unfit job: civil servant

Some famous goats: James Dean, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Gate

The Monkey

The monkey is helpful, intelligent, energetic, aggressive, articulate, righteous, sociable, and can make prompt judgments. However, the monkey is also reckless, impatient, and very arrogant, and will strive for being a leader by all means. 

Lucky numbers: 4, 9

Ill-starred numbers: 2, 7

Lucky color: white

Unfortunate color: red

Suitable jobs: e-commerce, insurance, software, engineer, financial industry

Unfit job: accountant

Some famous monkeys: Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Tom Hanks

The Rooster 

People born into this year are helpful, talkative, craven, and with artistic sense. But they are irritable, solitary, and idealistic. The rooster loves to work alone. They’re less compatible with the rabbit.

Lucky numbers: 0, 5

Ill-starred numbers: 2, 7

Lucky colors: yellow and white

Unfortunate color: red

Suitable jobs: political, mechanical engineer, communication equipment, computer manufacturing

Unfit job: pipeline worker

Some famous roosters: Paul Cezanne, Roman Polanski, Eric Clapton

The Dog 

People born in the year of the dog are straightforward, sociable, loyal, perseverant, sensual, and diligent. In a relationship, they’re good listeners and they inspire confidence in their peers. But the dog can’t be a leader. They do not participate in rumors, and are mostly compatible with the rabbit but less compatible with the dragon.

Lucky numbers: 2, 7

Ill-starred numbers: 1, 6

Lucky color: red 

Unfortunate color: black

Suitable jobs: tea industry, steel, medical, education

Unfit job: operator

Some famous dogs: Elvis Presley, Madonna, Bill Clinton

The Pig

The pig is clever, efficient, responsible, non-assertive, easygoing, indolent, and in good memory. They are also unmotivated, selfish, self-centered, and easy to give up the ad hoc tasks. The pig loves freedom and has no aspirations. They’re less compatible with the snake.

Lucky numbers: 1, 6

Ill-starred numbers: 0, 5

Lucky color: black

Unfortunate color: yellow

Suitable jobs: nautical industry, transport, sound engineer, cosmetic

Unfit job: scientific researcher

Some famous pigs: Henry Kissinger, Ernest Hemingway, Luciano Pavarotti

By Buzzpacker