Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac

By Fercility JiangUpdated Jul. 27, 2021
year of ox update
2021 is a year of the Ox, starting from February 12th and ending on January 31st, 2022. This is a Metal Ox year. 2022 will be a year of the Tiger.

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What Is the Chinese Zodiac?

The Chinese zodiac, or shengxiao (/shnng-sshyao/ ‘born resembling'), is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its reputed attributes.

In order, the 12 Chinese horoscope animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

What's My Chinese Zodiac Sign?

Choose your date of birth and find out about your Chinese zodiac sign.

Each zodiac animal's year comes around every 12 years, and each year is associated with a zodiac animal. The most recent zodiac sign years are shown below.

Rat  Ox Tiger Rabbit Dragon Snake Horse Goat Monkey Rooster Dog Pig
1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971
1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983
1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031

The Chinese Zodiac and 2021 — Is 2021 a Lucky Year?

2021 is a year of the Chinese zodiac sign "Ox". The Ox has long been a symbol of power in Chinese culture. An Ox year is usually considered to be a more hopeful and fruitful year, so 2021 is expected to bring better luck.

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The Rectangle Hand in Palm Reading

The Luckiest/Unluckiest Zodiac Sign

There is a popular Chinese folk saying that 9/10 Goats are inadequate (十羊九不全 '10 Goats 9 incomplete'), which implies most people born in a year of the Goat are destined for bad luck.

Most Chinese people also believe that people born in a Goat year will grow up to be followers rather than leaders. Although this is an outdated superstition, it has a real effect on Chinese society.

Conversely, the Dragon is the most coveted zodiac sign, with Chinese births peaking in Dragon years. In Chinese culture, the top 5 luckiest/most popular zodiac signs are Dragon, Snake, Pig, Rat, and Tiger conventionally.

Rationally, it's hard to identify the luckiest or unluckiest zodiac signs, as each sign has its own advantages and disadvantages. Socially, different combinations of zodiac signs cause different relational dynamics, which may affect someone's life more, as we don't live in isolation.

12 Zodiac Animal Personalities & 2021 Horoscopes

Chinese zodiac animals have astrological and cultural meanings. Chinese people associate each animal sign with certain characteristics. It's believed that people born in a given year have the personality of that year's animal. Click the animal signs below to learn more about each zodiac animal.

  • Rat
  • OX
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig
Chinese Zodiac Sign Rat
Rat Personality Traits

Quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, kind

Rats' Horoscope in 2021:

2021 is a year of the Ox, and the overall fortunes of Rat people (those born in a year of the Rat) are very good. Since the zodiac Rat and the zodiac Ox have a good relationship, the fortunes of Rat people will be exceptionally smooth. This year, regardless of whether they have difficulties in their careers or studies, Rats can get help from others in time. Read more on Monthly Fortune for Rats in 2021.

  • Lucky colors: blue, gold, green
  • Lucky numbers: 2, 3, and numbers containing them (like 23 and 32)
Chinese Zodiac Love Compatibility
— Is he/she right for you?

People born in a certain animal year are believed to have attributes of that animal, which could either help or hinder a relationship. Each Chinese zodiac animal has personality traits assigned to it by the ancient Chinese. Chinese people believe these traits will be embodied in people, according to their zodiac sign.

An important use of the Chinese zodiac is to determine if two people are compatible, in a romantic relationship or any kind of relationship.

In ancient times people were faithful to Chinese zodiac compatibility and often referred to it before a romantic relationship began. Even nowadays some people still refer to it.

Enter Your Name, Date of Birth and Test Now
Boy's Name:
Date of Birth:
Girl's Name:
Date of Birth:

Best Matches for 12 Zodiac Signs

  • Rat: Ox, Dragon, Rabbit
  • Ox: Rat, Monkey, or Rooster
  • Tiger: Dragon, Horse, or Pig
  • Rabbit: Rat, Goat, Monkey, Dog, Pig
  • Dragon: Rat, Tiger or Snake
  • Snake: Dragon, Rooster
  • Horse: Goat, Tiger
  • Goat: Rabbit, Horse, Pig
  • Monkey: Ox, Rabbit
  • Rooster: Ox, Snake
  • Dog: Rabbit
  • Pig: Goat, Tiger, Rabbit

These love compatibilities are derived from 6 trines (similarities), 4 six-harmony pairs (complementary opposites), and 6 other less-easily-discerned personality trait compatibilities.

Tips for Wearing Zodiac Lucky Jewelry — Two Chinese Zodiac Compatibility Groups

  • Trine trios are compatible for like-mindedness in values, habits, interests, and so on, and harmony in relationships.
  • Six-harmony pairs are complementary (diametrically opposite) to each other and most likely to provide very good help to the other one.
Trine Compatible Trios Six-Harmony Compatible Pairs
Monkey & Rat & Dragon Rat & Ox
Snake & Rooster & Ox Tiger & Pig
Tiger & Horse & Dog Rabbit & Dog
Pig & Rabbit & Goat Dragon & Rooster
/ Snake & Monkey
/ Horse & Goat

How to Choose Your Zodiac Lucky Jewelry:

There's a custom of wearing zodiac sign jewelry to avoid bad luck in China — usually a bracelet or necklace. The rule is choosing the six-harmony compatible signs first, then trine signs. For example, if you are an Ox, you could wear Rat jewelry.

Special Zodiac Jewelry Tips for 2021:

In 2021, there are five zodiac signs in conflict with Tai Sui (Jupiter, the age star, or the God of Age in Chinese culture, which will bring misfortune): Ox, Goat, Dog, Horse, and Dragon.

If your compatible signs involve any of these five signs, you should skip them and choose other signs for your lucky accessories. For example, people born under the Rooster sign should usually wear Dragon jewelry for its six-harmony compatibility, but in 2021, they should avoid the Dragon and choose the Snake from the trine trio (not the Ox as it's also in conflict with Tai Sui).

Similarly, if a person is born under the Goat sign, in 2021 he/she should wear Pig or Rabbit jewelry instead of a Horse accessory.

Benmingnian— How to Be Lucky in Your Own Zodiac Year

A person's zodiac year, or benmingnian, is any year in the person's life with the same Chinese zodiac animal sign as his/her birth year. As there are 12 animal signs, a year of your birth sign occurs once per 12-year-cycle: when you are (about) 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, and so on.

According to Chinese astrology, people in their zodiac year are believed to offend Tai Sui, the God of Age, and incur his curse. It is believed to bring nothing but bad luck. Therefore, Chinese astrology followers pay special attention to their conduct every twelfth year of their lives, i.e. in their birth sign years.

2021 is the benmingnian(本命年 ‘origin of life year') for those people born under the Ox sign. Read more on How to Make Good Luck in Your Zodiac Year Easily.

Chinese Zodiac Origins — What is the Chinese Zodiac Based On?

The Chinese zodiac is a repeating cycle of 12 animal signs that are divided on a year-by-year basis.

The 12 signs are popularly explained by a myth that when the Jade Emperor (the supreme immortal) was developing a calendar, all creatures on Earth were summoned to participate in a race. The first 12 to cross the line were awarded signs and an order in the Chinese zodiac. Find out more on Chinese Zodiac story.

Actually, the 12 animals were chosen very deliberately by the ancients, after many revisions. The zodiac animals are either closely related to ancient Chinese people's daily lives, or have lucky meanings.

Chinese Calendar Chinese Zodiac Elements

The Chinese Zodiac and Chinese New Year

There are two dates a Chinese zodiac year could be said to start on: Chinese New Year or ‘Start of Spring'.

  • Chinese New Year (day 1 of the lunar year) falls somewhere in the period January 21 to February 20.
  • Start of Spring (day 1 of the solar year), the first day of the first solar term in the traditional Chinese solar calendar, falls in the period February 3–5.

Most Chinese people use lunar new year as the start of the zodiac year. But for professional fortune telling, Chinese astrologers use 'Start of Spring' or solar new year as the beginning of the zodiac year.

The Zodiac Five Elements

The Chinese astrology system identifies five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each element is linked to motivating forces in people's lives. 

Fixed Elements for Each Chinese Zodiac Sign

In Chinese astrology, each of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs is associated with one of the five elements, which is known as the fixed element of the sign:

Fixed Element Chinese Zodiac Sign
Wood Tiger, Rabbit
Fire Snake, Horse
Earth Ox, Dragon, Goat, Dog
Metal Monkey, Rooster
Water Pig, Rat

Each 12-year zodiac cycle also has an element, which repeats on a 60-year cycles.

Element 12-Year Cycle 12-Year Cycle
Wood 1924–1935 1984–1995
Fire 1936–1947 1996–2007
Earth 1948–1959 2008–2019
Metal 1960–1971 2020–2031
Water 1972–1983 2032–2043

A person's characteristics are said to be determined both by the fixed element of their zodiac sign and the element of the 12-year cycle they were born in. E.g., a Metal Ox (born in 2021) has a personality with aspects associate with both Metal (12-year-cycle element) and Earth (zodiac sign fixed element).

  • Fire element people are inspired by excitement.
  • Earth people are motivated to secure foundations.
  • Metal people are driven to create order.
  • Water people are compelled to form emotional bonds.
  • Wood people have a desire to explore.

Learn more about zodiac elements analysis on Chinese Five Elements Philosophy and Culture.

The Chinese Zodiac and Fortune Telling

The year a person is born in determines their zodiac sign, and this is believed to affect their personality, and hence their fate. Since ancient times, people have developed horoscopes to predict destinies, based around zodiac sign traits.

Fate Line in the Palm Reading Chinese zodiac tells fortune

To make a relatively thorough fortune prediction, Chinese fortune tellers take many methods into consideration, such as face characteristics, palmistry, and more involved Chinese astrology including birth month, day, and hour, gender, etc. Zodiac horoscopy by birth year is only one of these methods. See more on:

Beside the zodiac year, Chinese astrology has three other pillars that create your fate, making four pillars in total: birth year, birth month, birth day, and birth hour. The four pillars are based on the alignment of blocks of time in the Chinese calendar.

The "Chinese Zodiac" in Other Countries

The Chinese zodiac has a great influence on several Asian countries, such as the Koreas, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and Myanmar. In some countries, the zodiac signs are the same as the Chinese ones, while some of the animals differ in other countries.

The 12 Chinese zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. These animal signs are exactly the same in South Korea, North Korea, Singapore, and Cambodia.

  • The Japanese 12 zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.
  • The Vietnamese 12 zodiac animals I order are: Rat, Buffalo, Tiger, Cat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
  • The Thai 12 zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Naga (a mythical half-human-half-snake spirit), Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
  • The Burmese 8 zodiac animals are: Garuda (a mythical bird), Tiger, Lion, Elephant (with tusks), Rat, Guinea Pig, and Dragon.
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