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Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac

Written by Ruby ZhaoUpdated Nov. 11, 2022

Chinese zodiac, or shengxiao (/shnng-sshyao/ 'born resembling'), is represented by 12 zodiac animals. In order,  they are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Chinese zodiac years begin/end at Chinese New Year (in January/February). Each year in the repeating zodiac cycle of 12 years is represented by a zodiac animal, each with its own reputed attributes.

2023 is a year of the Rabbit, starting from January 22nd, 2023, and ending on February 9th, 2024. 2022 is a year of the Tiger, starting from February 1st, 2022 and ends on January 21st, 2023.

Chinese people believe that a person's horoscope, personality, and love compatibility are closely associated with his/her Chinese zodiac sign, determined by his/her birth year.

Here you can find out all about the Chinese zodiac, including how to discover your Chinese zodiac sign and Chinese horoscope.

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Why the Lion was replaced with the Tiger in the Chinese Zodiac? The video below unveils the secret.

What is My Chinese Zodiac Sign?

Each Chinese zodiac year is represented by an animal. The table of Chinese zodiac years below will help you find your zodiac sign fast.

For example, 1991 is a year of the Goat. If you were born in 1991, your Chinese zodiac sign is the Goat, and you are known as a "Goat".

Chinese Zodiac Years

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

You may want to read more about Chinese zodiac years.

For the starting date of a zodiac year, there are two schools of thought in Chinese astrology: Chinese New Year or the Start of Spring.

  • Chinese New Year, day 1 of the Chinese lunar year, falls somewhere in the period January 21st to February 20th.
  • The Start of Spring is the 1st of the 24 Solar Terms, beginning on February 3rd or 4th

Most Chinese people use Chinese New Year as the start of the zodiac year. This is popular Chinese astrology. Only traditionalists and professional astrologers use the first solar term. 

Therefore, for example if you were born in January or February in 1997, you might be an Ox or a Rat.  

You can use our free Chinese zodiac sign calculator below to be sure.

Chinese Zodiac Calculator

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

Click the picture below to check each animal sign's horoscope, personality, love compatibility, etc. in detail.

Year of the Ox
Year of the Dog
Year of the Pig

 

Chinese Zodiac Signs' Personality

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. 

Rat: quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, kind.

Ox: diligent, dependable, strong, determined.

Tiger: brave, confident, competitive, unpredictable.

Rabbit: quiet, elegant, kind, responsible.

Dragon: confident, intelligent, enthusiastic.

Snake: enigmatic, intelligent, wise.

Horse: animated, active, energetic.

Goat: calm, gentle, sympathetic.

Monkey: sharp, smart, curious.

Rooster: observant, hardworking, courageous.

Dog: lovely, honest, prudent.

Pig: compassionate, generous, diligent.

Chinese Zodiac Signs' Lucky/Unlucky Things

Lucky Things

Chinese Zodiac Sign Lucky Numbers Lucky Colors Lucky Flowers Lucky Directions
Rat 2, 3 blue, gold, green lily, African violet west, northwest and southwest
Ox 1, 4 white, yellow, green tulip, peach blossom north, south
Tiger 1, 3, 4 blue, gray, orange yellow lily, cineraria east, north, south
Rabbit 3, 4, 6 red, pink, purple, blue plantain lily, jasmine east, south and northwest
Dragon 1, 6, 7 gold, silver, grayish white bleeding-heart glory bower, dragon flowers east, north, south
Snake 2, 8, 9 black, red, and yellow orchid and cactus east, west, and southwest
Horse 2, 3, 7 yellow and green calla lily and jasmine east, west, and south
Goat 2, 7 brown, red, and purple carnations and primroses north
Monkey 4, 9 white, blue, gold chrysanthemum, crape myrtle north, northwest, west
Rooster 5, 7, 8 gold, brown, and yellow gladiola, cockscomb south, southeast
Dog 3, 4, 9 red, green, and purple rose, cymbidium orchids east, south, and northeast
Pig 2, 5, 8 yellow, gray, brown, gold hydrangea and daisy east and southwest

Unlucky Things

Chinese Zodiac Sign Unlucky Numbers Unlucky Colors Unlucky Directions
Rat 5, 9 yellow, brown south and southeast
Ox 5, 6 blue southwest
Tiger 6, 7, 8 brown southwest
Rabbit 1, 7, 8 dark brown, dark yellow, white north, west, and southwest
Dragon 3, 8 blue, green northwest
Snake 1, 6, 7 brown, gold, white northeast and northwest
Horse 1, 5, 6 blue, white north and northwest
Goat 4, 9 blue and black southwest
Monkey 2, 7 red, pink south, southeast
Rooster 1, 3, 9 red east
Dog 1, 6, 7 blue, white, gold southeast
Pig 1, 7, red, blue, green southeast

Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Is He/She Right for You?

An important use of the Chinese zodiac is to determine if two people are compatible in a romantic relationship... or any kind of relationship. Zodiac compatibility is usually checked before getting married in China.

People born in a certain zodiac animal year are believed to have attributes of that animal, which determines their personality traits and could either help or hinder a relationship.

Chinese Zodiac Compatibility Calculator

Enter date of birth and test now
Boy's date of birth:
 
Girl's date of birth:

Best Matches for the 12 Zodiac Signs

  • Rat: Rat, Ox, Dragon, or Monkey
  • Ox: Rat, Snake, or Rooster
  • Tiger: Horse, Dog, or Pig
  • Rabbit: Goat, Dog, or Pig
  • Dragon: Rat, Monkey, or Rooster
  • Snake: Ox or Rooster
  • Horse: Tiger, Goat, or Dog
  • Goat: Rabbit, Horse, Goat, or Pig
  • Monkey: Rat, Dragon, or Dog
  • Rooster: Ox, Dragon, or Snake
  • Dog: Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, or Monkey
  • Pig: Tiger, Rabbit, or Goat
Chinese Zodiac Love CompatibilityBest Matches for the 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Chinese Horoscope 2023

2023 is a year of the Rabbit. Click the animal signs below to learn about each Chinese zodiac animal's horoscope in 2023.

  • Rat
  • OX
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

Rats' Horoscope in 2023:

Entering 2023, the fortune of you Rat people is generally good, but due to being in tangential opposition to Tai Sui (the age star), you will encounter some obstacles and your overall horoscope will be one of ups and downs. Be cautious and not impulsive in your actions during this year.

Read more on Monthly Horoscope for Rats in 2023.

2023 Chinese Zodiac Animal — The Rabbit

2022 Chinese Zodiac Animal — The Tiger

The Rabbit is the Chinese zodiac animal for 2023. Rabbit year 2023 starts from January 22nd, 2023 and ends on February 9th, 2024.

People born in a year of the Rabbit are called "Rabbits" and are believed to be vigilant, witty, quick-minded, and ingenious. The most compatible zodiac signs for Rabbits are GoatsDogs, and Pigs

What zodiac animal signs are lucky in 2023? Firstly come Oxes, Tigers, and Snakes. Then, with not quite so much luck, come Dogs, Horses, Goats, and Pigs. Rabbits', Rats’ and Snakes’ fortunes will be influenced by ‘opposition to Tai Sui’. Roosters and Monkeys will have to work especially hard to make headway.

Read more on the year of the Rabbit including the 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs' Horoscopes for 2023.

2023 is the benmingnian (本命年 'origin of life year') for those people born under the Rabbit sign. Read more on How to Make Good Luck in Your Zodiac Year Easily.

Chinese Zodiac Story

Chinese Zodiac Story

Do you know why the 12 Chinese zodiac animals are in their fixed sequence from Rat to Pig?

The sequence of the 12 signs is popularly explained by a myth about when the Jade Emperor (the supreme immortal) wanted to select 12 animals to be his guards. All creatures on Earth were summoned to participate in a race. The earlier one went through the Heavenly Gate, the better the rank one would have. 

  • Rat and Ox got up very early. On the way to the Gate, Rat jumped onto the back of the Ox to cross the river. He won first place by suddenly jumping down from Ox's back and dashed to the feet of the Emperor when they're near to the Heavenly Gate. Ox was second.
  • Tiger and Rabbit came third and fourth because both are fast and competitive, but Tiger was faster.
  • Good-looking Dragon was fifth and was immediately noticed by the Jade Emperor, who said Dragon's son could be sixth. Just then, Snake came forward and said Dragon was his adoptive father; so Snake ranked sixth.
  • Horse and Goat arrived. They were very kind and modest and each let the other go first. They were ranked seventh and eighth.
  • Monkey had fallen well behind. But he jumped between trees and stones, and caught up to be ninth. Last were Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Why is the cat not one of the 12 zodiac animals? It is said that Cat and Rat got as far as crossing the river together on Ox's back, but Rat pushed Cat into the water. Cat was washed away and didn't get to the Heavenly Gate in time to get a ranking. After that a great enmity grew between Cat and Rat, so that rats scatter in all directions when a cat appears.

The story is widespread (and widely varying) among Chinese. Though it is made up, it might be interesting for you to tell your children and friends.

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 in ancient Chinese culture.

What is the luckiest/unluckiest Chinese zodiac sign?

In Chinese culture, the top 5 luckiest/most popular zodiac signs are Dragon, Snake, Pig, Rat, and Tiger conventionally.

There is a popular Chinese folk saying that 9/10 Goats are inadequate (十羊九不全 '10 Goats 9 incomplete'), which implies that 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.

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.

What are the differences between Chinese zodiac and western astrology?

The main similarity between the two systems is that both systems are based on time periods of birth, and they both have 12 symbols or signs with associated personalities and fortunes.

However, there are big differences in their origins and astrological theory.

With the Chinese zodiac, the 12 signs are derived from the ancients' musings about archetypal animals, people's personalities and fortunes, and their relationships with one another and years of birth. A myth about a celestial race was later developed to explain the Chinese zodiac sequence. 

This differs from Western astrology, where the 12 zodiac signs are based on constellations' positions relative to the earth. The constellations were named according to Greek mythology and astrological theory was developed based on the stars supposed influence on human personalities and lives.

In addition, the Chinese zodiac is calculated on a year-by-year base while the Western zodiac corresponds with “months”.

Read more on Differences between the Chinese Zodiac and Western Astrology.

Chinese Zodiac in Other Asian Countries

The Chinese zodiac has a great influence on several other Asian countries, such as the South Korea, 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 12 Japanese zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.
  • The 12 Vietnamese zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Buffalo, Tiger, Cat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
  • The 12 Thai 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 8 Burmese zodiac animals are: Garuda (a mythical bird), Tiger, Lion, Elephant (with tusks), Rat, Guinea Pig, and Dragon.
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