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The Japanese / Vietnamese / Burmese Zodiac

The Chinese zodiac has a great impact on several Asian countries, such as 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 may differ in other countries.

The Korean Zodiac and the Cambodian Zodiac

The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle. Each year is represented by an animal. The 12 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 Zodiac

The Japanese 12 zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.

Japan's zodiac signs were directly derived from China's. The only difference is that the last animal is the Boar in Japan but the Pig in China. The Chinese zodiac is calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar, while Japan's is based on the solar calendar since the lunar calendar was abandoned in 1872.

The Vietnamese Zodiac

The Vietnamese 12 zodiac animals I order are:Rat, Buffalo, Tiger, Cat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

The Vietnamese zodiac resembles the Chinese zodiac except that the second animal is the Buffalo instead of the Ox, and the fourth animal is the Cat instead of the Rabbit. It was believed that the Chinese word for "rabbit" "卯兔" (mǎo tù) sounded like "meo" in Vietnamese, which means "cat". So it might have been a mistake that occurred during the process of cultural transition.

The Thai Zodiac

The Thai 12 zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Naga, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Similar to the Chinese zodiac, the Thai zodiac is also comprised of 12 animals. However, in the Thai zodiac there is no Dragon but rather a Naga. The Naga is a mythical monster that looks like a giant snake. It has been worshipped as the bringer of fertility and wealth. The image of it can be seen in many Thai temples.

The Burmese Zodiac

The Burmese ZodiacThe Burmese Zodiac.

Different from the Chinese zodiac, the Burmese zodiac only has eight zodiac signs based on the eight directions: North, South, East, West, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest.

The system of astrology was also rooted in the days of a week. Wednesday was split into two parts: Wednesday morning (00:01 to 12:00) and Wednesday afternoon (12:01 to 24:00). Therefore, there are a total of eight zodiac signs according to the days of the week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday am, Wednesday pm, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Each sign is associated with an animal. The eight animals are Garuda (mythical bird), Tiger, Lion, Elephant (with tusks), Elephant (no tusks), Rat, Guinea Pig, and Dragon.

To determine your Burmese zodiac animal sign and ruling direction, all you need is the day of the week you were born on:

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