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Chinese Zodiac

Would you like to know which animal you are born under and check out your astrological path according to Chinese Zodiac? Go on to get more!

Once, Chinese people used Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches (collectively known as Stem-Branch or Gan-Zhi, the 10 heavenly stems are Jia, Yi, Bing, Ding, Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin, Ren and Gui; the 12 earthly branches are Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu and Hai.) to record the years, months, days and hours. Later, the Chinese Zodiac was represented by 12 animals symbolizing the 12 earthly branches to record the years and people's attributes, including the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Horse, Chinese Zodiac 

A legend has it: long ago, the Chinese people found that it was very difficult for illiterates to remember and adopt the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, so they asked the Jade Emperor for help. The Jade Emperor thought that animals influenced people a lot and had close relationships with people, so he decided to choose 12 animals to substitute for the 12 earthly branches. Jade Emperor fixed a day and notified all the animals on earth to come sign up, stating that the first 12 arrivals would be the lucky ones and named as Twelve Chinese Horoscopes.

Receiving the good news, all of the animals began to get ready. The cat and the rat were neighbors and good friends, and they decided to sign up together. The day before the fixed day, the cat said to the rat:'we have to get up early to sign up, but I've gotten into the habit of getting up late. What should I do?' The rat reassured him, patting his chest confidently:'don't worry; I will wake you to go together.' However, the next morning after getting up and having breakfast, the rat found that the cat was still asleep, so he went to sign up on his own, thinking:'I had better not wake the cat because he always walked faster than me.' On the way, the rat came across the ox that was again passed by the cunning rat, and the rat won the first position, followed by the straightforward ox, tiger, rabbit and other animals. When the cat had slept enough and hurried to the gathering place, the 12 animals had already been selected. After that, the cat was so angry that he hunted and ate the rat.

Chinese Zodiac - pig

After the 12 animals were decided on, people replaced the 12 earthly branches with the 12 animals to record the years. Thus, there is a cycle of twelve years, each with a different animal. For example, the year 2006 is Bingxu of the lunar calendar, is also called the year of the dog; the year 2007 is Dinghai of the lunar calendar, also named the year of the pig.

Meanwhile, people divided 24 hours of every day into 12 time periods according to the living characters of the animals:

Rat: 23:00 ~ 1:00 named Zishi, when rats are most active in seeking food.

Ox: 01:00 ~ 03:00 named Choushi, when oxen begin to crush the food, regurgitating to the mouth slowly and comfortably.

Tiger: 03:00 ~ 05:00 named Yinshi, when tigers hurt their prey more and show their ferocity.

Rabbit: 05:00 ~ 07:00 named Maoshi, when the jade rabbit is busy pounding herbal medicine on the Moon according to the tale.

Dragon: 07:00 ~ 09:00 named Chenshi, when dragons are hovering in the sky to give rain.

Snake: 09:00 ~ 11:00 named Sishi, when snakes are leaving their caves.

Horse: 11:00 ~ 13:00 named Wushi, when the sun is high above and other animals are lying down for a rest, while the horses are still standing.

Goat: 13:00 ~ 15:00 named Weishi, when goats urinate frequently.

Monkey: 15:00 ~ 17:00 named Shenshi, when the monkeys are lively.

Rooster: 17:00 ~ 19:00 named Youshi, when roosters begin to go back to their coops.

Dog: 19:00 ~ 21:00 named Xushi, when dogs begin to carry out their duty of guarding the houses.

Pig: 21:00 ~ 23:00 named Haishi, when pigs are sleeping sweetly.

The Chinese Zodiac is not peculiar to the Han nationality and each minority group has their own Zodiac to record years:
Yi nationality in Guangxi Province - dragon, phoenix, horse, ant, human being, rooster, dog, pig, sparrow, ox, tiger, snake 
Li nationality in Hainan Province - rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, insect, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey 
Dai nationality in Yunnan Province - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, python, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, elephant
Uyghur in Xinjiang Province - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, fish, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig
Kirgiz people in Xinjiang Province - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, fish, snake, horse, goat, fox, rooster, dog, pig

Chinese Zodiac - dog

As time passed, the Chinese Zodiac became an important part of the traditional Chinese culture. Paper-cut and New-Year pictures of the Chinese Zodiac are popular among the Chinese people. In addition, the Chinese Zodiac is connected to a 'totem' (symbol or logo of a clan in ancient China). For instance, the dragon is the totem of the Chinese nation; the ox is the totem of the Naxi nationality; and the goat is the totem of the Kazak and Kirgiz nationalities.

Moreover, the Chinese Zodiac is also part of people's religious belief in China. Chinese people divided the 12 animals into two categories of Yin and Yang (the underlying principles of Chinese philosophy and medicine), corresponding to the Five Elements (Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth), and then created a set of fortunetelling methods which proclaim that the twelve Chinese horoscope animals decide people's fates. As a result, the Chinese Zodiac began to connect with people's characters, friendship, love, marriage, career, health, fortune and so on. People thought that when a person came to the year of his attribute (decided by the year when he was born), he must wear a red belt to pursue good fortune and shun calamity. Even children had to wear a red vest and underpants in their birth year. This custom of 'Birth Year' is still popular throughout China.

 Here are the attributes of years 1912 – 2031:
1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026.
1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021.
1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027.
1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022.
1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028.
1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023.
1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029.
1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024.
1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030.
1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025.
1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031.