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The Year of the Rooster: How does Chinese Zodiac Work?

23 Jan

The start of the lunar year is getting closer, and millions of people around the world have already started getting ready for one of the biggest celebrations: Chinese New Year. This January 28th denotes the beginning of the Year of the Red Fire Rooster, as defined by the Chinese zodiac cycle. But what does it really mean to all of us?

Chinese astrology has been around for thousands of years and it is deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy and culture. It’s based on the belief that both living things and objects have a purpose in this world, and achieving harmony is the most important among them. The Chinese also believe that everything has its own energy which can be either male – vibrant and outgoing called “yang”, or female – quiet and subdued, called “yin”. Yin Yang energy plays a key role in Chinese astrology and determines common traits and potential for compatibility between the animal signs.

Just like in Western astrology, there are 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac, but they are divided by years instead of months. While the Western astrology signs are based on the solar cycle, Chinese astrology months are based on the lunar, sixty-year cycle, with the animal signs changing every year, and elements changing every other year. The animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac relate to the signs in the Western Zodiac, and are in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Legend has it that it was Buddha who founded the system for Chinese astrology. To celebrate the New Year, he invited all the animals, but only 12 showed up and that’s how they got their place in the calendar. According to another legend, when developing a calendar, Buddha invited all the animals to a race and the order in which they would arrive determined their place in the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese Zodiac

  • Rat

Years: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, 1900
Fixed Element: Water / Yang
Characteristics:
The rat is the first sign in the Chinese Zodiac. Those born in the year of the rat are known to be quick-witted, creative and innovative people with rich imaginations. They are hardworking and problem solvers. Their appealing personality makes them charmers who are very good at getting along with all types of people. Rats are also quite wasteful and don’t like saving money. The rat’s color is black and their element is water.

  • Ox

Years: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913, 1901
Fixed Element: Earth / Yin

Characteristics:
The ox is a born leader with strong opinions but poor communication skills. They are extremely powerful and stubborn. On the other hand, oxen are honest, patient, trustworthy, conservative and peace loving. They are usually quite patriotic and deeply attached to their family and friends. The ox’s color is yellow and their element is earth.

  • Tiger

Years: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914, 1902
Fixed Element: Wood /Yang
Characteristics:

Just like in nature, Tigers are brave, independent and powerful creatures. They are authoritative and dare to take risks, which makes them good natural leaders. But sometimes they have to be careful not to get too short tempered, selfish and head-strong. The tiger’s color is green and their element is wood.

  • Rabbit

Years: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915, 1903
Fixed Element: Wood/ Yin
Characteristics:

The say that those born in the year of the Rabbit are the luckiest of them all. This is because Rabbits have wonderful demeanor and are very easy going. They are one of the most compassionate signs and want to see peace in life. Rabbits are also affectionate, gentle, friendly, gracious, which makes them highly popular among their friends. Sometimes, a Rabbit can be quite shy and sentimental, but if they can overcome that, they can succeed in almost everything they do. The rabbit’s color is green and their element is wood.

  • Dragon

Years: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916, 1904
Fixed Element: Earth / Yang
Characteristics:
The dragon is the most vital and powerful sign in the Chinese zodiac, although with an infamous reputation for being aggressive and having a sharp tongue. Dragons are one of the most popular of the signs and demand attention. They are energetic, talented, determined creatures with interesting imaginations. They can also be overly-dramatic, quick-tempered and moody. The dragon’s color is gold and their element is earth.

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  • Snake

Years: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917, 1905
Fixed Element: Fire / Yin
Characteristics:
Don’t believe those who say that snakes are sly and cunning, because they are actually extremely intelligent, graceful and talented creatures. People born in the year of the Snake are the most intuitive and represent the symbol of wisdom. They are generally alluring, care about their looks and can be rather stingy. However, if only the Snake knows how to make use of their true qualities, they will be very successful. The snake’s color is red and their element is fire.

  • Horse

Years: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906
Fixed Element: Fire / Yang
Characteristics: A Horse’s love of life and energy are engaging. Their positivity and loyalty make them extremely popular among friends. Horses are very elegant, charming, smart, but also hard-working creatures who have high goals in life. They tend to be stubborn when it comes to their beliefs, but are also very patient and good listeners when they need to hear out other people. The horse’s color is red and their element is fire.

  • Goat / Sheep

Years: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907
Fixed Element: Earth / Yin
Characteristics:
Sheep are loving and gentle artists who can be quite shy and emotional at times. Although they try to stay positive, they often complain and stress about simple things. Sheep do not like sudden changes or impulsive decisions and they are also very protective about who they let into their inner circle. The goat’s color is yellow and their element is earth.

  • Monkey

Years: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980. 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908
Fixed Element: Metal / Yang
Characteristics:
Monkeys are outgoing, energetic, positive and really fun people to be around; that’s why they usually have a lot of friends. They are also quite curious, very confident and often very successful. Moving from one experience to the other, they don’t care as much about the things that they are doing as the feelings that they evoke. The monkey’s color is white and their element is metal.

  • Rooster

Years: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921, 1909
Fixed Element: Metal / Yin
Characteristics:
Roosters are very independent and confident people who dream big. They will achieve anything they put their mind to, especially if they allow themselves to be led by their instincts. Roosters are generally punctual and reliable people who enjoy being in the center of attention and sometimes suffer from being vain. The rooster’s color is white and their element is metal.

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  • Dog

Years: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910
Fixed Element: Earth / Yang
Characteristics:
Dogs are honest and extremely loyal people who are going to fight for what they love. They are intelligent dreamers who don’t like sharing their inner lives with others. Dogs are also helpful and positive, although sometimes they tend to worry too much. The dog’s color is yellow and their element is earth.

  • Pig

Year: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923, 1911
Fixed Element: Water / Ying
Characteristics:
Pigs are strong and noble creatures who will always put others ahead of themselves, especially when it comes to family.
Typically a follower rather than a leader, they are one of the easiest signs to get along with. Friendships build by Pigs will last for a long time even though their careless nature can sometimes be hard to handle. A pig’s color is black and their element is water.

The Year of the Red Fire Rooster is the time when all the 12 Chinese zodiac signs need to work hard and be patient in order to achieve success. Ruled by the fire element, this Yin year is to be spent in solitude and harmony with friends and family. The Chinese horoscope predicts that this year can be beneficial for career and money investments as well as auspicious for starting a new family. Professional relationships too will turn out to be fruitful. Just do not complicate things by over thinking and analyzing too much. Also stay away from risky ventures but stick to well-proven paths to ensure success.

If you’re wondering whether the Year of the Rooster will be lucky for your sign in particular, Chinese astrology forecasts predict that Dragons, as well as Snakes, Oxen and Roosters will be extremely successful. The Rats and Tigers too will have a good year. The Sheep, Pigs and Monkeys will have a mix of good and bad luck while the Rabbits, Horses and Dogs might face a few problems. But there’s no need to worry, in a Rooster Year, all of the Chinese animals can reach their goals by possessing the key Rooster traits. Loyalty, willpower, hard work, family values, and top-notch appearances are just some of the characteristics that are sure to be rewarded this year.

Image #1,3,4 by IQRemix
Image #2 by Janet Hudson
 
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