There are numerous folk tales that seek to describe the origins of the zodiac which is comprised of twelve signs assigned to specific years within each cycle.
One of the more popular tales is that the Lord Buddha summoned together all the animals for a race in which the first twelve to cross the finish line would be assigned a year. Upon hearing the news, the cat told his friend, the rat, and they decided that they would go together on the following day. On that day, the rat did not awaken the cat who missed the race and was not assigned a year. This is why there is no Year of the Cat and also why cats hate rats. The rat knew that a small animal like itself could not compete against the larger animals, so he convinced the ox to let him ride on its head. As they approached the finish line, the rat jumped off the ox’s head and go to the finish line first. This is why the Year of the Rat is the first year in the cycle and the Year of the Ox is the second. The Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, whereas, the calendar of the West is based on the sun. The beginning of the Chinese New Year occurs between late January and early February. This year, the Chinese year 4715 begins on January 28, 2017. Notwithstanding that the Chinese adopted the Western calendar in 1911, the lunar calendar continues to be used for festive occasions such as New Year. Many Chinese believe that the year of a person’s birth is the primary factor that determines their personality traits, physical and mental attributes and degree of success and happiness. The twelve zodiac animals in the Chinese horoscope include (in order) the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This year is the Year of the Rooster.
Year of the Rooster
1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Roosters are hard workers, shrewd and confident decision makerswho often speak their mind, making them appear boastful to others. They are capable deep thinkers who are talented but often over commit themselves and feel great disappointment if they fail. They always think they are right and usually they are! They are frequently loners who are adventurous and timid. Rooster people’s emotions, like their fortunes, swing erratically. They can be selfish and too outspoken, but are always interesting and extremely brave. They make good restaurant owners and world travelers. They are most compatible with those people born in the Years of the Ox, Snake, and Dragon.
Year of the Dog
1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They are loyal, honest, and inspire the confidence of others because they know how to keep secrets. But dog people are also somewhat selfish, stubborn and eccentric. They care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money. They can be emotional and sometimes distant in groups. Dogs are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit.
Year of the Boar/Pig
1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Boars/Pigs are splendid companions. Intellectuals who set and complete difficult goals, they are gracious and gallant. Whatever they do, they do full strength with tremendous courage and great honesty. They don’t make many friends but the ones they have, they have for life. They speak little but have a great thirst for knowledge, studying a great deal and are well informed. They are quick-tempered, yet they hate arguments and quarreling. They are kind to their loved ones. No matter how bad problems seem to be, they try to work through them honestly, if sometimes impulsively. They thrive in the arts as entertainers and are most compatible with those born in the Years of the Rabbit and Sheep.
Year of the Rat
1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Rats are said to be imaginative, charming and very generous to those they love. They tend to be quick-tempered and overly critical. These people work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions, and are likely to be perfectionists. They are financially thrifty, easily angered and love to gossip. They are most compatible with people born in the Years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox.
Year of the Ox
1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
People born in the Year of the Ox are patient, taciturn, and inspire the confidence of others. They are born leaders, however, they tend to be eccentric, bigoted, and anger easily, displaying fierce tempers. They are conservative, methodical, and good with their hands. While they are generally easy-going, they can be remarkably stubborn, and are adverse to failure and opposition. They are most compatible with people born in the Years of the Snake, Rooster, and Rat.
Year of the Tiger
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Tigers are sensitive, given to deep thinking and capable of great love. They are bold and adventurous, self-initiating and charming, and extremely short-tempered. Although they command great respect, they sometimes come into conflict with older people or those in authority. Indecisive at times, they can make poor, hasty decisions or good ones that come too late. Tigers are most compatible with people born in the Years of the Horse, Dragon, and Dog.
Year of the Rabbit
1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999. 2011, 2023
Rabbits are articulate, talented, ambitious, affectionate, cooperative, pleasant, and have many friends. They are prone to sentimentality, may appear superficial, and seldom lose their temper. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. They are admired, trusted, and often financially lucky. Clever in business and conscientious, they never back out of a contract. They make good gamblers as they have the uncanny gift of making the right selections. They are most compatible with those born in the Years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.
Year of the Dragon
1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Dragons tend to be popular, full of life, enthusiastic and have a reputation for being fun-loving and sometimes “big-mouths.” They are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered, stubborn, honest, sensitive, brave, and inspire confidence and trust. They tend to be soft heart, placing them at risk of being taken advantage of by others. They are most suited to be artists, priests, or politicians and they are most compatible with people born in the Years of the Rat, Snake, Monkey, and Rooster.
Year of the Snake
1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Snakes are rich in wisdom and charm. They are romantic, deep thinkers and strongly guided by their intuition. They say little, possess great wisdom, are financially secure and are often vain, selfish, and stingy. They tend to overdo things since they have doubts about other people’s judgment and prefer to rely upon themselves. They are driven, adverse to failure and, whereas, they appear calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate underneath. Snakes are usually attractive and sometimes have marital problems because of their tendency to be fickle. They are well suited to be teachers, philosophers, writers, psychiatrists, and fortunetellers. They are most compatible with people born in the Years of the Ox and Rooster.
Year of the Horse
1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Horses are popular. Their capacity for hard work is amazing. They are very independent, cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, and occasionally talk too much. They are wise, talented, good with their hands and like being entertained and in large crowds. They are impatient and hot-blooded about everything except their daily work. They are successful adventurers, scientists, poets, or politicians. They are most compatible with people born in the Years of the Tiger, Dog, and Sheep.
Year of the Sheep/Goat
1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Sheep/Goats are elegant and highly accomplished in the arts. They are often shy, pessimistic, and puzzled about life. Deeply religious, timid by nature, clumsy in speech, they are passionate about what they do and in their beliefs. They are well compensated for their talents, which afford them the lifestyles they wish to have. They are wise, gentle, and compassionate and are best suited to be actors, gardeners or beachcombers. They are compatible with people born in the Years of the Rabbit, Pig, and Horse.
Year of the Monkey
1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Monkeys are very intelligent, clever, witty, skillful, flexible, and remarkably inventive and original, enabling them to easily solve difficult problems. Because of their extraordinary nature and magnetic personalities, people under this sign are well liked. They want to do things immediately and become discouraged if unable, sometimes abandoning projects. They must guard against opportunists and are distrustful of other people. Having common sense, monkey people have a deep desire for knowledge and have excellent memories. People born under this zodiac are strong willed but their anger cools quickly. They are most compatible with people born in the Years of the Dragon and Rat.
Photos by Debbie Porter
Model: Angel Shi