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The 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs

The 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Chinese Astrology & Zodiac Signs

It is believed that Chinese Astrology as we know it today originated in Zhan Guo period i.e. around 5th century B.C. Although, the system of Chinese zodiac were officially identified during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 9 A.D.).

Origin of the Chinese Zodiac Signs:

The most famous legend about the origin of the Chinese zodiac signs is the Legend of "The Great Race".

The legend of "The Great Race" involves around the Jade Emperor. Jade Emperor is one of the most important deity and is considered the ruler of Heaven. The legend has it that the Jade Emperor called upon all the animals of the Earth on his birthday to race against each other. To become the part of the zodiac, the animals had to cross a huge river. The rank of the animals in the race would be their position in the zodiac.

There are countless versions of this myth but the most revered one is recounted here:

The story starts with the cat and the rat being friends. One day The Rat heard about the race that was being organized by the Jade Emperor. He told The Cat about the race and the Cat asked the Rat to wake her up. Well, due to the excitement of participating in the race, The Rat forgot to wake the cat up. The forgetfulness of the rat is also the reason behind the constant fight and hatred between the rat and the cat.

Every animal except the cat participated in the Race. When the time came to cross the river, the rat asked the Ox whether he would help him cross the river. Ox said Yes and the rat jumped on the back of the ox. When the Ox reached the other side of the river, the rat grasping the moment jumped on the land and ran to touch the feet of the Jade Emperor. Hence, becoming the first in the zodiac. Ox came second so he was placed after the rat. The next animal to arrive was the Tiger, than the rabbit came who used stones and a log to get across. The fifth animal to finish the race was the Dragon. The dragon stopped to help pull the rabbit?s log across the river. After the Dragon, Horse would have been the sixth zodiac but was defeated by the snake that hid in the horse's hooves and reached before him. The tenth position was held by the Sheep, then Monkey and the rooster. 11th was the dog and the pig was the last.

There are 5 elements in the Chinese Astrology and each zodiac belongs to one of these 5 elements.

The elements in the Chinese Astrology are independent from each other but they also highly influence each other. Chinese elements create and destroy each other. When the creation, it speaks of development and when the destruction happens, it stops the development. Hence, all the elements are complimentary to each other.

The development process of Chinese elements looks something like this:

  • Water feeds Wood
  • Wood is a fuel for fire
  • Fire makes Earth (in form of ash)
  • Earth produces Metal
  • Metal helps in carrying water

The process of destruction goes something like this:

  • Wood separates Earth (as in roots)
  • Earth absorbs Water
  • Water extinguishes fire
  • Fire melts the metal
  • Metal penetrates the wood

The Five Elements are:

  • Wood: People born under the element of wood are patient and understanding. They are also warm, sociable and affectionate. People born under the element of wood are strong just like the Bamboo but can also break under pressure. The zodiac signs of rabbit and tiger come under this element.
  • Fire: People born under the fire elements are passionate and enthusiastic. They are also creative, spontaneous and adventurous. Just like the fire, the energy of fire people is also contagious with the ability to absorb everything in the surrounding. The zodiac signs of snake and horse come under this element.
  • Earth: Earth is stabilizing and strong. These people are born peacemaker. People born under the Earth element are patient, thoughtful and calm. Just as much as these people can be nurturing, they can also become self-centric. The zodiacs signs of ox, dragon, sheep and dog come under this element.
  • Metal: People born under the metal element are unyielding, strong and also a bit obstinate. These people are inclined towards peaceful life and simplicity. But on the other side, the people born under this element can also be controlling. The zodiac sign of monkey and rooster come under this element.
  • Water:Water is the representative of intelligence and wisdom. It is flexible and strong, calm, but also dangerous. The people born under the water element are observant, persistent and diplomatic. They can also passive and a bit self-indulgent. The zodiac sign of rat and pig come under this element.

The Chinese Zodiac Signs:

There are 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs which are as follows:

  • Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, and 2020): People born under the rat zodiac sign are clever, charming, funny and sharp. They also make good friends and excel team work. They are loyal to everyone they consider friend. They are highly compatible with dragon and monkey.
  • Ox (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, and 2021): The people born under the ox zodiac sign are strong and steady. They are hard working and absolutely goal oriented. They can also be timid and taciturn but can demonstrate the feelings of loneliness. They are highly compatible with snake and rooster.
  • Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, and 2022): The people born under the Chinese zodiac sign of tiger are authoritative and self-possessed. They also demonstrate strong leadership qualities. These people are also moody and intense can pounce anytime.
  • Rabbit (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, and 2023): The people born under the Chinese zodiac sign of rabbit are sociable and love to spend time with family and friends. They're famous among their peers, compassionate and sincere. They are most compatible with goat and pig.
  • Dragon (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, and 2024): Dragon represents power. The people born under the dragon zodiac sign are energetic, warm hearted, charismatic but also a bit egotistic. They have leadership qualities. They are compatible with monkey and rat.
  • Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, and 2025): The people born under the snake zodiac sign are charming, good with money, analytical but also energetic. These people are also analytical and also a bit jealous. They are most compatible with rooster and ox.
  • Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, and 2026): The people born under the horse zodiac sign travelers at heart and they love to roam free. They are also energetic, self-reliant and enjoy traveling. They are also sharp witted and impatient. This sign is most compatible with dog or tiger.
  • Goat (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, and 2027): The people born under the zodiac sign of goats are introspective and like to be lost in their thoughts. They are also original, philosophers and insecure. This sign is most compatible with pig and rabbit.
  • Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, and 2028): The people born under the zodiac sign of monkey are bent on having fun. They are the absolute fun loving characters. These people are energetic, upbeat and also lack self-control. These people are highly compatible with rat and dragon.
  • Rooster (1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029): The people born under the zodiac sign of rooster are practical, resourceful, observant, analytical, straightforward but also a bit conservative. These people are highly compatible with ox and snake.
  • Dog (1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030): The people born under the Chinese zodiac sign of dog are loyal, faithful and honest. They can also be a bit distrustful. This sign is most compatible with Tiger and Horse.
  • Pig (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031): The people born under the Chinese zodiac sign of pig are good natured and amiable. They are also a bit perfectionist and tasteful. They enjoy finer things and are also good companions. They are most compatible with rabbit and goat.

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