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The 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs

The 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Chinese Astrology & Chinese Zodiac Signs

Ancient China was full of rich mythology and lore. Just like every other ancient civilisation, it's rich past has surpassed the sands of time. In ancient China, animals were symbolic of many things. Animals play an important role in the ancient Chinese astrology. The characteristics attributed to the zodiac signs were taken from animals that they represent. It is believed that Chinese Astrology, as we know it today, originated in Zhan Guo period i.e. around 5th century B.C. The integration of animals in Chineze zodiac was created during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 9 A.D.).

How did Chinese Zodiac Signs Originated?

Among the many stories that are attributed to the origin of Chinese Astrology, one that is most famous is 'The Legend of Great Race'.

The legend of "The Great Race" is one of the most famous Chinese zodiac legend. According to the ancient chinese lore, Jade Emperor was one of the most important deity and was 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. It is believed that 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 opportunity jumped on the land and ran to touch the feet of the Jade Emperor. Hence, it became the first sign 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. Hence, the horse was the 7th zodiac. The eighth position was held by the Sheep, then Monkey and the rooster. 11th was the dog and the pig was the last.

Thereby creating the entire zodiac system as we know today.

The Basics of Chinese Astrology

Elements are the aspects that influence the personality of the zodiac sign. 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 of each other but they also highly influence each other. Chinese elements create and destroy each other.

The Development Process of Chinese Elements

  • 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 Destruction Process of Chinese Elements

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

The Five Elements in Chinese Astrology

  • Wood: Wood is timless. It keeps growing patiently, hardly ever interrupting its natural surrounding. Just like the traits of wood, people born under the element of wood are patient and understanding. They are warm, sociable and affectionate. The people are strong just like bamboo but can also break under extreme pressure. The zodiac signs of rabbit and tiger come under this element.

  • Fire: Fire is passionate and it ignites everything it come in contact with. People born under the fire elements are passionate and enthusiastic. Their energy is contagious. They are also creative, spontaneous and adventurous. The energy of fire born people are such that they consume everything aronund them. Everything vibrates to the energy and vibes that they feel. The zodiac signs of snake and horse come under this element.

  • Earth: Earth is stabilizing and strong. It is a nurturer of everything it inhabits. People born under the earth element are born peacemaker. They are strategic by default. They are patient, thoughtful and calm. Alongwith being nurturing, they can also be self-centric soometimes. The zodiacs signs of ox, dragon, sheep and dog come under this element.

  • Metal: Metal is strong. It is stubborn and unqyielding. Hence, the people born under the metal element are unyielding, strong and 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 and profess exemplary leadership quality. The zodiac sign of monkey and rooster come under this element.

  • Water: Without water no living being can exist. It is crucial for survial. 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 12 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 at 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. Due to their inability to open up with others, they can also suffer through the consistent bouts 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, just like tiger itself. 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 and are also 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. In the ancient folklore, dragons were considered synonymous to Gods. 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 can sometimes be insecure and 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 are 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 thoughtful when dealing with others. 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 of others. 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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