Chinese zodiac

The Chinese zodiac is a classification scheme that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. The 12-year cycle is an approximation to the 11.85-year orbital period of Jupiter.[1] Based in China, the zodiac and its variations remain popular in many Asian countries and regions, such as Japan,[2] Korea,[3] Vietnam,[3], Cambodia[4] and Thailand.[5]

Identifying this scheme using the generic term "zodiac" reflects several superficial similarities to the Western zodiac: both have time cycles divided into 12 parts, each labels at least the majority of those parts with names of animals, and each is widely associated with a culture of ascribing a person's personality or events in his or her life to the supposed influence of the person's particular relationship to the cycle.

Nevertheless, there are major differences between the two: the animals of the Chinese zodiac are not associated with constellations spanned by the ecliptic plane. The Chinese 12-part cycle corresponds to years, rather than months. The Chinese zodiac is represented by 12 animals, whereas some of the signs in the Western zodiac are not animals, despite the implication of the etymology of the word zodiac.

Chinese zodiac
Chinese Zodiac carvings on ceiling of Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka
Hanyu Pinyinshēngxiào
Alternative Chinese name
Hanyu Pinyinshǔxiàng

Signs

Daoist-symbols Qingyanggong Chengdu
A stone carving of the Chinese zodiac.

The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat. The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order, each with its associated characteristics (Earthly Branch, yin/yang force, Trine, and nature element).[6]

  1. Rat, shǔ () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water)
  2. Ox, niú () (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  3. Tiger, hǔ () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood)
  4. Rabbit, tù () (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood)
  5. Dragon/, lóng () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  6. Snake, shé () (Yang, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire)
  7. Horse/, mǎ () (Yin, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire)
  8. Goat/Sheep, yáng () (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  9. Monkey, hóu () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal)
  10. Rooster/, jī () (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal)
  11. Dog, gǒu () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Earth)
  12. Pig/, zhū () (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water)

In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent how others perceive you or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs, and many Western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called "inner animals"), by day (called "true animals") and hours (called "secret animals"). The Earth is all 12 signs, 5 seasons.

While a person might appear to be a Dragon because they were born in the year of the Dragon, they might also be a Snake internally, an Ox truly, and a Goat secretively.

A conflict between a person's zodiac sign and how they live is known as Tai Sui or kai sui.

Chinese calendar

Years

Within the Four Pillars, the year is the pillar representing information about the person's family background and society or relationship with their grandparents. The person's age can also be easily deduced from the sign of the person, the current sign of the year and the person's perceived age (teens, mid-20s, 40s and so on). For example, a person who is a Tiger is either 12, 24, 36 or 48 years old in 2010, the year of the Tiger. In 2011, the year of the Rabbit, that person is one year older.

The following table shows the 60-year cycle matched up to the Gregorian calendar for the years 1924–2043 (see sexagenary cycle article for years 1804–2043). The sexagenary cycle begins at lichun about February 4 according to some astrological sources.[7]

  Year Associated
element
Heavenly
stem
Earthly
branch
Associated
animal
Year
1924–1983 1984–2043
1 Feb 05 1924–Jan 23 1925 Yang Wood Rat Feb 02 1984–Feb 19 1985
2 Jan 24 1925–Feb 12 1926 Yin Wood Ox Feb 20 1985–Feb 08 1986
3 Feb 13 1926–Feb 01 1927 Yang Fire Tiger Feb 09 1986–Jan 28 1987
4 Feb 02 1927–Jan 22 1928 Yin Fire Rabbit Jan 29 1987–Feb 16 1988
5 Jan 23 1928–Feb 09 1929 Yang Earth Dragon Feb 17 1988–Feb 05 1989
6 Feb 10 1929–Jan 29 1930 Yin Earth Snake Feb 06 1989–Jan 26 1990
7 Jan 30 1930–Feb 16 1931 Yang Metal Horse Jan 27 1990–Feb 14 1991
8 Feb 17 1931–Feb 05 1932 Yin Metal Goat Feb 15 1991–Feb 03 1992
9 Feb 06 1932–Jan 25 1933 Yang Water Monkey Feb 04 1992–Jan 22 1993
10 Jan 26 1933–Feb 13 1934 Yin Water Rooster Jan 23 1993– Feb 09 1994
11 Feb 14 1934–Feb 03 1935 Yang Wood Dog Feb 10 1994–Jan 30 1995
12 Feb 04 1935–Jan 23 1936 Yin Wood Pig Jan 31 1995–Feb 18 1996
13 Jan 24 1936–Feb 10 1937 Yang Fire Rat Feb 19 1996–Feb 06 1997
14 Feb 11 1937–Jan 30 1938 Yin Fire Ox Feb 07 1997–Jan 27 1998
15 Jan 31 1938–Feb 18 1939 Yang Earth Tiger Jan 28 1998–Feb 15 1999
16 Feb 19 1939–Feb 07 1940 Yin Earth Rabbit Feb 16 1999–Feb 04 2000
17 Feb 08 1940–Jan 26 1941 Yang Metal Dragon Feb 05 2000–Jan 23 2001
18 Jan 27 1941–Feb 14 1942 Yin Metal Snake Jan 24 2001–Feb 11 2002
19 Feb 15 1942–Feb 04 1943 Yang Water Horse Feb 12 2002–Jan 31 2003
20 Feb 05 1943–Jan 24 1944 Yin Water Goat Feb 01 2003–Jan 21 2004
21 Jan 25 1944–Feb 12 1945 Yang Wood Monkey Jan 22 2004–Feb 08 2005
22 Feb 13 1945–Feb 01 1946 Yin Wood Rooster Feb 09 2005–Jan 28 2006
23 Feb 02 1946–Jan 21 1947 Yang Fire Dog Jan 29 2006–Feb 17 2007
24 Jan 22 1947–Feb 09 1948 Yin Fire Pig Feb 18 2007–Feb 06 2008
25 Feb 10 1948–Jan 28 1949 Yang Earth Rat Feb 07 2008–Jan 25 2009
26 Jan 29 1949–Feb 16 1950 Yin Earth Ox Jan 26 2009–Feb 13 2010
27 Feb 17 1950–Feb 05 1951 Yang Metal Tiger Feb 14 2010–Feb 02 2011
28 Feb 06 1951–Jan 26 1952 Yin Metal Rabbit Feb 03 2011–Jan 22 2012
29 Jan 27 1952–Feb 13 1953 Yang Water Dragon Jan 23 2012–Feb 09 2013
30 Feb 14 1953–Feb 02 1954 Yin Water Snake Feb 10 2013–Jan 30 2014
31 Feb 03 1954–Jan 23 1955 Yang Wood Horse Jan 31 2014–Feb 18 2015
32 Jan 24 1955–Feb 11 1956 Yin Wood Goat Feb 19 2015–Feb 07 2016
33 Feb 12 1956–Jan 30 1957 Yang Fire Monkey Feb 08 2016–Jan 27 2017
34 Jan 31 1957–Feb 17 1958 Yin Fire Rooster Jan 28 2017–Feb 15 2018
35 Feb 18 1958–Feb 07 1959 Yang Earth Dog Feb 16 2018–Feb 04 2019
36 Feb 08 1959–Jan 27 1960 Yin Earth Pig Feb 05 2019–Jan 24 2020
37 Jan 28 1960–Feb 14 1961 Yang Metal Rat Jan 25 2020–Feb. 11 2021
38 Feb 15 1961–Feb 04 1962 Yin Metal Ox Feb 12 2021–Jan 31 2022
39 Feb 05 1962–Jan 24 1963 Yang Water Tiger Feb 01 2022–Jan 21 2023
40 Jan 25 1963–Feb 12 1964 Yin Water Rabbit Jan 22 2023–Feb 09 2024
41 Feb 13 1964–Feb 01 1965 Yang Wood Dragon Feb 10 2024–Jan 28 2025
42 Feb 02 1965–Jan 20 1966 Yin Wood Snake Jan 29 2025–Feb 16 2026
43 Jan 21 1966–Feb 08 1967 Yang Fire Horse Feb 17 2026–Feb 05 2027
44 Feb 09 1967–Jan 29 1968 Yin Fire Goat Feb 06 2027–Jan 25 2028
45 Jan 30 1968–Feb 16 1969 Yang Earth Monkey Jan 26 2028–Feb 12 2029
46 Feb 17 1969–Feb 05 1970 Yin Earth Rooster Feb 13 2029–Feb 02 2030
47 Feb 06 1970–Jan 26 1971 Yang Metal Dog Feb 03 2030–Jan 22 2031
48 Jan 27 1971–Feb 14 1972 Yin Metal Pig Jan 23 2031–Feb 10 2032
49 Feb 15 1972–Feb 02 1973 Yang Water Rat Feb 11 2032–Jan 30 2033
50 Feb 03 1973–Jan 22 1974 Yin Water Ox Jan 31 2033–Feb 18 2034
51 Jan 23 1974–Feb 10 1975 Yang Wood Tiger Feb 19 2034–Feb 07 2035
52 Feb 11 1975–Jan 30 1976 Yin Wood Rabbit Feb 08 2035–Jan 27 2036
53 Jan 31 1976–Feb 17 1977 Yang Fire Dragon Jan 28 2036–Feb 14 2037
54 Feb 18 1977–Feb 06 1978 Yin Fire Snake Feb 15 2037–Feb 03 2038
55 Feb 07 1978–Jan 27 1979 Yang Earth Horse Feb 04 2038–Jan 23 2039
56 Jan 28 1979–Feb 15 1980 Yin Earth Goat Jan 24 2039–Feb 11 2040
57 Feb 16 1980–Feb 04 1981 Yang Metal Monkey Feb 12 2040–Jan 31 2041
58 Feb 05 1981–Jan 24 1982 Yin Metal Rooster Feb 01 2041–Jan 21 2042
59 Jan 25 1982–Feb 12 1983 Yang Water Dog Jan 22 2042–Feb 09 2043
60 Feb 13 1983–Feb 01 1984 Yin Water Pig Feb 10 2043–Jan 29 2044

Months and solar terms

Within the Four Pillars, the month is the pillar representing information about the person's parents or childhood. Many Chinese astrologers consider the month pillar to be the most important one in determining the circumstances of one's adult life.

The 12 animals are also linked to traditional Chinese agricultural calendar, which runs alongside the better known Lunar calendar. Instead of months, this calendar is divided into 24 two week segments known as Solar Terms. Each animal is linked to two of these solar terms for a period similar to the Western month. Unlike the 60 year Lunar calendar, which can vary by as much as a month in relation to the Gregorian calendar, the agricultural calendar varies by only one day, beginning on the Gregorian calendar on February 3 or 4 every year. Again unlike the cycle of the lunar years, which begins with the Rat, the agricultural calendar begins with the Tiger as it is the first animal of spring. Around summer days are longer than winter days, because it occurs differences of perihelion and aphelion.

As each sign is linked to a month of the solar year, it is thereby also linked to a season. Each of the elements is also linked to a season (see above), and the element that shares a season with a sign is known as that sign's fixed element. In other words, that element is believed to impart some of its characteristics to the sign concerned. The fixed element of each sign applies also to the year and hour signs, and not just the monthly sign. The fixed element is separate from the cycle of elements which interact with the signs in the 60-year cycle.

Season Lunar month Fixed
element
Solar
longitude
Solar term Gregorian date Approx.
Western
zodiac
Spring 1st – 寅 (yin) Tiger Wood 314° 立春 lìchūn Feb 4 – Feb 19 Aquarius
329° 雨水 yǔshuǐ Feb 20 – Mar 5 Pisces
2nd – 卯 (mao) Rabbit Wood 344° 啓蟄 qǐzhé (驚蟄 jīngzhé) Mar 6 – Mar 20
359° 春分 chūnfēn Mar 21 – Apr 4 Aries
3rd – 辰 (chen) Dragon Wood 14° 清明 qīngmíng Apr 5 – Apr 20
29° 穀雨 gǔyǔ Apr 21 – May 4 Taurus
Summer 4th – 巳 (si) Snake Fire 44° 立夏 lìxià May 5 – May 21
59° 小滿 xiǎomǎn May 22 – Jun 5 Gemini
5th – 午 (wu) Horse Fire 74° 芒種 mángzhòng Jun 6 – Jun 21
89° 夏至 xiàzhì Jun 22 – Jul 6 Cancer
6th – 未 (wei) Goat Fire 104° 小暑 xiǎoshǔ Jul 7 – Jul 22
119° 大暑 dàshǔ Jul 23 – Aug 6 Leo
Autumn 7th – 申 (shen) Monkey Metal 134° 立秋 lìqiū Aug 7 – Aug 22
149° 處暑 chùshǔ Aug 23 – Sep 7 Virgo
8th – 酉 (you) Rooster Metal 164° 白露 báilù Sep 8 – Sep 23
181° 秋分 qiūfēn Sep 24 – Oct 7 Libra
9th – 戌 (xu) Dog Metal 194° 寒露 hánlù Oct 8 – Oct 23
211° 霜降 shuāngjiàng Oct 24 – Nov 6 Scorpio
Winter 10th – 亥 (hai) Pig Water 224° 立冬 lìdōng Nov 7 – Nov 22
244° 小雪 xiǎoxuě Nov 23 – Dec 6 Sagittarius
11th – 子 (zi) Rat Water 251° 大雪 dàxuě Dec 7 – Dec 21
271° 冬至 dōngzhì Dec 22 – Jan 5 Capricorn
12th – 丑 (chou) Ox Water 284° 小寒 xiǎohán Jan 6 – Jan 20
299° 大寒 dàhán Jan 21 – Feb 3 Aquarius

Day

Four pillars calculators can determine the zodiac animal of the day.[8] Chinese animal signs rule over days of the week, too. The term for them is “True Animals”. If your astrologer wishes to prepare a chart, it is essential he or she knows the animals of your day of birth. Given there are only seven days of the week and 12 animals, there is some repetition or doubling up. The animals for each day are as follows:

Compatibility

COMPATIBILITY CONFLICT HARM
Chinese Zodiac Compatibility-Conflict-Harm Grid in accordance to the nature, characteristics and elements

As the Chinese zodiac is derived according to the ancient Five Elements Theory, every Chinese sign is composed of five elements with relations, among those elements, of interpolation, interaction, over-action, and counter-action—believed to be the common law of motions and changes of creatures in the universe. Different people born under each animal sign supposedly have different personalities, and practitioners of Chinese astrology consult such traditional details and compatibilities to offer putative guidance in life or for love and marriage.[9]

Chinese Zodiac Compatibility Grid[10]

Sign Best Heavenly Match

(Harmonious)

Better Match

(Compatible)

Possible Match

(Link)

Match No Match

(Direct Conflict)

Gossip

(Harm; Best to Avoid)

Rat Rat, Dragon, Monkey Ox Pig, Rat, Ox Snake, Rooster, Ox, Pig, Rabbit, Goat, Dog, Tiger Horse Goat
Ox Ox, Snake, Rooster Rat Pig, Rat, Ox Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Dog, Tiger, Horse, Pig, Rabbit Goat Horse
Tiger Tiger, Horse, Dog Pig Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon Pig, Rabbit, Goat, Snake, Rooster, Ox, Dragon, Rat Monkey Snake
Rabbit Rabbit, Goat, Pig, Dog Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon Dog, Tiger, Horse, Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Snake, Ox Rooster Dragon
Dragon Dragon, Monkey, Rat Rooster Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon Snake, Rooster, Ox, Pig, Rabbit, Goat, Tiger, Horse Dog Rabbit
Snake Snake, Rooster, Ox Monkey Snake, Horse, Goat Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Dog, Tiger, Horse, Rabbit, Goat Pig Tiger
Horse Horse, Dog, Tiger Goat Snake, Horse, Goat Pig, Rabbit, Goat, Snake, Rooster, Ox, Dragon, Monkey Rat Ox
Goat Goat, Pig, Rabbit Horse Snake, Horse, Goat Dog, Tiger, Horse, Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Snake, Rooster Ox Rat
Monkey Monkey, Rat, Dragon Snake Monkey, Rooster, Dog Snake, Rooster, Ox, Pig, Rabbit, Goat, Dog, Horse Tiger Pig
Rooster Rooster, Ox, Snake Dragon Monkey, Rooster, Dog Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Dog, Tiger, Horse, Pig, Goat Rabbit Dog
Dog Dog, Tiger, Horse Rabbit Monkey, Rooster, Dog Pig, Rabbit, Goat, Snake, Rooster, Ox, Monkey, Rat Dragon Rooster
Pig Pig, Rabbit, Goat Tiger Pig, Rat, Ox Dog, Tiger, Horse, Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Rooster, Ox Snake Monkey

Four Pillars

The Four Pillars method can be traced back to the Han dynasty (201 BC – 220 AD), and is still much used in Feng shui astrology and general analysis today. The Four Pillars or columns chart is called such as the Chinese writing causes it to fall into columns. Each pillar or column contains a stem and a branch—and each column relates to the year, month, day and hour of birth. The first column refers to the year animal and element, the second to the month animal and element, the third to the day animal and element, and the last to the hour animal and element.

Within the Four Pillars, the year column purports to provide information about one's ancestor or early age, and the month column about one's parents or growing age. The day column purports to offer information about oneself (upper character) and one's spouse (lower character) or adult age, and the hour column about children or late age.[11]

Four Animal Trines

First Trine

The first Trine consists of the Rat, Dragon, and Monkey. These three signs are said to be intense and powerful individuals capable of great good, who make great leaders but are rather unpredictable. The three are said to be intelligent, magnanimous, charismatic, charming, authoritative, confident, eloquent and artistic, but can be manipulative, jealous, selfish, aggressive, vindictive, and deceitful.

Second Trine

The second Trine consists of the Ox, Snake, and Rooster. These three signs are said to possess endurance and application, with slow accumulation of energy, meticulous at planning but tending to hold fixed opinions. The three are said to be intelligent, hard-working, modest, industrious, loyal, philosophical, patient, goodhearted and morally upright, but can also be self-righteous, egotistical, vain, judgmental, narrow-minded, and petty.

Third Trine

The third Trine consists of the Tiger, Horse, and Dog. These three signs are said to seek true love, to pursue humanitarian causes, to be idealistic and independent but tending to be impulsive. The three are said to be productive, enthusiastic, independent, engaging, dynamic, honorable, loyal and protective, but can also be rash, rebellious, quarrelsome, anxious, disagreeable, and stubborn.

Fourth Trine

The fourth Trine consists of the Rabbit, Goat, and Pig. These three signs are said to have a calm nature and somewhat reasonable approach; they seek aesthetic beauty and are artistic, well-mannered and compassionate, yet detached and resigned to their condition. The three are said to be caring, self-sacrificing, obliging, sensible, creative, empathetic, tactful and prudent, but can also be naive, pedantic, insecure, selfish, indecisive, and pessimistic.

Zodiac origin stories

There are many stories and fables to explain the beginning of the zodiac. Since the Han Dynasty, the 12 Earthly Branches have been used to record the time of day. However, for the sake of entertainment and convenience, they have been replaced by the 12 animals. The 24 hours are divided into 12 periods, and a mnemonic refers to the behavior of the animals:

Earthly Branches may refer to a double-hour period. In the latter case it is the center of the period; for instance, 马 (Horse) means noon or a period from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

  • Rat (Zishi): 23:00 to 00:59. This is the time when rats are most active in seeking food. Rats also have a different number of digits on front and hind legs, thus earning Rat the symbol of "turn over" or "new start".
  • Ox (Choushi): 01:00 to 02:59. This is the time when oxen begin to chew the cud slowly and comfortably.
  • Tiger (Yinshi): 03:00 to 04:59. This is the time when tigers hunt their prey more and show their ferocity.
  • Rabbit (Maoshi): 05:00 to 06:59. This is the time when the Jade Rabbit is busy pounding herbal medicine on the Moon according to the tale.
  • Dragon (Chenshi): 07:00 to 08:59. This is the time when dragons are hovering in the sky to give rain.
  • Snake (Sishi): 09:00 to 10:59. This is the time when snakes are leaving their caves.
  • Horse (Wushi): 11:00 to 12:59. This is the time when the sun is high overhead and while other animals are lying down for a rest, horses are still standing.
  • Goat (Weishi): 13:00 to 14:59. This is the time when goats eat grass and urinate frequently.
  • Monkey (Shenshi): 15:00 to 16:59. This is the time when monkeys are lively.
  • Rooster (Youshi): 17:00 to 18:59. This is the time when roosters begin to get back to their coops.
  • Dog (Xushi): 19:00 to 20:59. This is the time when dogs carry out their duty of guarding the houses.
  • Pig (Haishi): 21:00 to 22:59. This is the time when pigs are sleeping sweetly.

The Great Race

Rat and Ox
This image depicts a scene from the "Great Race" folk story, in which the Ox carries the Rat across the river.

An ancient folk story tells that the Jade Emperor decreed that the years on the calendar would be named for each animal in the order they reached him. To get there, the animals would have to cross a river.

The Cat and the Rat were very bad at swimming, but they were both quite intelligent. They decided that the best and fastest way to cross the river was to hop on the back of the Ox. The Ox, being kindhearted and naive, agreed to carry them both across. As the Ox was about to reach the other side of the river, the Rat pushed the Cat into the water, and then jumped off the Ox and rushed to the Jade Emperor. It was named as the first animal of the zodiac calendar. The Ox had to settle in second place.
The third one to come, was the Tiger. Even though it was strong and powerful, it explained to the Jade Emperor that the currents were pushing him downstream.
Suddenly, from a distance came a thumping sound, and the Rabbit arrived. It explained how it crossed the river: by jumping from one stone to another, in a nimble fashion. Halfway through, it almost lost the race, but it was lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. For that, it became the fourth animal in the zodiac cycle.
In fifth place, was the flying Dragon. The Jade Emperor was wondering why such a swift airborne creature such as the Dragon did not come in first. The Dragon explained that it had to stop by a village and brought rain for all the people, and therefore it was held back. Then, on its way to the finish, it saw the helpless Rabbit clinging onto a log, so it did a good deed and gave a puff of breath to the poor creature so that it could land on the shore. The Jade Emperor was astonished by the Dragon's good nature, and it was named as the fifth animal.
As soon as it had done so, a galloping sound was heard, and the Horse appeared. Hidden on the Horse's hoof was the Snake, whose sudden appearance gave it a fright, thus making it fall back and giving the Snake the sixth spot while the Horse placed seventh.
After a while, the Goat, Monkey, and Rooster came to the heavenly gate. With combined efforts, they managed to arrive to the other side. The Rooster found a raft, and the Monkey and the Goat tugged and pulled, trying to get all the weeds out of the way. The Jade Emperor was pleased with their teamwork and decided to name the Goat as the eighth animal followed by the Monkey and then the Rooster.
The eleventh animal placed in the zodiac cycle was the Dog. Although it should have been the best swimmer and runner, it spent its time to play in the water. Though his explanation for being late was because it needed a good bath after a long spell. For that, it almost did not make it to the finish line.
Right, when the Emperor was going to close the race, an "oink" sound was heard: it was the Pig. The Pig felt hungry in the middle of the race, so it stopped, ate something and then fell asleep. After it awoke, it finished the race in twelfth place and became the last animal to arrive.
The cat eventually drowned and did not make it in the zodiac. It is said that this is the reason cats always hunt rats and also hate water as well.

Variations

Another folk story tells that the Rat deceived the Ox into letting it jump on its back, in order for the Ox to hear the Rat sing,[12] before jumping off at the finish line and finishing first.

In Chinese mythology, a story tells that the cat was tricked by the Rat so it could not go to the banquet. This is why the cat is ultimately not part of the Chinese zodiac.

In Buddhism, legend has it that Gautama Buddha summoned all of the animals of the Earth to come before him before his departure from this Earth, but only 12 animals actually came to bid him farewell. To reward the animals who came to him, he named a year after each of them. The years were given to them in the order they had arrived.

The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac were developed in the early stages of Chinese civilization; it is difficult to investigate its real origins. Most historians agree that the cat is not included, as they had not yet been introduced to China from India, with the arrival of Buddhism.

Problems with English translation

Due to confusion with synonyms during translation, some of the animals depicted by the English words did not exist in ancient China. For example, can mean Goat, ram, and sheep. Similarly, Rat can be translated as mouse, as there are no distinctive words for the two genera in Chinese. Further, Pig is sometimes translated to boar after its Japanese name, and also plainly means both Ox and Cow, and not water buffalo, 水牛. Rooster may also mean Chicken. However, Rooster is the most commonly used one among all the synonyms, same for , .

In other countries

The Chinese zodiac signs are also used by cultures other than Chinese. For one example, they usually appear on Korean New Year and Japanese New Year's cards and stamps. The United States Postal Service and those of several other countries issue a "Year of the ____" postage stamp each year to honor this Chinese heritage.

The Chinese lunar coins, depicting the zodiac animals, inspired the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins, as well as varieties from Australia, Korea, and Mongolia.

The Chinese zodiac is also used in some other Asian countries that have been under the cultural influence of China. However, some of the animals in the zodiac may differ by country.

Asia

The Korean zodiac is essentially identical to the Chinese zodiac, but the Sino-Korean word 양 (yang) normally refers specifically to a sheep in the Korean language (where a native Korean word 염소 yeomso is used to mean "Goat"), although the Chinese source of the loanword yang may refer to any goat-antelope.

The Japanese zodiac includes the Sheep (hitsuji) instead of the Goat (which would be yagi), and the Wild boar (inoshishi, i) instead of the Pig (buta).[13] Since 1873, the Japanese have celebrated the beginning of the new year on January 1 as per the Gregorian calendar.

The Vietnamese zodiac varies from the Chinese zodiac with the second animal being the Water Buffalo instead of the Ox, and the fourth animal being the Cat instead of the Rabbit.

The Cambodian zodiac is exactly identical to that of the Chinese although the dragon is interchangeable with the Neak (nāga) Cambodian sea snake.[14] Same with Sheep and Goat, they are interchangeable as well. Unlike China, Cambodians start their new year in April rather than in the beginning of the year. That is why Cambodian New Year is celebrated in April rather than in January like most countries.[15][16]

The Cham zodiac uses the same animals and order as the Chinese zodiac, but replaces the Monkey with the turtle (known locally as kra). Similarly the Malay zodiac is identical to the Chinese but replaces the Rabbit with the mousedeer (pelanduk) and the Pig with the tortoise (kura).[17] The Dragon is normally equated with the nāga but it is sometimes called Big Snake (ular besar) while the Snake sign is called Second Snake (ular sani).

The Thai zodiac includes a nāga in place of the Dragon[18] and begins, not at Chinese New Year, but either on the first day of fifth month in Thai lunar calendar, or during the Songkran festival (now celebrated every 13–15 April), depending on the purpose of the use.[19]

Gallery

Bloodletting chart, Tibet Wellcome L0035125

A chart indicating good and bad bloodletting days and when to guard against demons. Detail: The chart contains a sme ba (9 figures symbolizing the elements in geomancy) in the center with the Chinese pa-kua (8 trigrams) surrounded by 12 animals of months and years.

Soyombo

Soyombo and several Buddhist, tengrist and Chinese zodiac symbols in a wall mosaic.

12 zodiac

Twelve Chinese zodiac jade figurines. Capital Museum, Beijing, China.

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Dr Zai, J. Taoism and Science: Cosmology, Evolution, Morality, Health and more. Ultravisum, 2015.
  2. ^ teacher, Namiko Abe Namiko Abe is a Japanese language; translator; years, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20. "The Twelve Japanese Zodiac Signs". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  3. ^ a b "Chinese Zodiac and Chinese Year Animals". www.astroica.com. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  4. ^ "Khmer Calendar". cam-cc.org. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Animals of the Thai Zodiac and the Twelve Year Cycle". Thaizer. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  6. ^ Theodora Lau, The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, pp. 2–8, 30–5, 60–4, 88–94, 118–24, 148–53, 178–84, 208–13, 238–44, 270–8, 306–12, 338–44, Souvenir Press, New York, 2005
  7. ^ ""Almanac" "lunar" zodiac beginning of spring as the boundary dislocation?". China Network. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Online Four Pillars Calculator".
  9. ^ "Chinese Compatibility Matching". Jan 2016.
  10. ^ "Chinese Zodiac Animal Signs Compatibility". yourchineseastrology.com/.
  11. ^ chinesefortunecalendar.com
  12. ^ Cyndi Chen (2013-02-26). "The 12 Animals of the Chinese Zodiac 十二生肖". Archived from the original on March 6, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  13. ^ "Japanese Zodiac Signs and Symbols". japanesezodiac.org/. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Chinese Zodiac:Legend and Characteristics". windowintochina.wordpress.com. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  15. ^ "The Khmer Calendar | Cambodian Religion, Festivals and Zodiac Astrology". humanoriginproject.com. 2019-04-25. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Khmer Chhankitek Calendar". cam-cc.org. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  17. ^ Farouk Yahya (2015). Malay Magic and Divination in Illuminated Manuscripts.
  18. ^ ""งูใหญ่-พญานาค-มังกร" รู้จัก 3 สัญลักษณ์ปี "มะโรง"". ประชาชาติธุรกิจ. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  19. ^ "การเปลี่ยนวันใหม่ การนับวัน ทางโหราศาสตร์ไทย การเปลี่ยนปีนักษัตร โหราศาสตร์ ดูดวง ทำนายทายทัก". Archived from the original on 2011-01-03.

Sources

  • Shelly H. Wu. (2005). Chinese Astrology. Publisher: The Career Press, Inc. ISBN 1-56414-796-7.

External links

CZ12

CZ12 (Chinese: 十二生肖), also known as Chinese Zodiac, is a 2012 Hong-Kong-Chinese action comedy film co-produced, written, directed by and starring Jackie Chan. The film is the third movie of a franchise that began with Armour of God (1986) and its sequel, Armour of God II: Operation Condor (1991).Released in December 2012, the film went on to gross over US$145 million at the Chinese box office. Chan also earned two Guinness World Records with the film for "Most Stunts Performed by a Living Actor" and "Most Credits in One Movie".The film won Best Action Choreography at the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards.

Cat (zodiac)

The Cat is the fourth animal symbol in the 12-year cycle of the Vietnamese zodiac and Gurung zodiac, taking place of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac. As such, the traits associated with the Rabbit are attributed to the cat. Cats are in conflict with the Rat.

Legends relating to the order of the Chinese zodiac often include stories as to why the cat was not included among the twelve. Because the Rat tricked the cat into missing the banquet with the Jade Emperor, the cat was not included and was not aware that the banquet was going on and was not given a year, thus began the antipathy between cats and Rats. It is possible domesticated cats had not proliferated through China at the zodiac's induction.Another legend known as "The Great Race" tells that all the animals in the zodiac were headed to the Jade Emperor. The Cat and Rat were the most intelligent of the animals, however they were both also poor swimmers and came across a river. They both tricked the kind, naive Ox to assist them by letting them ride on its back over the river. As the Ox was approaching the other side of the river, the Rat pushed the Cat into the river, then jumped off the Ox and rushed to the Jade Emperor, becoming the first in the zodiac. All the other animals made it to the Jade Emperor, while the Cat was left to drown in the river after being sabotaged by the Rat. It is said that this is also the reason cats always hunt Rats.

There have been various explanations of why the Vietnamese, unlike all other countries who follow the Sino lunar calendar, have the cat instead of the Rabbit as a zodiac animal. The most common explanation is that the ancient word for Rabbit (Mao) sounds like cat (Meo).

Dog (zodiac)

The Dog (狗) is eleventh of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dog is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 戌. The character 狗, also refers to the actual animal while 戌, also refers to the zodiac animal.

Dragon (zodiac)

The Dragon (simplified Chinese: 龙; traditional Chinese: 龍) is the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dragon is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 辰, pronounced chen.

It has been proposed by one academic researcher that the Earthly Branch character may have been associated with scorpions; it may have symbolized the star Antares. In the Buddhist calendar used in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, the Dragon is replaced by the nāga. In the Gurung zodiac, the Dragon is replaced by the eagle.

Goat (zodiac)

The Goat (Chinese: 羊; pinyin: yáng, sometimes also translated Sheep or Ram) is the eighth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. This zodiacal sign is often referred to as the "Ram" or "Sheep" sign, since the Chinese word yáng is more accurately translated as Caprinae, a taxonomic subfamily that includes both goats and sheep, but contrasts with other animal subfamily types such as Bovinae, Antilopinae, and other taxonomic considerations which may be encountered in the case of the larger family of Bovidae in Chinese mythology, which also includes the Ox (zodiac). The Year of the Goat is associated with the 8th Earthly Branch symbol, 未 (wèi).

Horse (zodiac)

The Horse (⾺) is the seventh of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. There is a long tradition of the Horse in Chinese mythology. Certain characteristics of the Horse nature are supposed to be typical of or to be associated with either a year of the Horse and its events, or in regard to the personality of someone born in such a year. Horse aspects can also enter by other chronomantic factors or measures, such as hourly.

Monkey (zodiac)

The Monkey (猴) is the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Monkey is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 申.

Ox (zodiac)

The Ox (牛) is the second of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Ox is denoted by the Earthly Branch symbol 丑. The name is translated into English as Cow.In the Vietnamese zodiac, the water buffalo occupies the position of the Ox. In the Gurung zodiac, the Ox is replaced by the Cow.

Pig (zodiac)

The Pig (豬) is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in Chinese zodiac, in relation to the Chinese calendar and system of horology, and paralleling the system of ten Heavenly Stems and twelve Earthly Branches. Although the term "zodiac" (etymologically referring to a "[circle of] little animals") is used in the phrase "Chinese zodiac", there is a major difference between the Chinese usage and Western astrology: the zodiacal animals (including the zodiacal Pig) do not relate to the zodiac as the area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south (as measured in celestial latitude) of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun, the Moon, and visible planets across the celestial sphere's constellations, over the course of the year.

In Chinese astrology, "zodiacal" animals refer to fixed cycles of twelve animals. The same cycle of twelve is used for cycles of years and cycles of hours. In the case of years, the cycle of twelve corresponds to the twelve-year cycle of Jupiter. In the case of the hours, the twelve hours represent twelve double-hours for each period of night and day. In the continuous sexagenary cycle of sixty years, every twelfth year corresponds to hai, 亥 (the twelfth of the twelve Earthly Branches); this re-recurring twelfth year is commonly called the Year of the Pig (豬年).

There are five types of Pigs, named after the Chinese elements. In order, they are: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. These correspond to the Heavenly Stems. Thus, there are five pig years in every sexegenary cycle. For example, in the year 2019, the Earthly Branch is the twelfth, hài, and the Heavenly Stem is the sixth, jǐ 己. The Chinese New Year in 2019 is February fifth: this corresponds with the beginning of both the sexegenary year of jǐ hài and also the zodiac year of the Earth Pig.

In the Japanese zodiac and the Tibetan zodiac, the Pig is replaced by the boar. In the Dai zodiac, the Pig is replaced by the elephant. In the Gurung zodiac, the Pig is replaced by the deer.

Rabbit (zodiac)

The Rabbit (卯) is the fourth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rabbit is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 卯.

In the Vietnamese zodiac and the Gurung zodiac, the cat takes the place of the Rabbit.

Radical 161

Radical 161 meaning "morning" is 1 of 20 Kangxi radicals (214 radicals total) composed of 7 strokes.

In the Kangxi Dictionary there are 15 characters (out of 49,030) to be found under this radical.

In Chinese astrology, 辰 represents the fifth Earthly Branch and corresponds to the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac.

Radical 164

Radical 164 meaning "wine" or "alcohol" is 1 of 20 Kangxi radicals (214 radicals total) composed of 7 strokes.

In the Kangxi Dictionary there are 290 characters (out of 49,030) to be found under this radical.

In Chinese astrology, 酉 represents the tenth Earthly Branch and corresponds to the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac.

Radical 212

Radical 212, 龍, 龙, or 竜 meaning "dragon", is one of only two of the 214 Kangxi radicals that are composed of 16 strokes. The character arose as a stylized drawing of a Chinese dragon, and refers to a version of the dragon in each East Asian culture:

Chinese dragon, Lóng in Chinese

Japanese dragon, Ryū or Tatsu in Japanese

Korean dragon, Ryong or Yong in Korean

Vietnamese dragon, Rồng in VietnameseIt may also refer to the Dragon as it appears in the Chinese zodiac. It is used as the symbol for Tatsu, a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, in California.

In the Kangxi Dictionary there are only 14 characters (out of 40,000) to be found under this radical.

It occurs as a phonetic complement in some fairly common Chinese characters, for example 聾 = "deaf", which is composed of 龍 "dragon" and the "ear" 耳 radical, 耳, pronounced similarly to 龍: "dragon gives sound, ear gives meaning".

Radical 39

Radical 39 meaning "child" or "seed" is 1 of 31 Kangxi radicals (214 radicals total) composed of three strokes.

In the Kangxi Dictionary, there are 83 characters (out of 49,030) to be found under this radical.

In Chinese astrology, 子 represents the first Earthly Branch and corresponds to the Rat in the Chinese zodiac.

Radical 49

Radical 49 meaning "oneself" is 1 of 31 Kangxi radicals (214 radicals total) composed of three strokes.

In the Kangxi Dictionary, there are 20 characters (out of 49,030) to be found under this radical.

In Chinese astrology, 巳 represents the sixth Earthly Branch and corresponds to the Snake in the Chinese zodiac. In the ancient Chinese cyclic character numeral system tiāngān, 己 represents the sixth Celestial stem.

Rat (zodiac)

The Rat (子) is the first of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rat is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 子.

Rooster (zodiac)

The Rooster (simplified Chinese: 鸡; traditional Chinese: 雞/鷄) is the tenth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rooster is represented by the Earthly Branch symbol 酉. The name is translated into English as Chicken.

In the Tibetan zodiac and the Gurung zodiac, the bird is in place of the Rooster.

Snake (zodiac)

The Snake (蛇) is the sixth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Snake is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 巳.According to one legend, there is a reason for the order of the 12 animals in the 12-year cycle. The story goes that a race was held to cross a great river, and the order of the animals in the cycle was based upon their order in finishing the race. In this story, the Snake compensated for not being the best swimmer by hitching a hidden ride on the Horse's hoof, and when the Horse was just about to cross the finish line, jumping out, scaring the Horse, and thus edging it out for sixth place.

The same 12 animals are also used to symbolize the cycle of hours in the day, each being associated with a two-hour time period. The "hour" of the Snake is 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., the time when the Sun warms up the Earth, and Snakes are said to slither out of their holes. The "month" of the Snake is 5 May to 5 June.

The reason the animal signs are referred to as zodiacal is that one's personality is said to be influenced by the animal signs ruling the time of birth, together with elemental aspects of the animal signs within the sexagenary cycle. Similarly, the year governed by a particular animal sign is supposed to be characterized by it, with the effects particularly strong for people who were born in any year governed by the same animal sign.

In Chinese symbology, Snakes are regarded as intelligent, but with a tendency to be somewhat unscrupulous.

Tiger (zodiac)

The Tiger (寅) is the third of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Tiger is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 寅.

Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu Pinyinshēngxiào
Wu
Romanizationsen平-siau去
Hakka
Romanizationsensiau
Yue: Cantonese
Jyutpingsaang1-ciu3
Southern Min
Hokkien POJsingsiàu
Eastern Min
Fuzhou BUCsăng-ngá
Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu Pinyinshǔxiàng
Wu
Romanizationzoh入-sian平
Yue: Cantonese
Jyutpingsuk6-soeng1
Southern Min
Hokkien POJsio̍ksiùnn
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