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The Chinese zodiac is a classification scheme based on the lunar calendar that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating twelve year cycle. The twelve year cycle is an approximation to the 11.85-year orbital period of the planet Jupiter. Originating from ancient mainland China, the Chinese zodiac and its variations remain popular in many Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, and Thailand. The Chinese zodiac is also followed in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao.
Identifying this scheme using the generic term zodiac reflects several superficial similarities to the Western zodiac: both have time cycles divided into twelve 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 their 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 twelve part cycle corresponds to years, rather than months. The Chinese zodiac is represented by twelve animals, whereas some of the signs in the Western zodiac are not animals.
Chinese Zodiac Animals and Personality Traits:
Rat People born in the year of the rat are quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, and kind.
Ox People born in the year of the ox are diligent, dependable, strong, and determined.
Tiger People born in the year of the tiger are brave, confident, and competitive.
Rabbit People born in the year of the rabbit are quiet, elegant, kind, and responsible.
Dragon People born in the year of the dragon are confident, intelligent, and enthusiastic.
Snake People born in the year of the snake are enigmatic, intelligent, and wise.
Horse People born in the year of the horse are animated, active, and energetic.
Goat People born in the year of the goat are calm, gentle, and sympathetic.
Monkey People born in the year of the monkey are sharp, smart, and curiosity.
Rooster People born in the year of the rooster are observant, hardworking, and courageous.
Dog People born in the year of the dog are lovely, honest, and prudent.
Pig People born in the year of the pig are compassionate, generous, and diligent.
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. 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.
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 the 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 3 or 4 February 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.
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, 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.
Four pillars calculators can determine the zodiac animal of the day. Chinese animal signs rule over days of the week, too. The term for them is “True Animals”. If your astrologer wishes to prepare a astrological 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:
Tuesday: Dragon, Pig
Wednesday: Horse, Rooster
Friday: Rabbit, Snake, Dog
Saturday: Ox, Tiger
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 and one’s spouse or adult age, and the hour column about children or late age.
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.
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.
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.
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 naïve, pedantic, insecure, selfish, indecisive, and pessimistic.
Chinese Zodiac Animals By Year:
Rat:2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
Ox:2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
Tiger:2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
Rabbit:2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
Dragon:2024, 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
Snake:2025, 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
Horse:2026, 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
Goat:2027, 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
Monkey:2028, 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
Rooster:2029, 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
Dog:2030, 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
Pig:2031, 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971