Zodiac signs play an integral part in Chinese culture, and can be used to determine your fortune for the year, marriage compatibility, career fit, best times to have a baby, and so much more.
There are 12 Chinese zodiac animals used to represent years.
2020 is the Year of the Rat (鼠—Shǔ)
People born in the year of the Rat like saving and collecting. They never have hard times financially and live organized lives. If you receive a valuable gift from a Rat, know that he thinks highly of you, because he doesn’t usually like opening his wallet for others. Rats don’t look for praise and recognition. They are very sensitive and know when there is trouble. When they do take risks, they’re usually successful.
Rat is Yang, and its earthly branch is Zi.
23:00–01:00. Rats are at the height of their activity at this time and people began to associate rats with the Zi hour.
Rats steal food, which can be interpreted as the household being wealthy and having surpluses. Because of their fast reproduction rate, some also pray to rats for children.
Best match: Ox
Best group: Monkey, Dragon
What’s your zodiac animal?
In order, they are: rat (鼠—shǔ), ox (牛—niú), tiger (虎—hǔ), rabbit (兔—tù), dragon (龙—lóng), snake (蛇—shé), horse (马—mǎ), goat (羊—yang), monkey (猴—hóu), rooster (鸡—jī), dog (狗—gǒu), and pig (猪—zhū).
The zodiac cycle repeats every 12 years, making it easy to figure out whether it’s your year- just check if your age is a multiple of 12! Here are the 12 zodiac animals in order with accompanying years:
|ZODIAC ANIMAL||CHARACTER||RECENT YEARS|
|Rat||鼠 (shǔ)||1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020|
|Ox||牛 (niú)||1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021|
|Tiger||虎 (hǔ)||1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022|
|Rabbit||兔 (tù)||1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023|
|Dragon||龙 (lóng)||1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024|
|Snake||蛇 (shé)||1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025|
|Horse||马 (mǎ)||1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026|
|Goat||羊 (yang)||1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027|
|Monkey||猴 (hóu)||1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028|
|Rooster||鸡 (jī)||1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029|
|Dog||狗 (gǒu)||1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030|
|Pig||猪 (zhū)||1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031|
Maybe you think your zodiac year (本命年—ben ming nian) will be lucky. It’s your year after all. However, it’s the total opposite.
The science behind it all
How do Chinese astrologers know each zodiac’s personality, fortune and compatibility with others?
Below is some technical information you might be interested in.
Dì Zhī (地支), or Earthly Branches, were the original terms used for the years. These branches are also assigned to the hours of the day, based on solar time.
The animals were later added as mnemonics and categorized as either yīn (阴) or yáng (阳).
Ten Celestial Stems (天干—tiān gān) pair with the Earthly Branches for a 60 year calendrical cycle. Then add in an element. These cycle through, but each zodiac also has a fixed element. This fixed element is what determines which sign you’re compatible with.
Twelve Earthly Branches: zi (子), chǒu (丑), yín (寅), mǎo (卯), chén (辰), sì (巳), wǔ (午), wèi (未), shēn (申), yǒu (酉), xū (戌), hài (亥).
Ten Celestial Stems: jiǎ (甲), yǐ (乙), bǐng (丙), ding (丁), wù (戊), jǐ (己), gēng (庚), xīn (辛), rén (壬), guǐ (癸).
Five elements: water (水—shuǐ), wood (木—mù), fire (火—huǒ), earth (土—tǔ), metal (金—jīn).