We’ve heard of the Western zodiac traits. Librans are known to be fashionistas, while Sagittarians are independent. But, have you heard of the Chinese Zodiac?

Chinese Zodiac refers to the 12 animals that the Chinese Calendars revolves around. Each animal represents a year, and the cycle continues over and over again for eternity.


The Heavenly Gate Lore


Depiction of the Jade Emperor

A long time ago, the Jade Emperor (or the Buddha in some versions) wanted a way for humans to keep track of time. He wanted a way that grouped cycle of years by 12 and decided to name each year after animals. In order to determine the order of the animals, he decided to host the Zodiac Competition. The animals would race across a river and cross the finish line. The first animal to cross the finish line would be deemed the animal that determined the beginning of the cycle.

In a village nearby, the Cat and Rat were neighbors. The Cat always bullied the Rat, and the Rat was determined to find ways to win in order to stop the constant tormenting. There are two most common versions of the tale that explains why cats always hated rats from then on.

In one version, the Rat heard about the competition and promised the Cat that it would wake the Cat up for the race. However, the Rat arrived at the competition ground first as the Cat slept through the race.

In another version, the Rat and the Cat were known to be the worst swimmers. The Generous Fox did not want to take part of the competition but still agreed to help them both in the race by allowing them to ride its back as it raced. However, the Rat pushed the Cat into the water and let the Cat drowned.

Throughout the entire race, the Ox was about to win the race as it charged towards the finish line. The Rat jumps onto the Ox’s horns and jumped off the horns towards the finish line. The final order of the zodiac animal is:

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


What does Your Zodiac Say About You?

Generally, each year corresponds to one zodiac animal. Each animal has their own traits, their own compatibility, and even their own fallbacks! Scroll down to learn about yours.

If your birthday falls between January and February, you need to check if your zodiac is actually in the year before. This is because the Zodiac years follows the Lunar Calendar, not the Gregorian Calendar. For example, if your birthday is January 31st 1969, you would be a Monkey as opposed to a Rooster.

Chinese zodiac wheel

RAT – Creative yet Ambitious

General Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Birthstones: Emerald, Garnet

You are amiable and social amongst your peers. You are generous towards those you love and honest with your emotions. However, you are generally known to be greedy and uptight with your wealth. You also have high anxiety, which could make you come across as inflexible.

In romantic relationships, you are sentimental and respectful towards your partner. You cherish your partner, as you recognize that relationships take work to sustain. You are most compatible with Dragons and Monkeys.

OX – Strong and Independent

General Years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Birthstones: Lapiz Lazuli, Aquamarine

You are loyal to the ones you love, and a great leader to both families and businesses. You have high stamina and strength, making you very intimidating to your competitors. However, you can be seen as stubborn and uncompassionate to your peers.

In romantic relationships, you are often unaffectionate and slow to open to others. However, once you have settled down with your partner, you become extremely loyal to your loved one. You are most compatible with Roosters and Snakes.

TIGER – Sensitive yet Energetic

General Years: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Birthstones: Ruby, Sapphire

You are extravagant and passionate. You also protect those closest to you, and you are a rebellious soul. But, you come across as attention-seeking and impulsive when living life.

In romantic relationships, you are adventurous and unafraid to try new things. However, you can be moody as a partner. You are most compatible with Horses and Dogs.

RABBIT – Sentimental and Lucky

General Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Birthstones: Sapphire, Pearl

You are the luckiest of all zodiac signs. You are charming and sympathetic, attracting many towards you. You try to uphold peace and are detail oriented in your work. However, you are generally demanding and egotistical, for you know how to get what you want.

As a romantic partner, you tend to be distant and secretive. You also need to be pampered in relationships, and you are compatible with Pigs and Sheep.

DRAGON – Fun and Majestic

General Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1983, 2000, 2012

Birthstones: Ruby, Amethyst

You are larger than life and known for your old soul. You are courageous as you always stand up for what’s right and what’s fair. However, you can come off too strong and even brutish as you let your passions take over.

As a romantic partner, you are expressive and fiercely loyal. You are compatible with Rats and Monkeys.

SNAKE – Mysterious but Funny

General Years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 2001, 2013

Birthstone: Opal

You are emotional and secretive. You are loyal to those you love most and are a deep thinker when it comes to life. However, you are easily misunderstood as you tend to be ruthless in getting what you want.

In romantic relationships, you have the innate ability to please your partner. You are extremely comfortable with your sexuality. You are most compatible with Oxes and Roosters.

HORSE – Self-Sufficient and Warm

General Years: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 2002, 2014

Birthstone: Topaz

You are free-spirited and intelligent. You are open-minded to difference and work hard for everything in life. However, you are known to be fickle and only be close to those in close proximity to you. You are hot-headed, making it difficult to let you be close to people.

In romantic relationships, you are very passionate. However, you are impatient for results, so you would often make assumptions. You are most compatible with Dogs and Tigers.

SHEEP – Gentle yet Strong

Some traditional sources identify Sheep as Goat.

General Years: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Birthstones: Sapphire, Emerald

You are extremely loving and have the purest heart of all the zodiac signs. You are protective of the things you love and you are compassionate for those who need you. However, you are pessimistic and shy, making it hard to get close to you.

In relationships, you are confident and needs a patient partner to help you blossom. However, you are extremely romantic and expressive. You are most compatible with Rabbits and Pigs.

MONKEY – Charming and Intelligent

General Years: 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Birthstones: Tiger’s Eye, Peridot

You have a business-oriented mind as you are extremely charming to your peers. You are funny to be around, and you are extremely self-aware. However, you are generally known as crafty and egotistical.

In romantic relationships, you are adventurous; you are comfortable with exploring your sexuality. You are most compatible with Rats and Dragons.

ROOSTER – Progressive and Succesful

General Years: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Birthstones: Citrine, Topaz

You are extremely extravagant and spoil those closest to you. You are resourceful and brave, making you a great person to be around. You dream big! However, you are hypercritical with those around you, which can come across as attention seeking.

In romantic relationships, you are extremely bossy. However, you are extremely loving. You are most compatible with Snakes and Oxes.

DOG – Faithful and Altruistic

General years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Birthstones: Ruby, Diamond

You are extremely trustworthy amongst your peers. You are courageous and the most altruistic animal. You are also the most observant of the zodiacs as well. However, you can come across too strong, which leads to barriers that feed into your pessimism.

As a romantic partner, you are sensitive and reliable towards your partner. You are most compatible with Tigers and Horses.

PIG – Kind and Persevering

Some traditional sources identify Pig as Boar.

General Years: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Birthstones: Moonstone, Ruby

You are strong and optimistic. In fact, you are everyone’s best friend as you are extremely mellow and easy-going. However, you are quick-tempered and can be known for your gluttony.

In romantic relationships, you are affectionate towards your partner. You are also comfortable with exploring your sexuality. You are most compatible with Sheep and Rabbits.


Traditions with Gifts

Although each zodiac animal has their own birthstone(s), traditional Chinese culture believes that gifting the zodiac animal in gold or in jade is considered luckier than the birthstones. Jade represents wisdom, good fortune, and wealth. Gold represents luck in general. When a child is born, they would be gifted a golden necklace of their zodiac animal by their parents.

Your most unlucky year is your zodiac year. For instance, if you were born in the Year of the Pig, your unlucky years would be any year that falls on the Year of the Pig. During that year, Chinese traditions encourage people to hang their birth zodiac necklace above their bed headset to encourage the gods to bless you with better luck that year. Moreover, some people would tie a red string around their wrists or ankles for good luck. These red strings would be knotted and should not be cut off in order to bless the person with better fortune.

What does your Chinese zodiac say about you?