What Does Your Chinese Zodiac Sign Mean?

Most people know what their Western astrological signs are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc. But do you know your Chinese zodiac sign?

Unlike the Western zodiac, which is generally based on your birth month, the Chinese zodiac, or Sheng Xiao, is based on your birth year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

Based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in the cycle corresponds to an animal sign.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to the Chinese zodiac, so you can finally understand what it means when someone says it’s the Year of the Dog.

The Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008)

In Chinese astrology, rats are seen as alert, intelligent, flexible and energetic. If you were born in the Year of the Rat, you are good with money and savvy with taking calculated risks; and you like collecting and saving things.

The Ox (1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)

People born in the year of the ox are diligent, patient, and honest. They are frequently conservative, hardworking and industrious. Responsibility is important, both in the ways they carry themselves and what they expect from others.

The Tiger (1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)

Tigers are symbols of power and royalty. They have high self-esteem to the point of appearing conceited, but they are true protectors of those they love. Tigers are independent in nature and will always fight to win an argument. Justice is important to them and they’ll do everything in their power to uphold it.

The Rabbit (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)

The rabbit is tender and sweet. It represents hope and nobility, and people born in the Year of the Rabbit are typically patient, gentle, and intelligent. Rabbits are very particular and have a great attention to detail in all facets of life, including love. They are not flighty and are loyal to their mates.

The Dragon (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)

The dragon represents authority, dignity, and divine power. People born under the sign of the dragon are mysterious and can lash out at others; but they care deeply about their relationships and love others immensely.

Dragons can seem lazy to those who don’t understand their inner workings: there’s always something percolating, waiting to be unleashed on society. They’re extremely ambitious, so when they’re “on” it’s best to get out of their way.

The Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)

Snakes can be seen as sneaky, calculating, and mysterious. People born in the year of the snake are devoted and deeply loving, but they can sometimes become obsessed with matters of the heart to the point of being controlling. They can seem aloof at first, but once you get to know them, you’ll have a devoted friend for life.

The Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014)

People born in the Year of the Horse are energetic and fearless. They are enthusiastic and have great integrity and are always looking to improve themselves. Horses don’t like being “fenced in” and enjoy mental, physical and emotional freedom. They’re very talkative and it’s hard to keep them interested in topics they have no interest in.

The Goat/Sheep/Ram (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)

The Goat/Sheep/Ram represents kindness, purity, and gentle calm. People born under the sign of the goat have huge hearts and care greatly about those around them. They’re extremely opinionated but are sensitive enough to keep their opinions to themselves if they think they’ll offend others. Goats can be manipulative when necessary and patient enough to take the time to convince others to agree with them.

The Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016)

People born under this sign are very clever and intelligent. Don’t expect them to ever do anything that they’re not interested in. If they find hobbies or topics they’re interested in, Monkeys will throw themselves wholeheartedly into those areas. They are obsessively curious and are deeply committed to relationships. They love children and have a tendency to spoil their own and their friends’ children to boot.

The Rooster (1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)

The rooster is a master at interpreting peoples’ thoughts and feelings. People born under this sign are usually very intelligent and quick witted. Many roosters are creative and are great planners, but can be sly or tricky if they feel the need to protect themselves. They are devoted friends and are extremely loyal.

The Dog (1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018)

People born under this sign are loyal, conservative, and dedicated to all that is fair. They are quiet types and prefer a quiet life with loved ones over one that’s filled with loud parties and raucous events. They care deeply about everyone they allow into their lives and will fight to support those they love.

The Pig (1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019)

People born in the Year of the Pig can be lazy just as the sign itself, but pigs are insightful, loving, and intelligent. They are logical but can be short tempered. Once you’re friends with them, it’s forever unless you betray them. Then watch out!

Do any of these characterizations sound familiar? If they don’t, ask your friends and family. They probably see you with more objectivity than you do yourself.