What Are the 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs and What Do They Represent?

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

December 17, 2022

Chinese Zodiac Signs (1)

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Chinese tradition has long held the belief of Chinese zodiac signs, and their corresponding importance for a person’s fortunes. Each year symbolises a different animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and as we get ready to enter the Year of the Rabbit, it is fascinating to see just what this entails!

The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao or Shu Xiang, is a repeating 12-year cycle where each year is represented by an animal and corresponding attributes.

The Chinese zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

The Year of the Rabbit will run from January 22nd 2023 to February 9th 2024, and will then be followed by the Year of the Dragon.

Chinese Zodiac Origin

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor wanted 12 animals to stand guard over his palace. In a race to the palace to win the role, the strong and dependable Ox was expected to come first, but the resourceful Rat snuck in on the Ox’s back and took first place.

After the Ox, came the Tiger and Rabbit who were both fast and determined, followed by the Dragon and the Snake.

Next to finish the race were the Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. These 12 animals became the guardians of the Heavenly Gate, and were immortalised as the Chinese zodiac signs.

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What Are the Chinese Zodiac Signs?

The year of a person’s birth determines their Chinese zodiac sign, and the belief is that this determines their character, career, personality, fortune, relationships and fate.

Each zodiac animal has personality traits that have both advantages (e.g. strong, intelligent) and disadvantages (e.g. stubborn, impatient).

Chinese New Year Year of the Ox (1)

Rat

Personality traits: Quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, considerate, stubborn

Year of the Rat: 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032

Ox

Personality traits: Diligent, dependable, strong, determined, stubborn

Year of the Ox: 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033

Tiger

Personality traits: Confident, brave, loyal, trustworthy, arrogant

Year of the Tiger: 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034

Rabbit

Personality traits: Gentle, elegant, considerate, responsible, timid

Year of the Rabbit: 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035

Dragon

Personality traits: Confident, intelligent, enthusiastic, energetic, short-tempered

Year of the Dragon: 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036

Snake

Personality traits: Enigmatic, intelligent, wise, determined, suspicious

Year of the Snake: 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037

Horse

Personality traits: Easy-going, patient, steady, energetic, outspoken

Year of the Horse: 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038

Goat

Personality traits: Gentle, calm, sympathetic, considerate, timid

Year of the Goat: 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039

Don’t Miss…

Lunar New Year is nearly here, offering lots of opportunity for fun and celebration – from lion dances and dragon masks to dumplings, lanterns and a whole host of Zodiac animals! These Chinese New Year colouring pages are a great idea for keeping the kids busy and entertained!

Chinese New Year Colouring Pages

Monkey

Personality traits: Intelligent, curious, sociable, enthusiastic, arrogant

Year of the Monkey: 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040

Rooster

Personality traits: Capable, hardworking, brave, independent, impatient

Year of the Rooster: 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041

Dog

Personality traits: Brave, loyal, reliable, responsible, stubborn

Year of the Dog: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042

Pig

Personality traits: Optimistic, compassionate, generous, diligent, short-tempered

Year of the Pig: 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043

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Published On: December 17th, 2022 / Categories: Lifestyle, School / Last Updated: January 27th, 2023 / Tags: , /

About the Author: Emily Manning

Emily Manning
Emily is the coffee-loving Editor of MyKidsTime. Mum of one daughter and two naughty Tibetan Terriers, she is particularly partial to Curly Wurlys and unable to resist pretty stationery and new cookbooks. As an avid foodie and domestic goddess-wannabe, she is most likely to be found in the kitchen.

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