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 Ox, it is fascinating to see just what this entails!
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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 Ox will run from February 12th 2021 until January 31st 2022, and will then be followed by the Year of the Tiger.
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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).
Personality traits: Quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, considerate, stubborn
Year of the Rat: 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Personality traits: Diligent, dependable, strong, determined, stubborn
Year of the Ox: 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Personality traits: Confident, brave, loyal, trustworthy, arrogant
Year of the Tiger: 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Personality traits: Gentle, elegant, considerate, responsible, timid
Year of the Rabbit: 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Personality traits: Confident, intelligent, enthusiastic, energetic, short-tempered
Year of the Dragon: 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Personality traits: Enigmatic, intelligent, wise, determined, suspicious
Year of the Snake: 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Personality traits: Easy-going, patient, steady, energetic, outspoken
Year of the Horse: 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Personality traits: Gentle, calm, sympathetic, considerate, timid
Year of the Goat: 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Personality traits: Intelligent, curious, sociable, enthusiastic, arrogant
Year of the Monkey: 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
Personality traits: Capable, hardworking, brave, independent, impatient
Year of the Rooster: 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Personality traits: Brave, loyal, reliable, responsible, stubborn
Year of the Dog: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
Personality traits: Optimistic, compassionate, generous, diligent, short-tempered
Year of the Pig: 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031
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Have your say! Did you check the Chinese zodiac signs for you and your family? Do the characteristics ring true? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!