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

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

February 5, 2021

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 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?

Chinese New Year Year of the Ox (1)

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).

Rat

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

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

Ox

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

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

Tiger

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

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

Rabbit

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

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

Dragon

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

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

Snake

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

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

Horse

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

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

Goat

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

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

Monkey

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

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

Rooster

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

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

Dog

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

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

Pig

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!

What Are the 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs and What Do They Represent_ - Mykidstime

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Published On: February 5th, 2021 / Categories: Lifestyle, School / Last Updated: March 21st, 2021 / Tags: , /

About the Author: 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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