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

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

December 17, 2022

Chinese Zodiac Signs (1)

Like this? Share it with your network!

Like this? Share it with your network!

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.

You Have Mail!

Get our best content direct to your inbox! You’ll receive quick and easy recipes, fun ideas to entertain the kids, parenting tips, great competitions, as well as offers from brands we trust.

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)


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

Like this? Share it with your network!

Like this? Share it with your network!

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.

You May Also Enjoy

You’ve Got Mail!

Get our best content direct to your inbox! You’ll receive quick and easy recipes, fun ideas to entertain the kids, parenting tips, competitions, as well as offers from brands we trust.