Have you ever noticed how rather than ask your age, a Chinese person will ask under which animal sign you were born? Or why in some years more babies are born than in others?
It's because the Chinese Zodiac assigns an animal symbol to each year of a 12-year cycle; depending on the year in which you were born, it is believed you will exhibits certain characteristics of that animal symbol, and enjoy more or less luck throughout your life.
Note that below are just general descriptions of the Chinese Zodiac system, which in reality is far more complex – they also assign "inner", "true" and "secret" animal signs to someone depending on the month, day and hour in which they were born, so even if you think of yourself as a tiger, you could really be a goat!
Still worth a read, we think, and it will help put the long maternity queues in dragon years, as well as some comments you may hear off your ayi or people in the street, into perspective!
- 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
- People born in the year of the Rat tend to be imaginative, charming and goal oriented. They are hard working, ambitious, and often successful in business; with a good eye for opportunities they are also careful with money. People born under this sign are generous with the people they love, but can also be quick to anger and overly critical.
- 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
- People born in the year of the Ox are born leaders, inspiring confidence in the people they meet. They are patient, dependable and methodological, working well within routines and conventions. People born under this sign can also be stubborn and unwilling to change their minds, bearing grudges for long periods of time.
- 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
- People born in the year of the Tiger, though powerful, are also sensitive and capable of great sympathy; their humanitarian instinct is strong. Their sensitivity can make it hard for them to reach decisions. Often seen as hotheads or rebels, they frequently enter into conflict with authorities, and are stubborn about what they think is right.
- 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
- People born in the year of the Rabbit love beauty and the good things in life. They shy away from conflict and can be evasive in telling people what they really think. They are good in business and financially lucky, with a good sense of judgment. They are often admired and trusted, though they can also be self-indulgent and strong willed.
- 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
- People born in the year of the Dragon are full of vitality and strength. They are energetic and eager, and the most eccentric of any of the zodiac signs. Their honesty and bravery inspires confidence and trust, though their perfectionism can also make them unduly demanding of others. They can sometimes burn too brightly.
- 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
- People born in the year of the Snake are romantic, intuitive, rich in wisdom and charm. Though calm on the surface they are also passionate and intense. Often beautiful, they can be vain. They rely on their own intuition for guidance rather than on other people, and are very determined in what they do.
- 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
- People born in the year of the Horse are independent and do not readily take other people's advice. They are cheerful, popular and comfortable in a crowd. They work hard and are success oriented. They are quick to pick up interest in something but can also be quick to lose it. They can be impatient and hot-blooded, though not with work.
- 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
- People born in the year of the Goat are elegant and charming company, even though they can sometimes get off on the wrong foot with people. They are accomplished in arts, and very passionate about what they do and believe in. They are gentle, wise and sincere, though they can also be pessimistic and shy. They value creature comforts.
- 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
- People born under the sign of the Monkey are intelligent and quick-witted. They are good at solving problems and fast at learning – no challenge is too great. Their magnetic personality makes them always well liked, though they can be perceived as too agreeable. They can quickly become discouraged if things don't move fast enough for their liking, and sometimes think they are better than others.
- 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
- People born in the year of the Rooster are born entertainers, though their outward appearance, often flashy and bold, does not always match the timid feelings that are tucked away inside. This sign is frequently misunderstood, with emotions swinging from high to low. They can be loners and have a difficult relationship with others, though they are both interesting and brave.
- 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
- People born in the year of the Dog are loyal and faithful to those they love. They tend to be honest, intelligent and straightforward, though they often have a sharp tongue and are quick at finding faults in other people. You have to work hard to gain the confidence of people born under this sign, as they initially put up many defences.
PIG OR BOAR
- 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031
- People born in the year of the Pig and loyal and thoughtful, forming long-lasting relationships. Whatever they do, they do with all their heart and strength – they have a need to set difficult goals and see them through. They are honest and kind to loved ones; in expecting the same favour in return they can sometimes be a little naïve.