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China > Culture and festivals > The Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac 

The Chinese Zodiac is based on the lunar calendar and gives each of its 12 years an animal name. If you are born within this year you are said to possess the qualities of that animal. Note that the Chinese New Year usually falls a month or two after the Western version, so if you were born in January 1973, as I was, you are actually a rat, not an ox! Below is a brief description of each of the animal years, but if you’re interested in further exploration head to an astrologer. 


Astrologers can be found in markets and parks throughout China and, if you give them your time and date of birth, they should be able to give you a precise rundown of who you are, what days are lucky for you and what lies in your future – take a translator! 



Rat – Usually clever, giving and diligent, but can be prone to laziness. 

Ox – Independent, cool and stubborn, an ox will always finish a task. 

Tiger – Self-assured and adventurous, tigers live up to their name. 

Rabbit – Quiet, shy and family-loving, rabbits need reassurance and love. 

Dragon – Dragons are confident and able leaders and usually gracious. 

Snake – Often selfish, charismatic and hard-nosed; you wouldn’t want to 

upset a snake. 

Horse – Horses are usually witty and well motivated, but emotional. 

Goat – Money-loving goats are charmers but don’t often turn up on time. 

Monkey – Monkeys are daring and love a challenge but, despite their intelligence, 

they can be erratic. 

Rooster – Diligence and punctuality are important to roosters, although 

they can speak a little too freely and are prone to feeling emotional. 

Dog – Defensive, loyal and kind, they really do make best friends. 

Pig – Calm and helpful, pigs may not be very intelligent but they are sincere. 

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   Painting, Calligraphy, and Literature

   Music and Opera

   Martial arts and acrobatics

   Events and festivals

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