Chinese Astrology, Ming shu (or Zhàn xīng xué 占星学), follows a twelve year cycle. According to a Chinese legend, one New Year Buddha invited all the animals in his kingdom to present themselves before him. Only 12 animals turned up. First of all came Rat, followed by Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and last of all Pig. In gratitude Buddha decided to name each year after each animal, in addition each person who was born in that year would inherit some characteristics and personality of that animal.
According to the Chinese Fortune Telling calendar, the New Year begins with the first full moon in February, otherwise known as the Chinese New Year. Thus, for example, even though the New Year may be marked as starting on the 7th February 2008 (6th February in the USA), for fortune-telling purposes it is considered to begin on the 4th February 2008 (3rd February in the USA).
Consult the table below to find out which year you were born in. January birthdays usually count as the year before. It may be inaccurate if you were born in February as the New Year changes according to the lunar calendar. (Note: In 1995, the year of the Pig began on 31st January.)
2020 The Year of the Metal Rat starts on the 25th of January and ends on the 11th of February 2021. The Rat is known for saving and collecting. This is of most consequence and importance when it comes to financial dealings. Rats tend to be stingy, so if and when you receive a gift from a Rat you should know that the rat thinks very highly of you. Due to their nature, they are usually risk-averse. When they do take risks, they are carefully calculated, and therefore usually come out on the winning side of that risk. Rats are usually adaptable, smart, cautious, aware, flexible, and outgoing, as well as stubborn and finicky. See future years (2021+).
2019 The Year of the Earth Pig starts on the 5th of February and ends on the 24th of January 2020. The Pig should not be thought of as the negative connotation of the word. While the Pig does enjoy extravagances at times, he rather tends to be spoiled by luck. This is especially true when it comes to career and finances. (Think of a surprise bonus or promotion.) While excesses are greeted with open arms, he can be very thoughtful, deliberate and rational, and he actually likes to share and treat friends. In general the year should hold some good surprises, but only for those willing to share in the spoils.
2018 The Year of the Earth Dog starts on the 16th of February and ends on the 4th of February 2019. The Dog is deceptively perceptive, loyal, and can be either energetic and playful or lazy. These portend that the year will be one in which career and job are at the forefront. There will likely be much work to do, and it will assuredly be exhausting, but if one remains loyal to their job, they should benefit from the effort invested. Just be prepared to have alternating periods of joy and frustration.
2017 The Year of the Fire Rooster starts on the 28th of January and ends on the 15th of February 2018. The Rooster is observant, hardworking, confident and proud. These traits afford many benefits when trying to further a career or when looking for work. But they can also get one into trouble, as they can be seen as being narcissistic. So... while focusing on work, it is wise to acknowledge and take into account the feelings of others.
2016 The Year of the Fire Monkey starts on the 8th of February 2016 and ends on 27th of January 2017. The Monkey is animated, energetic, quick, friendly (most times!), inquisitive, clever and sometimes mischievous. So, this year is a year to take time to slow things down and contemplate, as happenings are likely to be quick and fast-changing. Financial matters are especially important, since you don't want to make hasty decisions in what may be a disorderly year.
2015 The Year of the Wood Sheep (also known as Goat or Ram) starts on the 19th of February 2015 and ends on 7th of February 2016. The Sheep signifies a calmness and gentle demeanor. This is a year to reflect and give thanks. It is a time to be perceptive to beauty in art and in others. Compassion is a key element to this year. Those born in this year can be worrisome and shy, which tends to be a side-effect of compassion and care-giving (in women).
2014 The Year of the Wood Horse or the Year of the Green Horse starts on the 31st January 2014 and ends on the 18th February 2015. This is a year that brings optimism and general good luck for those who are diligent in their efforts. It is a good time to undertake projects that have been put off in the past. The year can also see some temperamental action and behavour, so it is wise to remember to be level-headed and calm when working towards goals. Romance may take a back seat to career ambitions this year, but there is always the possibility that the focus on success brings unexpected relationships and love.
2013 The Year of the Black Snake or the Year of the Water Snake starts on the 10th February 2013 and ends on the 30th January 2014. This is a great year for scholarly and scientific endeavours and research. Unexpected changes will bring great new opportunities for rebuilding and construction, as long as you always plan cautiously and carefully. Travel is well-starred, especially over water. Relationships tend to intensify during this year, becoming closer and deeper.
2012 The Year of the Black Dragon or the Year of the Water Dragon starts on the 23rd January 2012 (24th January 2012 for Europe and the US) and ends on the 9th February 2013. This is an unpredicatable year full of unusual events with both big ups and downs. Ambition and power will be consolidated however the over-abundance of optimism and confidence may lead some into pitfalls. This intense year is an excellent time to start a business, marry and have children. Big risks bring big rewards. Those who dare, win. This is also a big year for geological upheavals.
2011 The Year of the Metal Rabbit or the Year of the White Metal Rabbit starts on the 3rd February 2011 and ends on the 22nd January 2012. Much of the volatility of the last year will settle down with less drama and less confrontation as more effort is placed into keeping the peace. Even though there will still be crises and tense situations, there is also a better chance of resolving the difficult issues whether in the home or on the world stage. The emphasis will turn to the home and children and improving comforts at home. This will also be reflected in politics as the emphasis turns from looking outwards to being more concerned domestic politics and a more chauvinistic view.
2010 The Year of the Metal Tiger or the Year of the White Tiger (sometimes also called the Golden Tiger) starts on the 14th February 2010 and ends on the 2nd February 2011. Although this volatile year brings dramatic upheavals, hard work and sustained effort also brings about many positive economic results and financial improvements. It is easier this year to set plans in motion, and once those plans are in motion you will find that progress will be faster than in the last year, and results will become more quickly evident. Even though this year will be tumultuous, competitive and aggressive, this energy will lead to many big problems being unexpectedly resolved. This year will prove challenging for those born in the year of the Monkey or the Snake, whereas those born in the year of the Sheep, Horse, Dog, Tiger, Ox and Dragon will find it easier to get new projects off the ground.
2009 The Year of the Earth Ox or the Year of the Brown Ox starts on the 26th January 2009 and ends on the 13th February 2010. This year is a far more conservative year which spotlights traditions and values. Prosperity is reached through fortitude, patience and plain hard work. Get rich schemes won't work, frivolity and outrageousness are out. Diligence, perseverence, stability and growth are in. This is a time to reap what you have sown. If you haven't already, 2009 is the year to sow the seeds for future success and prosperity. The downside of the year of the Ox is that you will encounter a certain amount of stubbornness, inflexibility and lack of tact.
2008 The Year of the Earth Rat or the Year of the Brown Rat starts on the 7th February 2008 (6th Feb in the USA) and ends on the 25th January 2009 (24th Jan in the USA). For fortune-telling purposes this year begins on the 4th February. This year will bring many good opportunities and prospects. This year will be full of productive Rat energy. You can expect professional success and wealth this year, although people under the sign of Horse, Sheep and Rooster may find success requires very careful management and planning, and will bring some stress. All in all, this year is relatively free of troubles and turbulence of past years, and brings many new opportunities for you to shine. From CNBC 6 Feb 2008: "He (Raymond Lo, a feng shui master in Hong Kong) predicts stock markets will be soft this year as the elements of earth and water, which he says are strong in the Year of the Rat, weaken the fire element that influences shares. 'The water element affects the fire of the markets. I can foresee a lot of correction in the stock market,' said Koh (Vincent Koh, a feng shui master at Singapore Feng Shui Centre)."
2007 The Year of the Fire Pig or the Year of the Red Pig starts on the 18th Feb 2007 (17th Feb in the USA) and ends the 6th Feb 2008. This year brings many natural and man-made calamities. International and personal issues flare up and go quickly out of control. A lot of dangerous issues behind the scenes will fuel sudden dramatic events. Political turmoil, political unrest, even sudden takeovers and wars can be expected. In the natural world, floods and large scale water damage are also highlighted. But on the more positive side, these conflicts will also bring about new beginnings in international relationships and in the broader social order. New regimes with new governments will spring up. The Year of the Pig also stimulates travel.
2006 The Year of the Fire Dog or the Year of the Red Dog starts on the 29th January 2006. For fortune-telling purposes this year begins on the 4th February (3rd February in the USA). This year will bring upheavals as well as the search for understanding and peace. Disruptions in the earth itself can be expected — earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and the destructive consequences of wild weather. This year puts issues of justice and injustice high on the agenda. People start questioning what is right and demanding more truth and fairness. Issues of spirituality and other religious and philosophical questions become important. Financially, though, this is not a good year to over spend or over-extend yourself.
2005 The Year of the Wooden Rooster or the Year of the Green Rooster starts on the 9th February 2005 (8th February in the USA). For fortune-telling purposes this year begins on the 4th February. Family and family interests are the number one priority of this year. This will also be a great year for creative ambitions and projects, as long as they are also have a strong, practical base. This year will bring big changes, new inventions and brand-new directions. Partnerships and joint ventures bring success. This year will also showcase the emergence of new talents. Violent arguments and disputes are possible this year, especially if there are continuing problems spilling over from 2004. Now is the time to try to resolve them. And remember to stay humble and helpful... don't fall into the Rooster trap of arrogance and cockiness!
2004 The Year of the Green Monkey or the Year of the Wooden Monkey starts on the 22nd January 2004 (or 4th February for fortune telling purposes). This will be a year of ups and downs and instabilities in many areas. Risks and gambles will seem very attractive and many will pay off in a spectacular fashion. There will be conflicts and heated disputes in the world arena. Many of these conflicts will be hidden and motivated by revenge. Movement and changes abound. But ultimately this is also a year for learning from your mistakes and moving on to brighter prospects. It is a time for new beginnings and for sowing the seeds of peace.
2003 The Year of the Black Sheep or the Year of the Black Goat started on the 1st February 2003. The Sheep Year will bring more harmony, tranquillity and understanding into the world. Many people may find they suffer badly economically in 2003. Events and affairs may appear to progress slowly and in a disorganised manner, leading many to worry and pessimism. However, family and friends will be more important. On a brighter note, this is the year for indulging your whimsical side and artistic nature. If there are any conflicts remaining from the last year, now is the perfect time to find harmony and resolution. Because 2003 is the last year of the fire cycle, it is called a "corner year" in Chinese astrology, which means it can be an unpredictable and changing year.
2002 The Year of the Black Horse or the Year of the Water Horse started on the 12th February 2002 (11th February 2002 in the US). The Horse Year brought sudden political developments that had far-reaching consequences. In the economical arena, there was a tendency towards wiide ranging plans and expansionist policies. Big advances occured in the field of the media and the communications industry. The Horse Year encouraged new, bold and exciting developments. This was the year for launching plans and acting out your dreams. Those who made an effort and who had a pioneering spirit will have gone far this past year.
2001 The Year of the Metal Snake or the Year of the Golden Snake started on the 24th January 2001.
2000 The Year of the Golden Dragon started on the 5th February 2000.
2021 The Year of the Metal Ox Starts 12th of Feb 2021.
2022 The Year of the Water Tiger Starts 1st of Feb 2022.
2023 The Year of the Water Rabbit Starts 22nd of Jan 2023.
Enter your details to find out your Western and your Chinese astrological sign...
Sheep is also known as Goat or Ram. Sometimes the euphemism "Little Dragon" is used for Snake. Rabbit is also known as Cat in Vietnam. A full list of the years is given below.
In addition, each year is said to be ruled by one of the five elements:
Wood (creativity, Mù), Fire (stimulation, Huǒ), Earth (stability, Tǔ), Metal
(valour, Jīn) and Water (communication, Shuǐ). These elements bear great influence
in a full intricate Chinese horoscope.
The Meanings of the Animals
RAT PERSONALITY — Shǔ
Charming, crafty, adaptable, creative, spendthrift, gregarious, clever with numbers.
Time is ripe for new ventures. Good time to move or start new job. Health and
finances good but save for the coming year.
OX PERSONALITY — Niú
Reliable, practical, methodical, loyal, possessive. No glitz but substance.
Year of stability and careful expansion but it is important to make sure you get
the signature on the dotted line or you may lose opportunities.
TIGER PERSONALITY — Hǔ
Competitive, leader, brave, passionate.
Time of dramatic change and upheaval. Time of big stakes and aggressively
chasing goals. Not a good time to gamble though. Beware of accidents.
RABBIT PERSONALITY — Tù
Sociable yet independent, humble, clear-sighted, good judge of character, gifted healer.
Year for diplomacy and persuasion. Good year for procreation. Good year for
success with traditional herbal medicine. Beware of overindulgence and procrastination.
DRAGON PERSONALITY — Lóng
Extrovert, flamboyant and exotic. Mercurial and changeable but always in the spotlight.
Good time for creative and extravagant schemes. Tendency to gamble on one big scheme, winner
takes all. Success for eccentric and artistic people and projects.
SNAKE PERSONALITY — Shé
Refined and subtle. Good at gathering and craftily using information. Jealous.
A year of gossip and backstabbing. A year to watch out for what is going on
under the surface. Elegance and refinement. Good for secret negotiations.
HORSE PERSONALITY — Mǎ
Sociable, sporty, talkative, a tyrant (especially if born 1906 or 1966).
Year of political stability and strengthening your position. Travel. Be careful of wastefulness.
SHEEP PERSONALITY — Yáng
Selfless, affectionate, kind, artistic, craftsman, diplomatic.
Year of peacemaking and humanitarian issues, true romance, reconciliation.
MONKEY PERSONALITY — Hóu
Inventive, quick-witted, mischievous, unscrupulous, versatile, full of ideas and talk.
Instability, broken promises and political squabbling. Year of restlessness
and currency fluctuations. Good for speculation.
ROOSTER PERSONALITY — Jī
Determined, proud, confident, abrasive, frank. Often takes on too much. Honest and efficient.
Year when career is more important than the home. Sacrifices and disappointments in love.
Nationalistic feelings rise and extremism.
DOG PERSONALITY — Gǒu (or Quǎn)
Loyal, honest, steady worker, conservative, defensive, stubborn, excellent friend, sportive
Year for conservatism and defence. Good for property and making adjustments to plans.
Good for health.
PIG PERSONALITY — Zhū
Home loving, natural, generous, over-indulgent, caring, industrious, willing to see
a project through.
Good year for family gatherings and issues. Good year to finish off projects successfully. Not
good for expansion.
The Chinese Month
The Months also have associated animals (the First Month is roughly February):
First Month = Tiger
Second Month = Rabbit
Third Month = Dragon
Fourth Month = Snake
Fifth Month = Horse
Sixth Month = Sheep
Seventh Month = Monkey
Eighth Month = Rooster
Ninth Month = Dog
Tenth Month = Pig
Eleventh Month = Rat
Twelfth Month = Ox
The Chinese Hour
The hour you were born also has animal associations (remember to adjust for daylight savings). The Chinese day begins at
11 pm so if you were born between 11pm and midnight count yourself as having been born the next day:
11pm - 1am = Rat
1am - 3am = Ox
3am - 5am = Tiger
5am - 7am = Rabbit
7am - 9am = Dragon
9am - 11am = Snake
11am - 1pm = Horse
1pm - 3pm = Sheep
3pm - 5pm = Monkey
5pm - 7pm = Rooster
7pm - 9pm = Dog
9pm - 11pm = Pig