What Your (Chinese) Zodiac Sign Says About You

Astrology is mega-popular now. Buzzfeed and Tumblr are festering with content explaining what your zodiac sign says about you, whether it’s your dream man or your Beyonce song. The majority of horoscopes are based on the Western zodiac, but what about your Chinese zodiac sign? You probably know that we’re in the Year of the Monkey, but what does that mean?

Like the Western zodiac, the Chinese zodiac has 12 signs, which are believed to foretell your personality, romantic compatibility, ideal careers, and more. However, the Chinese zodiac is based on years, not dates. If you’re born in January or February, it gets a little complicated because the Chinese calendar year is based on the lunar calendar and doesn’t start the same time as in the U.S. To make sure you’re in the right sign, check what day the Chinese New Year fell on your calendar birth “year”—if it’s before your birthday, then subtract one from your year. For example, if you were born before February 8, 2016—the date the Year of the Monkey began—you’re not a Monkey, but a Goat/Sheep.

In honor of the Chinese New Year, here’s a (Chinese) horoscope. Enjoy! 

Rat - 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Rats are highly adaptable, intelligent, social, and shrewd. However, they also tend to be narrow-minded, fearful, or prone to complaining.

Rats are famed for their cunning. According to legend, the reason the humble rodent is first in the zodiac is because when all the other animals were racing to determine their sign order, the clever rat simply snuck onto the back of the powerful ox, and when it approached the finish line, jumped off first.

Ox – 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Oxen are honest, hardworking, reliable, and down-to-earth. They are often conservative, and prefer steadfast devotion to work over change. Weaknesses associated with the Ox include stubbornness and poor communication skills.

Tiger – 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Tiger is a Gryffindor sign—very confident, brave, and highly independent. They are often highly charismatic and powerful leaders. On the downside, tigers can be domineering, overconfident, short-tempered, or cruel. 

Rabbit – 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Rabbits are gentle, sensitive, tenderhearted, hospitable, and very romantic. However, they can be timid or overly hesitant.

The rabbit is considered a very lucky sign. The Chinese Zodiac is based on the lunar calendar—Chinese New Year is more accurately called the Lunar New Year. The Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e, is associated with a jade rabbit. 

Dragon – 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

The dragon is the only mythological animal in the Chinese Zodiac. Unlike European dragons, Chinese dragons are highly revered. Chinese couples often try to conceive children during dragon years because the sign is associated with greatness. Bruce Lee was famous for being born in both the year and hour of the Dragon.

Dragons, unsurprisingly, are ambitious, decisive, and risk-takers. However, they can also be overly aggressive and hot-headed.

Snake – 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Snakes are mysterious individuals, intuitive and reserved. They tend to be jealous, suspicious, fickle, and sly, but also very wise.

Horse – 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Horses tend to be independent, easygoing, and full of energy. They are often socially outgoing, popular, and like to be the center of attention. On the downside, they can be big spenders and big gossips.

Goat/Sheep – 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

There is some confusion over whether the 8th sign in the Zodiac is a goat or a sheep, but both are acceptable—the Chinese word for the two animals, yang in Mandarin and jeong in Cantonese, is interchangeable.

Goats/Sheep are mild-mannered and calm with a love of the arts, but also inwardly resilient. However, they can be vain, moody, indecisive, and pessimistic.

Monkey – 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Monkeys are crafty, quick learners, mischievous, and highly curious. On the downside, they are often restless and can be selfish, untrustworthy, or arrogant.

If you are a monkey, 2016 is your year! One of the most popular characters in Chinese folklore is Sun Wukong, also known as Monkey King. This beloved trickster from the classic novel Journey to the West has appeared in countless TV and movie adaptations. He has been played by mega-stars like Jet Li, Stephen Chow, and Ip Man’s Donnie Yen.  

Rooster – 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

Roosters tend to be physically attractive, talented, and outspoken. However, they can also be impatient, boastful, and attention-seeking.

Dog – 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

Dogs are good-natured, honest, helpful, and very loyal. They can also be overly emotional, sensitive, and stubborn, but you can’t find a better friend than a dog.

Pig – 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

Pigs are optimistic, considerate, and generous. However, they can be naïve, gullible, and short-tempered, as well as prone to excessive eating, drinking, sleep, and sex. Pigs are often associated with wealth and abundance.

*Bonus – Cat

Why is there no Year of the Cat? According to legend, when the Jade Emperor (the ruler of Heaven) organized the race among the animals for the order of the Zodiac signs, the tricky rat assured the sleep-loving cat it would wake him up in time for the competition. The rat broke his promise, so the cat overslept and by the time it woke up, the race was already over. And so, cats and rats have been bitter enemies ever since.