What Chinese Element Am I?

Top left to right: metal, wood, earth, water, fire

Anyone with an interest in Chinese astrology has surely asked themselves "What Chinese element am I?" at some point in their life. Chinese astrology differs from Western astrology in the fact that there are five elements in the Chinese system, and they emphasize different positions in life rather than a specific set of characteristics. However, these elements can still indicate the characteristics a person bears and which traits someone from one element shares with others from the same element.

What Are the Five Chinese Elements?

There are five Chinese elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each element is strongly related to one another. and there are many mnemonic devices to help remember them, such as:

  1. Wood feeds a fire
  2. Fire makes ash (earth)
  3. Earth contains metal
  4. Metal holds water (as in a pail or bucket)
  5. Water breeds wood

Much like the well-known Ying-Yang symbol of Chinese astrology uses opposing force to promote the flow of energy, the five Chinese elements act in tandem and relate to one another. Each Chinese element has specific attributes and elements that separate it from the others.

So, What Chinese Element Am I?

Much like the Chinese star signs are assigned according to the year you were born, your personal element is dictated by the year of your birth. The question of "What Chinese element am I?", as well as what your sign is, can be determined by the information offered below.

Your Animal Sign

  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942
  • Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931
  • Monkey: 2015, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935

Your Element

Once you have figured out your sign, finding your element is easy. Look at the last number in your birth year, and match it to the element listed for that number.

  • If the last number in your birth year is a 0 or 1, you are a metal element.
  • If the last number in your birth year is a 2 or 3, you are a water element.
  • If the last number in your birth year is a 4 or 5, you are a wood element.
  • If the last number in your birth year is a 6 or 7, you are a fire element.
  • If the last number in your birth year is a 8 or 9, you are an earth element.

As an example, if you were born in 1963, you would be a water rabbit. Finding your sign and element is just that easy.

Exploring Each Element


Elements of Wood include:

  • Color: Blue
  • Symbol: Dragon
  • Season: Spring
  • Day: Thursday
  • Planet: Jupiter

Wood cares about others. In fact, those who identify with wood not only care about those around them, but the world at large. Some may call wood people nature lovers, but to them, love is nature. They are patient and easy going, but easily frustrated with others. After all, it is difficult for those with this element to see how another may not want to help out those around them. The element of wood can be competitive and sets these people set their sights on the sky; there are no limits.


Elements of Fire include:

  • Color: Red
  • Symbol: Phoenix
  • Season: Summer
  • Day: Tuesday
  • Planet: Mars

Fire is passionate about life. Fire people are often thrill seekers, party people who look for a good time. Bored easily, fire people cannot sit still for long. They are temperamental and look for the joy in every situation. They also can be short-term passionate; in other words, don't look for fire people to have a lifelong passion. They will quickly switch from one interest to the next. They are charmers and spirited.


Elements of Earth include:

  • Color: Yellow
  • Symbol: Cauldron
  • Season: Between Summer and Autumn
  • Day: Saturday
  • Planet: Saturn

The element of earth is passionate about friends and family. These people are helpful to a fault. They are more likely to enjoy relaxation over thrill seeking. Responsible and fair-minded, people of this element are natural problem solvers. People of this element are also not likely to become bored. Earth element-minded people generally do not like large bouts of change and would rather be comfortable than curious.


Elements of Metal include:

  • Color: White
  • Symbol: Tiger
  • Season: Autumn
  • Day: Friday
  • Planet: Venus

The metal element is focused. Metal people are likely to be clean, neat and regimented. They take good care of their bodies since they see them as a source of power. Prone to thought and contemplation, people of this element find solace in individuality. While they will consider friends and family in their lives, this is not an essential component to the metal personality. Metal is minimalistic and rather matter-of-fact. Metal people are courageous and restrained. Their primary passion is personal enlightenment through whatever means fits them best.


Elements of Water include:

  • Color: Black
  • Symbol: Turtle
  • Season: Winter
  • Day: Wednesday
  • Planet: Mercury

Water people do not mind spending much time to themselves. They are, in fact, often lost in a world inside their own brain. They are not reclusive; rather, they enjoy their own company foremost. They are imaginative and calm. It would take a lot to irritate Water element people. They go with the flow. They are often quiet and peaceful. Serenity comes easily to them. Water helps people of this element obtain knowledge, and they are more likely to listen than to vocalize.

Final Thoughts

While you might not feel much of a kinship to your astrological sign, you might find that your Chinese element explains you a bit better.

What Chinese Element Am I?