Common Chinese Astrology Characteristics Explored

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Updated October 26, 2021
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The Chinese New Year is almost always celebrated on the second New Moon following the winter solstice. Therefore, it typically falls between late January and mid-February. Each year is assigned one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Each animal has common Chinese astrology characteristics, and all people born in a specific year are believed to share these characteristics.

Common Characteristics of the Chinese Animals

The cycle of 12 animal signs is the Chinese method for naming the years. The animals follow one another in an established order that repeats every 12 years.

Chinese Zodiac years chart

People Born in the Year of the Rat

Rat are ambitious and work hard to achieve their goals. These are commonly charming, talkative individuals who easily make friends and are devoted and faithful to close friends. They tend to be gossipy but also very private about their personal life. Rats are adaptive, flexible, clever, and good at solving problems, and are generally successful at whatever they do. More negatively, Rats can be gullible. When it comes to money, Rat people are considered the nastiest animal in the Chinese zodiac.

People born in the Year of the Ox

An Ox is strong, reliable, fair and conscientious, calm, patient, methodical, and trusted. They say little and have a great deal of common sense but are opinionated. Ox is serious, quiet, and not naturally sociable, which can sometimes make them seem gloomy and dull. These people believe strongly in themselves, are stubborn, and hate to fail or be challenged. While they don't lose their temper easily, their anger can become explosive and impulsive.

People Born in the Year of the Tiger

Tigers are born leaders who hunger for excitement, crave attention, and inspire the respect of others. They are courageous and energetic individuals who walk and talk assertively, love a challenge, and are prepared to take risks. Tigers can also be sensitive, humorous, and capable of great love and generosity. Tigers may appear calm, but they can be rebellious, short-tempered, aggressive, and outspoken.

People Born in the Year of the Rabbit

Rabbits are kind, honorable, and popular. They are artistic, have good taste, and love the finer things in life. Rabbits have impeccable manners, like to make everyone happy, and have very few enemies. Rabbits prefer peace and quiet, are compassionate listeners, exceptional negotiators, and work well with others. They are peaceful but pessimistic individuals who don't like change, avoid stressful situations, and don't like to make hasty decisions or argue.

People Born in the Year of the Dragon

Dragons are healthy and energetic individuals with the gift of good fortune and good luck. Dragons have magnetic personalities and stand out in a crowd. They are perfectionists who set very high standards and usually find success in all endeavors. Though they seldom fail, when they do, they take it gracefully. Dragons can be demanding and arrogant, but usually inspire confidence and trust. More negatively, they can be terrible snobs who are easily impressed by wealth and splendor.

People Born in the Year of the Snake

Snakes are wise, intelligent, charming, and generally passionate, good-looking, and alluring. They are also deep thinkers who plan well and are determined in whatever they do. Snake people are quiet, reserved, and good at giving advice to others. Still, they distrust others and choose their friends carefully. Snakes are financially fortunate and enjoy the good things in life. More negatively, Snakes can be possessive, jealous, and need a lot of security.

People Born in the Year of the Horse

Horse people are energetic, confident, and popular. They are independent, eager to try new things, and are bored by routine. These are individuals who enjoy traveling and are interested in different cultures. Horses enjoy entertainment and parties, always look their best, and have above-average sex appeal. They are very talkative, loveable, and are usually relatively easy to get along with. Still, they hate being controlled, rarely listen to advice, are prone to mood swings, and have a hot temper.

People Born in the Year of the Goat

Goats are creative, artistically talented, and easy-going, with good manners and charm. Sensitive, compassionate, gentle, and caring, they avoid confrontation and try to make everyone happy. Goats are often religious and fascinated by the mysterious. More negatively, Goats can be indecisive, lazy, and lack ambition.

People Born in the Year of the Monkey

Monkeys are intelligent, witty, strong-willed, inventive, creative, and able to solve most problems. They're curious and have a great thirst for knowledge. Monkeys love challenges, and their popularity means they often become leaders. At times, Monkey people are unreasonable, self-centered, cunning, manipulative, and opportunistic.

People Born in the Year of the Rooster

Roosters are deep-thinkers and very observant. They like to be noticed and are often eccentric. Roosters make loyal and devoted friends, who enjoy a lively debate and are happy to share their opinions. Still, they can be arrogant and a bit tactless and hurtful. They're also anxious and aggressive but have the determination and patience to achieve their goals.

People Born in the Year of the Dog

Dogs are responsible, compassionate, reliable, loyal, faithful, and honest, with a deep sense of right and wrong and a desire to support the underdog. They enjoy being physically active and make good leaders who are, at times, overwhelming. Dogs can be very stubborn, unyielding, and nosey. A Dog's natural pessimism makes them anxious individuals who harbor irrational fears.

People Born in the Year of the Pig

Pigs are honest, sincere, and genuine, with a heart of gold. They hunger for knowledge, and while they don't often say much when they decide to speak, nothing can stop them. Pig people can be the best friend anyone can have. Others call on them when they need sincere advice, and they're always ready and willing to lend a helping hand. Pigs are fun-loving and know how to throw a good party, but they can be highly vengeful if rubbed the wrong way. They are also a bit naïve, which allows others to take advantage of them.

The Five Chinese Elements

In Chinese calendar astrology, each animal is assigned an element and a Yin or Yang modality. Plus, in addition to the well-known 12-year cycle of the Chinese animals, there's a 10-year cycle associated with the five elements of Chinese astrology. The five elements rotate every two years. The combination of these cycles resets every 60 years. For example, 2020 wasn't simply the Year of the Rat. It was the year of the Metal Rat. There won't be another Metal Rat year until 2080.

The five elements written in Chinese

Your Birth Year Element

A year's element is determined by the last digit of the year. The birth year element combines with the animal to make the common characteristics of each more complex. Some animals are better suited or more comfortable with a particular element. Some examples would be - Rat with Water, Ox with Earth, Rabbit with Wood, and Rooster with Metal.

  • The last digit of a Metal year is either zero or one. Those born during Metal years are unyielding, disciplined, and have high moral standards.
  • The last number of a Water year is either two or three. People born during Water years are sensitive, empathetic, introverted, and fearless with strong wills.
  • The last digit of a Wood year is either four or five. Individuals born during Wood years are understanding, patient, and compassionate.
  • The last number of a Fire year is either six or seven. Those born during Fire years are passionate and adventurous thrill-seekers.
  • The last digit of an Earth year is either eight or nine. People born during Earth years are responsible, justice-oriented, and natural peacekeepers.

Digging Deeper and More Personally

One of the 12 Chinese animals is also connected to a person's birth month, day, and hour. Together, these create what's called the "Four Pillars" system of Chinese astrology. By calculating your "Four Pillars," you can learn what makes you different from others born in the same Chinese animal year.

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Common Chinese Astrology Characteristics Explored