Zodiac Signs and the Chinese Horoscope: Our Guide

Chinese zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac, or shengxiao (生肖), has twelve symbols, just like the western one (given to us by the ancient Greeks). And, even in this case, each sign is associated with particular character traits. The difference is that while in our Zodiac each symbol corresponds with a certain month, the Chinese Zodiac corresponds with a particular year, For example, 2015 is the year of the Goat!

Why does each sign correspond with an animal?

It is said that Buddha, when he was near to dying, gathered all animals of the earth. However, only twelve bothered to come say goodbye. So he – being magnanimous as few others could – decided to reward them by baptizing each lunar phase with the name of one of the animals that came. The first to show up was the mouse (never trust the rats). After that, arriving in order were the buffalo, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog and the pig (the usual latecomer).

Another version of the story says that one says the gods decided that each animal should correspond to a symbol on a first-come, first-serve basis. And so the first twelve to show up took all the available symbols.

Personally, being a notoriously practical person, tend to believe the following explanation: six of the symbols correspond to the most common domestic animals in China (buffalo, horse, goat, rooster, pig, and dog) while the other six are, historically, beloved animals by the Chinese (mouse, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, and monkey).

Personality and (romantic) compatibility between Chinese Zodiac signs

  • The Mouse (鼠) is compatible with the Dragon, the Monkey and the Buffalo; it is incompatible with the Goat, the Horse and the Rabbit. The Mouse is wise, ambitious and persuasive.
  • The Buffalo (牛) is compatible with the Mouse, the Snake and the Rooster; it is incompatible with the Horse, the Dog and the Goat. The Buffalo is loyal, trustworthy and determined.
  • The Tiger (虎) is compatible with the Horse and the Dog; it is incompatible with the Snake and the Monkey. The tiger is courageous and charismatic. In other words, a leader.
  • The Rabbit (兔) is compatible with the Goat, the Pig and the Dog; it is destined to divorce with the Mouse and the Dragon. The Rabbit is modest, sincere and sociable.
  • The Dragon (龍) is compatible with the Mouse, the Monkey and the Rooster; it is incompatible with the Buffalo, the Rabbit and the Dog. The Dragon is eccentric and spiritual. An artist.
  • The Snake (蛇) is compatible with the Buffalo and the Rooster; it is destined to divorce with the Tiger and the Pig. The Snake is intelligent, intuitive and elegant.
  • The Horse (马) is compatible with the Tiger, the Goat and the Dog; it is incompatible with the Mouse, the Buffalo and the Rabbit. The Horse is loyal, ambitious and strong.
  • The Goat (羊) is compatible with the Rabbit, Horse and Pig; it is incompatible with the Buffalo and the Dog. The Goat is sensible, calm and given to certain tastes.
  • The Monkey (猴) is compatible with the Mouse, the Dragon and the Snake; it is incompatible with the Tiger and the Pig. The Monkey is lucky, versatile and clever.
  • The Rooster (鸡) is compatible with the Buffalo, the Dragon and the Snake; it is incompatible with the Mouse, the Rabbit and the Horse. The Rooster is energetic, honest and flexible.
  • The Dog (狗) is compatible with the Tiger, Rabbit and Horse; it is incompatible with the Buffalo, Dragon, Goat and Rooster. The dog is loyal. courageous and adaptable.
  • The Pig (豬) is compatible with the Goat and the Rooster; it is incompatible with the Snake, the Monkey and… the Pig. The Pig is determined, optimistic and sincere.

Find out your Chinese Zodiac sign

Click here to find out your Chinese Zodiac sign. Just insert your date of birth!

The four pillars of destiny!

Actually, I lied to you before. But I did it because I didn’t want to frighten you. To say that each sigh corresponds only to a year is not exactly true (did you think the Chinese would make it that easy?).

Your “annual” sign – or the animal that corresponds with the year of your birth – represents only the way in which others see you or that you come across to others. There is also a sign corresponding to the month of your birth (called your “internal animal”), the day of your birth (called your “true animal”) and the hour of your birth (called your “secret animal”).

Find out your “internal animal”

It is said that the internal animal will determine your last years of life and offer information about your parents. It is easy to calculate because it corresponds with the month of your birth:

7 December – 5 January: Mouse;
6 January – 3 February: Buffalo;
4 February – 5 March: Tiger;
6 March – 4 April: Rabbit;
5 April – 4 May: Dragon;
5 May – 5 June: Snake;
6 June – 6 July: Horse:
7 July – 6 August: Goat;
7 August – 7 September: Monkey;
8 September – 7 October: Rooster;
8 October – 6 November: Dog;
7 November – 6 December: Pig.

Find out your “true animal”

Calculating your true animal – which offers information about your adult life – is extremely complicated.

Find out your “secret animal”

Your secret animal will reveal your true character and to calculate it all you need to do is know the hour of your birth:

23:00 – 01:00: Mouse – The hour in which a mouse obtains its food.
01:00 – 03:00: Buffalo – The hour in which the buffalo ruminates.
03:00 – 5:00: Tiger – The hour in which the tiger hunts.
05:00 – 7:00: Rabbit – The hour in which the rabbit is busy stomping on medicinal herbs (OK, that’s the coolest one).
07:00 – 9:00: Dragon – The hour in which the dragon takes to the skies to give rain to the people.
09:00 – 11:00: Snake – The hour in which the snake comes out of its den.
11:00 – 13:00: Horse – While the sun is high and the other animals rest, the eastern horse is still active.
13:00 – 15:00: Goat – It is said that if the goat eats at this hour, it will be more vigorous. At what hour they actually eat the horoscope doesn’t say.
15:00 – 17:00: Monkey – The hour in which monkeys are most lively.
17:00 – 19:00: Rooster – The hour in which the rooster returns to its nest.
19:00 – 21:00: Dog – The hour in which the dog starts its shift as a guard.
21:00 – 23:00: Pig- The farm is quiet and the pig snores deeply.

So myself, having been born March 10, 1983, at 2 in the afternoon (greatly falsified data), am externally a Pig, internally a Rabbit, truly a Dog and secretly a Goat.

But it’s not over. There are actually another two factors that influence your character and destiny.

Yin and Yang

These are the characteristics of your personality that tend to prevail: the Yin is associated with femininity and submission while the Yang is associated with masculinity and aggression. Each of us possesses both Yin and Yang.

How do you find if your sign is Yin or Yang? It’s easy:

Yin: Buffalo, Rabbit, Snake, Goat, Rooster and Pig.

Yang: Mouse, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Monkey, and Dog.

The five elements

To find out your element just know the last digit of the year of your birth:

0 or 1: Metal;
2 or 3: Water;
4 or 5: Wood;
6 or 7: Fire;
8 or 9: Earth.

What does it mean? I ignore this. No, just kidding.

each element dominates two following years so that the cycle repeats every ten years. Each year the dominant element will interact with your element (determined, exactly, by the last digit of your year of birth) in a positive or negative way. If, for example, we are in the year dominated by water and your element is fire, I’m sorry but you’re in a load of crap. If however your element is wood, for you it will be a lucky year.

For those fixated on the math

If you combine the 12 corresponding signs of the year, month, day and hour of birth, the Yin and the Yang and the five elements, you get 12^4*2*5 = 207.360 possible personality combinations. Tell me the truth, you never thought of this did you?

A calendar of the next twelve years

25 January 2020 – 11 February 2021: Year of the Mouse
12 February 2021 – 31 January 2022: Year of the Buffalo
1 February 2022 – 21 January 2023: Year of the Tiger
22 January 2023 – 9 February 2024: Year of the Rabbit
10 February 2024 – 28 January 2025: Year of the Dragon
29 January 2025 – 16 February 2026: Year of the Snake
17 February 2026 – 5 February 2027: Year of the Horse
6 February 2027 – 25 January 2028: Year of the Goat
26 January  2028 – 12 February 2029: Year of the Monkey
13 February 2029 – 2 February 2030: Year of the Rooster
3 February 2030 – 22 January 2031: Year of the Dog
23 January 2031 – 10 February 2032: Year of the Pig

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Chinese zodiac and Western Zodiac?
A clear difference between the Chinese zodiac and the Western ditto is that the Chinese are determined based on in which year you were born. The Western, on the other hand, is determined depending on in which month you were born.
How did the Chinese zodiac start?
The sequence of the Chinese zodiac animals derives from the lunar calendar, having a 12-year cycle. It’s an approximation of the 11.85-year orbital period of Jupiter. It’s said that the zodiac calendar was created as early as the 14th century BC.
What are the lucky signs for people born in the year of the rat?
  • Flowers: African violet, lily, lily of the valley
  • Numbers: 2 and 3
  • Colors: Blue, green, gold
  • Directions: southeast, northeast


What are the lucky signs for people born in the year of the ox?
  • Flowers: Evergreen, tulip, peach blossom
  • Numbers: 1 and 9
  • Colors: Blue, red, purple
  • Directions: South, southeast, north


In which other Asian countries to they have zodiac?

You can find zodiacs in various Asian countries, including:

  • Korea
  • Japan
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
  • Nepal

There are some minor differences. For example, the Korean zodiac is practically identical to the Chinese zodiac, but the sheep is replaced with the Korean word for goat, yeomso. In Japan, the zodiacs are almost the same, but the pig is replaced by the wild boar and the sheep with the goat.

In the Vietnamese zodiac, they use the water buffalo instead of the ox and the cat instead of the rabbit. Cambodians, on the other hand, have the dragon as interchangeable with the sea snake. The sheep and the goat are interchangeable as well.

What are the 12 Chinese zodiac animals in order?
The 12 Chinese zodiacs signs in order are:

  • 1. Rat
  • 2. Ox
  • 3. Tiger
  • 4. Rabbit
  • 5. Dragon
  • 6. Snake
  • 7. Horse
  • 8. Goat
  • 9. Monkey
  • 10. Rooster
  • 11. Dog
  • 12. Pig
Why is not the cat in the Chinese zodiac?
In a contest, all the animals had to cross a river to reach the Jade Emperor. It’s said that the cat and the rat were sitting on the back of the ox when crossing the river. But, the rat pushed the cat into the water and was left to drown. This is also the reason why cats hunt rats and are seen as enemies nowadays.

Photo Credits: Creative Commons License SF Zodiacs by MÜSE (Misaki Kido) by David Goehring

1 thought on “Zodiac Signs and the Chinese Horoscope: Our Guide”

  1. Nice to know my chines zodiac is metal snake my internal animal is water ox, and my secret animal is water ox. What does that make me ?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get 3 Months FREE with EXPRESS VPN

+ Best VPN For China
+ 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
+ 24/7 Live China Customer Support
+ 3 Months Free on 12 Months Package

Scroll to Top