Introduction to the Zodiac

It is that time of year, the time to refresh on the Chinese Zodiac. The past year was the Year of the Goat, with this year being the Year of the Monkey! Do you know which animal is your zodiac sign, or how the zodiac came about? If not, read on!

All the animal images were from Hallmark, whose web page is also a great source of information about the Chinese zodiac! Please note that the order of the zodiac depicted in the above image is counter clockwise.
The Chinese zodiac is a repeating twelve-year lunar-based cycle, with each year represented by a certain animal. Each zodiac sign has its own particular attributes, which are believed to influence the personality and life events of the people born under each zodiac sign. The most famous aspect of the zodiac cycle is the assignment of animal signs by the year of birth, but people can also be assigned additional zodiac signs by the month, day, and hour of their birth. On each Lunar New Year, a new animal comes in with the new lunar-based year. The origin of the zodiac signs would be retold through a famous folktale about the Zodiac Race, which you can read below!
The Story of the Zodiac Race
Below are the animals with their attributes, some of the years they fall under, and famous people born during those years.

Find your zodiac sign and see what your sign says about you! Do you think your sign’s description is accurate?

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chinese-new-year-rat-616Rat (鼠)

Quick-witted, resourceful, and versatile, Rats quickly respond and adapt to their environments, so they can easily take advantage of various opportunities. They possess a strong sense of curiosity and an active nature, and they are meticulous about their work. Rats are outgoing and enjoy making new friends, but they seldom further their relationships with others. Additionally, they can be picky, stubborn, and narrow-minded, and their lack of courage and command skills hinder their leadership capabilities.
Years: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Famous Rats: Al Gore, Ben Affleck, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Katy Perry, Prince Harry, Scarlett Johansson, Shaquille O’Neil, Truman Capote, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Zhuangzi

chinese-new-year-cow-616Ox (牛)

The most dependable of the zodiac signs, the Ox is known for its honesty, diligence, patience, and determination. Oxen possess strong ideals and ambition, and they always prepare a definite, detailed plan before taking action. They have a keen eye for detail and a strong devotion to their work, but their stubbornness in doing things in accordance with their own ideas and capabilities makes them inflexible and spending too much time in their work. Oxen are also poor at communicating with others, which may make them seem distant and antisocial, but they cherish their friends and family.
Years: 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Famous Oxen: Napoleon Bonaparte, Barack Obama, Charlie Chaplin, Vincent van Gogh, Walt Disney, Heinz Christian Anderson, Kiera Knightley, Rosa Parks, George Clooney, Jack Nicholson, Li Bai

chinese-new-year-tiger-616Tiger (虎)

Independent and self-confident, Tigers are powerful leaders who boldly express themselves and have the fortitude to handle any challenges that may arise. Their leadership skills are enhanced by their courage and love for challenges. However, due to their authoritative and dominant nature, they dislike obeying others and tend to use commanding means when dealing with interpersonal relationships. Additionally, their stubborn personalities and tough judgment can backfire by making them seem arrogant and short-tempered.
Years: 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Famous Tigers: Ludwig von Beethoven, Marco Polo, Karl Marx, Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Penelope Cruz, Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Sun Yat-sen, Zhang Yimou

chinese-new-year-rabbit-616Rabbit (兔)

Rabbits impress others with their grace and gentleness, and they are easily likable because of their considerate, sensitive natures. They avoid confrontation; instead, they seek solutions through compromise and negotiation, which makes them capable of converting enemies into friends. Rabbits are alert and work skillfully and efficiently, but they tend to be overly cautious and hesitant, which may cause them to miss good opportunities. Additionally, Rabbits can be superficial, melancholy, and overly discreet.
Years: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Famous Rabbits: Queen Victoria, Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Whitney Houston, Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Lisa Kudrow, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jet Li

chinese-new-year-dragon-616Dragon (龍)

The Dragon is the most powerful creature in the zodiac, possessing great confidence, tenacity, and ambition. People born under this sign enthusiastically embrace challenges and are not afraid to take risks, which leads them to be very enterprising. However, their dominant natures are often perceived to be aggressive, and they are infamous for their hot tempers and sharp tongues. They can be over-confident and conceited, which makes them unreceptive to criticism, and their frank, forthright style of communication can come off as tactless.
Years: 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Famous Dragons: Joan of Arc, Sigmund Freud, Louisa May Alcott, Florence Nightingale, Robin Williams, John Lennon, Salvador Dali, Rihanna, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Lee, Deng Xiaoping

chinese-new-year-snake-616Snake (蛇)

Regarded as intelligent, albeit enigmatic, creatures in Chinese mythology, the Snake is a symbol of wisdom and wit. Snakes are the most intuitive of all the creatures in the Zodiac, and their calm, extremely analytical natures allow them easily to solve complex problems and thrive under tight deadlines. They are humorous, creative, and diligent; however, they easily become bored and can come off as overly laid-back. Snakes easily become jealous and suspicious, and they tend to be materialistic and need to feel a strong sense of security.
Years: 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Famous Snakes: Abraham Lincoln, Audrey Hepburn, Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Darwin, Picasso, Martha Stewart, Shakira, Daniel Radcliffe, Liu Bang, Mao Zedong

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