Chinese Zodiac Signs and Meanings

Chinese Zodiac Sign Meanings

Chinese Zodiac Signs
and Their Meanings

The Chinese zodiac signs are determined by the lunar year in which you were born. The Chinese believe the animal ruling one's birth year has a profound influence on personality, and destiny. The saying is: "This animal hides in your heart."

Unlike Western astrology, it does not look the heavenly constellations or planets to predict one's destiny. Rather, Chinese astrology deals with divining sciences of wuxing or the five elements (earth, fire, water, metal, wood), Yin and Yang, Chi, and the cycles of time.

Legend has it that inception of the Chinese zodiac signs began when the Buddha beckoned all the animals to bid him farewell before his departure from the Earth. Only twelve arrived at his summoning, and so those were given a place of honor in a year being named after each.

You can determine your animal sign by referring to the year you were born and matching it up with the corresponding animal in the chart below.

Years Corresponding to Chinese Zodiac Signs

Rat 1900 1912 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008 2020
Ox 1901 1913 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009 2021
Tiger 1902 1914 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010 2022
Rabbit 1903 1915 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011 2023
Dragon 1904 1916 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012 2024
Snake 1905 1917 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013 2025
Horse 1906 1918 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014 2026
Sheep 1907 1919 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015 2027
Monkey 1908 1920 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016 2028
Rooster 1909 1921 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017 2029
Dog 1910 1922 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018 2030
Boar 1911 1923 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019 2031

Below are the Chinese Zodiac signs, and the characteristics that correspond to each one.

Chinese Zodiac Sign Meanings

Chinese Zodiac Rat
Element: Water
Partners well with: Dragon and Monkey
Characteristics: Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic, sociable.

Chinese Zodiac Ox
Element: Earth
Partners well with: Snake and Rooster
Characteristics: Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined
Bull Symbolic Meaning here.

Chinese Zodiac Tiger
Element: Wood
Partners well with:
Horse and Dog
Characteristics: Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic
Click here for more Chinese symbolic meanings for Tiger.

Chinese Zodiac Rabbit
Element: Wood
Partners well with: Sheep and Boar
Characteristics: Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers. More on Rabbit meanings here.

Chinese Zodiac Dragon
Element: Earth
Partners well with: Rat and Monkey
Characteristics: Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic
More on Chinese Dragon Symbolism here.

Chinese Zodiac Snake Snake:
Element: Fire
Partners well with: Rooster and Ox
Characteristics: Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive
Symbolism of Snake here.

Chinese Zodiac Symbol Horse
Element: Fire
Partners well with: Dog and Tiger
Characteristics: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong
(see also Horse symbolic meanings.

Chinese Zodiac Symbol Sheep
Element: Earth
Partners well with: Boar and Rabbit
Characteristics: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm

Chinese Zodiac Monkey Symbol
Element: Metal
Partners well with: Dragon and Rat
Characteristics: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart. More on Monkey symbolism here.

Chinese Zodiac Rooster
Element: Metal
Partners well with: Snake and Ox
Characteristics: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident. For more information on Rooster Symbol meanings, click here.

Chinese Zodiac Dog
Element: Earth
Partners well with: Tiger and Horse
Characteristics: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart

Chinese Zodiac Boar
Element: Water
Partners well with: Sheep and Rabbit
Characteristics: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable

Books Avia Recommends: Chinese Zodiac Meanings

I hope you enjoyed this perspective on Chinese zodiac signs. If you liked this article, be sure to check out more pages on Chinese meanings, zodiac meanings and more via the links at the end of this page. Thanks for reading!

An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings

Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.

This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."

Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)

As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!


Animal Symbols
Astrology Signs
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Chinese Symbols
Dream Symbols
Lucky Symbols
Love Signs
Native American Symbols
Nature Symbols
Number Meanings
Tattoo Meanings

click links below for symbolic meanings.