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Chinese Zodiac, A brief history and background.

 
 

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Chinese Zodiac
2005 Year of the Rooster

Chinese Zodiac Background and Concept

The Chinese animal signs (Chinese Zodiac) are a 12-year cycle used for dating the years. They represent a cyclical concept of time, rather than the Western linear concept of time. The Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is constructed in a different fashion than the Western solar calendar. In the Chinese calendar, the beginning of the year falls somewhere between late January and early February. The Chinese have adopted the Western calendar since 1911, but the lunar calendar is still used for festive occasions such as the Chinese New Year. Many Chinese calendars will print both the solar dates and the Chinese lunar dates.

Chinese Zodiac Sign Background

In the United States, the years are dated from the birth of Jesus Christ, for example, 1977 means 1,977 years after the birth of Christ. This represents a linear perception of time, with time proceeding in a straight line from the past to the present and the future. In traditional China, dating methods were cyclical, cyclical meaning something that is repeated time after time according to a pattern. A popular folk method which reflected this cyclical method of recording years are the Twelve Animal Signs. Every year is assigned an animal name or "sign" according to a repeating cycle: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. Therefore, every twelve years the same animal name or "sign" would reappear.

A cultural sidelight of the animal signs in Chinese folklore is that horoscopes have developed around the animal signs, much like monthly horoscopes in the West have been developed for the different moon signs, Pisces, Aries, etc. For example, a Chinese horoscope may predict that a person born in the Year of the Horse would be, "cheerful, popular, and loves to compliment others". These horoscopes are amusing, but not regarded seriously by the Chinese people.

The animal signs also serve a useful social function for finding out peopleís ages. Instead of asking directly how old a person is, people often ask what is his or her animal sign. This would place that personís age within a cycle of 12 years, and with a bit of common sense, we can deduce the exact age. More often, though, people ask for animal signs not to compute a personís exact numerical age, but to simply know who is older among friends and acquaintances.

Legend

According to Chinese legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest: whoever was to reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the rest of the animals would receive their years according to their finish.

All the twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped in. Unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped upon his back. As the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race. The pig, who was very lazy, ended up last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox second, and the pig last.

Chinese Zodiac Chart

The rotating cycle of twelve animal signs was a folk method for naming the
years in traditional China. The animal signs for one another
in an established order, and are repeated every twelve years.
1976 was the year of the Dragon, and 1977 was the year of
the Snake. 2005 is the year of the Rooster.

Rat - Born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Rat was the first animal in the Chinese zodiac cycle. It is usually considered aggressive, ambitious, suspicious, power-hungry, honest, generous, quick to anger and prone to spend freely. Those born under the sign of Rat are imaginative, charming, and truly generous to the one they love. However, they have a tendency to be hot-tempered and overly critical. They are usually suitable for sales work or work as a writer, critic, or publicist. Rats will get well along with Dragons and Monkeys, however should avoid Horses.
 

Ox - Born in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
Ox is a symbol of powerful individuals with unyielding and stubborn personalities. Those born under the sign are natural born leaders who typically succeed when given the chance and will also make outstanding parents. They are upright, inspiring, easy-going and conservative. The Ox would be successful as a skilled surgeon, general, or hairdresser. Ox gets along with Snakes and Roosters but not sheep.
 

Tiger - Born in 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
As the fighting animal, those born under tiger's sign are sensitive, aggressive, unpredictable, charming, emotional, courageous and capable of great love. Often risking themselves, they have a carefree life. Tigers usually will be outstanding as a boss, explorer, racecar driver, or matador. A happy marriage can take place with a Horse or a Dog but never a Monkey.
 

Rabbit - Born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Those born under this sign are affectionate, talented, obliging, always pleasant, valuing security and tranquility. They have a tendency to get too sentimental and superficial and to avoid conflict and emotional involvement. Being cautious and conservative, they usually take no risk and are successful in business. They would also make a good lawyer, diplomat, or actor. Their best life partners are Sheep or Pigs instead of Roosters.
 

Dragon - Born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Those born under the sign are considered intelligent, gifted, bossy, loud, garish, and unfaithful, but also popular and successful, full of vitality and enthusiasm. They usually look stubborn on the outside, but softhearted inside. They are born to be an artist, priest, politician, or leader. A dragon will be compatible with a Snake or Rooster. However, a sheep will not be a good choice.
 

Snake - Born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Those born under this sign are usually considered clever, passionate, determined, romantic, intense, rich in wisdom and charm, but vain. Women born under Snake are often beautiful. Snakes will be strongly guided by their intuition. They certainly will win a lot of money, but have to avoid procrastination and stingy attitude towards money. The Snake would be most content as a teacher, philosopher, writer, psychiatrist, or fortune teller. Marriage with a Rooster or Ox not a Pig will be best.
 

Horse - Born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
They are hardworking, intelligent and friendly, cheerful and popular, but impatient. Usually they consider themselves superior to others. They have a strong streak of selfishness and sharp cunning and should guard against being egotistical. Adventurer, scientist, poet, or politician will be suitable occupations for them. Horses get well along with Tigers and Dogs instead of Rats.

Sheep - Born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
The sign suggests a person who is creative, artistic, passionate, elegant, warmhearted, honest, charming but pessimistic, timid, disorganized and vulnerable. Too dependent on material comforts, they are easy to complain and do not respond well to pressure, but will find their own natural solution to a problem when given space. Best occupation for a Sheep is an actor or a gardener. They are compatible with Rabbits or Pigs in marriage, but not Ox.
 

Monkey - Born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Monkeys are intelligent, inventive, clever, entertaining but also dangerous and easily discouraged. Because of their extraordinary nature and magnetic personality, they are always well liked and make close friends. However, they can't be trusted. They should guard against being an opportunist and distrusting other people. The sign suggests success in any field they try. The best matches are Dragons or Rats while the worst are Tigers.
 

Rooster - Born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Roosters are courageous, hardworking, shrewd, arrogant, reckless, selfish and eccentric. They are thirsty for knowledge, devoted to work and definite involved in decision-making. They are skilled at what they do and attentive to details. However, they tend to seem boastful to others. Roosters will be happy as a restaurant owner, publicist, soldier or world traveler. The sign promises harmony with Snakes and Ox and trouble with Rabbits.

Dog - Born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Those born under this sign are honest, quiet, intelligent, generous, stubborn, loyal and faithful to those they love. They are introverted listeners, dedicated but also cynical and prone to letting their external anxieties get the better of them. Constant worry, a sharp tongue, and a tendency to be a faultfinder will always plague them. However, they are born to be successful. Dogs will be excellent businessmen, activists, teachers, or secret agents. Tigers and Horses are deemed as best matches, and Dragons need to be handled with care.
 

Pig - Born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Pigs are honest, reliable, sincere, tolerant, shy, affectionate, kind, impulsive and short tempered. They are splendid companions, intellectuals with a very strong need to set difficult goals and carry them out. In addition they are extraordinarily naive. Their unquenchable thirst for knowledge will facilitate their success whereas their quest for material comfort will frustrate it. Pigs also will sacrifice their lives for good causes. The Pig will be successful in financial affairs, or as an entertainer, or possibly a lawyer. Pigs should be aware of other Pigs and compatible with Sheep and Rabbits.
 

 

 
   

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