What is the Chinese zodiac?


The Chinese zodiac, also known as the shengxiao or "born resembling", is a system that dates back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). It is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year being represented by an animal sign. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

Each animal sign is believed to have certain characteristics and personality traits associated with it. For example, those born in the year of the rat are said to be intelligent, adaptable, and resourceful. Those born in the year of the ox are believed to be hardworking, reliable, and strong-willed.

The origins of the Chinese zodiac

There are many myths and stories about these animal signs and their arrangement and creation. According to one legend, in ancient time, people needed to have a way to tell years so they asked the Jade Emperor for help. He decided that using animals to name years would be easy for people to relate. So he held a race. Each of the first twelve animals that arrived first thus became the name of a year in the order they arrived. It is said that the rat arrived first not because he ran the fastest but he caught a ride on the ox and jumped off and reached the finish line before the ox.

What are the elements of the Chinese zodiac system

In addition to the twelve animal signs, the Chinese zodiac also includes five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These elements are thought to interact with the animal signs, with each element having a particular relationship with the animals. For example, those born in the year of the wood rat are believed to be more flexible and open-minded than those born in the year of the metal rat.

The traditional Chinese calendar

The traditional Chinese calendar consists of a 60-year cycle determined by a combination of the 12 signs and the five elements. In Chinese culture the characteristics of each year are determined by a combination of the heavenly stems and earthly branches of the traditional Chinese calendar, and the animal sign, the element, and the Yin or Yang influence.

Chinese culture, customs and traditions

The Chinese zodiac is an important part of Chinese culture and is widely used for divination and prediction. It is also used to determine a person's fortune and compatibility with others. Many people in China and around the world pay close attention to their zodiac sign and what it says about their personality and future.

In conclusion, the Chinese zodiac is a fascinating and important part of Chinese culture, with a rich history and tradition dating back thousands of years. It is a system that is still widely used today and is an integral part of many people's lives.

Chinese Year 4721 - the Year of the Water Rabbit

The year of the water rabbit is believed to be a year of good fortune and prosperity, with the water element bringing a sense of calm and balance to the energetic and sociable rabbit.

Overall, the year of the water rabbit is believed to be a time of good fortune and prosperity, with those born under this sign being well-respected and well-liked by those around them. If you were born in the year of the water rabbit, it is likely that you are a kind, compassionate, and diplomatic individual, with a strong desire to help others and make a positive impact on the world.

Which Chinese zodiac sign are you?

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About The Author


Alexander Emmerich

I am a marketer, REN XUE teacher and researcher. My research interest is a combination of transatlantic studies, storytelling and movie history with a focus on Western movies and early Hollywood; especially on Universal Pictures.

I deeply believe that we all have more in common than what separates us. And researching stories is a great way to figure that out.

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