17 Interesting Facts to Learn Chinese Zodiac

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Oct. 25, 2021

The Chinese zodiac is the traditional way to name the years (2024 is the year of the dragon, etc.). There are 12 zodiac signs with each year being associated with one animal. Find more interesting facts about the Chinese zodiac below:

1. Chinese Zodiac Signs Have 12 Animals

As a whole lunar circle takes 12 years, there are 12 animal signs, each for one year. In order, they are Rat, Ox, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

2.  The 12 Animals Came from Ancient Totems

Why were they chosen? You may wonder why the cat is not among them. According to ancient records, the origins of the zodiac came from the “totems” of ancient tribes. Each tribe had its unique animal symbol as its protecting deity.

3. Chinese Zodiac 2024: the Year of the Dragon

2024 will be the year of the dragon. If you were born in the rabbit years such as 2012, 2000, 1988, etc.). 2024 will be your zodiac year.

The most relevant years of the rabbit include 2024, 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, and 1952.

4. The Chinese Zodiac Is a Repeating Cycle of 12 Years

The Chinese zodiac is a recurring cycle of 12 years. Each year is associated with one of the 12 animals. The same zodiac sign appears every 12 years.

For example, 2024 is the year of the dragon, and then 2012 was the year of the dragon too.

Chinese Zodiac Years

5. Chinese Zodiac Years Don’t Start on January 1st

Chinese zodiac year is based on the Chinese lunar calendar which is around one/two months behind the Gregorian calendar.

Chinese zodiac years begin on Chinese New Year.

6. Your Chinese Zodiac Sign Is Decided by Your Birth Year

The year you are born decides what your zodiac sign is. If you were born in the rabbit year, then your Chinese zodiac is Rabbit.

Zodiac Animal Recent Years
Rat 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032
Ox 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033
Tiger 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034
Rabbit 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035
Dragon 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036
Snake 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037
Horse 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038
Goat 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039
Monkey 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040
Rooster 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041
Dog 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042
Pig 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043

7. Each Zodiac Sign Has a Personal Trait

The year you were born is believed to decide your personality and your horoscope for your whole life. Since ancient times, Chinese people have developed a method to predict a person’s destiny based on his/her zodiac sign.

8. Each Zodiac Sign Has Its Lucky Things

Each zodiac sign has its own lucky and unlucky things: lucky colors, lucky numbers, lucky days, lucky flowers, and lucky directions. Follow your lucky things and avoid these unlucky for your zodiac signs. There is no harm in trying right?

Find Chinese Zodiac Lucky Colors to find your lucky color for 2024.

9. Chinese Zodiac Match Is Used to Find a Suitable Spouse

People born on certain years are believed to have the best match with persons who were born on other certain zodiac years. Chinese people believe Chinese zodiac matches can help them find their best spouse.

In ancient times, parents would find fortune tellers to match their children’s zodiacs before they got married. Engagement would be canceled if a bad match was predicted.

Read more on Chinese Zodiac Compatibility to find out who is the most compatible with you. 

10. Each Zodiac Year Is Associated with an Element

Five Elements

There are five elements: gold, wood, water, fire, and earth. Each zodiac year is associated with an element. Take the rabbit, for example, there are gold rabbits, wood rabbits, water rabbits, fire rabbits, and earth rabbits.

Each type of animal associated with an element will recur every 60 years. People born in the same zodiac year with different elements may slightly be different in characteristics attributed to it.

Read the Chinese Five Elements philosophy for more detail.

11. Mouse and Rabbit Are the Luckiest Zodiac Signs for Girls

Mouse and rabbit are believed to be the two luckiest zodiac signs for girls. Chinese parents hope their children to be born in their luckiest zodiac year so more babies will be born in these two zodiac years.

Parents will be very glad if their daughters are born in these two zodiac years, as it always means they will have a happy and rich life in the future.

12. Tiger, Monkey, and Dragon Are the Luckiest Zodiac Signs for Boys

Children born in the year of the tiger and dragon are believed to be strong. Monkey is thought to be the most clever zodiac sign. These are the three best zodiac signs for boys.

13. Tiger and Dragon Are the Two Most Powerful Zodiac Signs

Since ancient times, the dragon has been considered a symbol of power by Chinese people. Tiger, the king of all the beasts, represented powerful officials in ancient China. People born in these two zodiac years are believed to be the most powerful.

14. Monkey Is the Most Clever Zodiac Sign

People born in the year of the monkey are thought to be very clever just like the animal monkey is the most clever one in nature.

15. Birth Year of the Zodiac Is Unlucky

It is believed that it will be unlucky for people when the year is the same as their zodiac sign. People in their zodiac year will offend the age of god which will bring them a bad year for the year. To avoid bad luck, Chinese people go to the temple to give offerings to the God of Age. When the year is over, they will also go back to give thanks.

Most people believe wearing red underwear on Chinese New Year’s Eve can ward bad luck away. So, dragons, 2024 is your zodiac year. why not try? Read more on Rabbit's Fortune Predictions in 2024

16. Each Zodiac Sign Has Its Best Birth Month

People of the same zodiac sign born in different months will have different fortunes and life. For example, the dragon people born in July will have better fortune in wealth, health, love relationships, a careers than those born in October.

See below the best birth months for each zodiac sign

Zodiac sign Best Birth Month
Rat January, May, July, August, and September
Ox March, July, August, and September
Tiger January, February, March, and April
Rabbit February, March, April, May, and August
Dragon July, August
Snake June
Horse March
Goat May
Monkey August
Rooster September
Dog January, February
Pig September

17. The Chinese Zodiac Sign Was a Method to Tell the Time

In ancient times, to tell the time, people divided the day into 12 periods, with each period 2 hours. Every 2 hours has a zodiac sign, according to the animal’s nature. For example, the period from 23:00 - 01:00 is represented by a rat as rats are believed to be most active during this time.

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