What is the Chinese Zodiac?
Known as Sheng Xiao, the Chinese zodiac is an ancient categorization system that delineates specific themes and characteristics through a complex, 60-year cycle based on the Chinese lunar calendar.
Although no one knows exactly when the Chinese zodiac was created, its beginnings can be traced back to the Han Dynasty – over 2,000 years ago.
If you are familiar with western astrology, Chinese astrology also has 12 signs that are represented by animals. The Chinese zodiac has Rising signs, love compatibility, and elements, but they are completely different than that of western astrology. The animal and element that rule the year you were born to reveal specific information about your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, and the themes expected to appear during the year ahead.
What is my Chinese Zodiac Sign?
Your Chinese zodiac sign is determined by your birth year.
Use this free Chinese zodiac sign calculator to find your sign. Enter your birthday below!
Free Daily Chinese Horoscope
Click on Your Chinese Zodiac Animal to Read Your Daily Chinese Horoscope
What is the Chinese Zodiac Sign for 2023?
The Chinese zodiac animal in 2023 is the Rabbit.
They are ruled by the Wood element, which brings them a motivated and confident nature. You can expect this year to be filled with prosperity and an array of surprises.
Rabbits are perhaps the most refined of all the animals in the Chinese zodiac. They have a special air of grace around them that goes unrivaled by their contemporaries. They are represented by Yin, which highlights their inward focus and the sign’s femininity.
As the fourth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Rabbit is known for its elegance, graciousness, and laid-back attitude.
The Story of the Chinese Zodiac
There are many different stories explaining how the Chinese zodiac came to be. Since no one knows for sure exactly when the Chinese zodiac was created, many legends were created and passed down over centuries.
Perhaps the most well-known legend posits that Buddha asked the animals to participate in a race wherein the first 12 animals to finish the race would receive a position in the Chinese zodiac. The animal who finished first would be awarded the first position in the Chinese zodiac, and the rest would appear in the zodiac in the order they completed the race.
Year of the Rat
Rat: The Cunning Strategist
The Rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the First Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Sagittarius.
They are ambitious, clever, and resourceful but can also be ruthless, stubborn, and picky.
Year of the Ox
Ox: The Persistent Plodder
The Ox is the second sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Second Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Capricorn.
They are persistent, determined, and generous but can also be self-opinionated, inflexible, and stubborn.
Year of the Tiger
Tiger: The Brave Crusader
The Tiger is the third sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Third Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Aquarius.
They are courageous, daring, and big-hearted, but they can also be reckless, over-sensitive, and argumentative.
Year of the Rabbit
Rabbit: The Gentle Homebody
The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Fourth Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Pisces.
They are refined, selfless, and gentle, but they can also be hesitant, timid, and pessimistic.
Year of the Dragon
Dragon: The Mighty Boss
The Dragon is the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the First Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Aries.
They are powerful, magnetic, and just but can also be domineering, demanding, and intolerant.
Year of the Snake
Snake: The Wise Philosopher
The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Second Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Taurus.
They are well-mannered, sophisticated, and attractive but can also be vengeful, suspicious, and stingy.
Year of the Horse
Horse: The Optimistic Freedom-Lover
The Horse is the seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Third Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Gemini.
They are independent, free-spirited and warm-hearted, but they can also be anxious, gossipy, and blunt.
Year of the Goat
Goat: The Misty Dreamer
The Goat is the eighth sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Fourth Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Cancer.
They are creative, romantic, and kind-hearted but can also be moody, vain, and shallow.
Year of the Monkey
Monkey: The Brilliant Socializer
The Monkey is the ninth sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the First Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Leo.
They are intelligent, curious, and chatty, but they can also be haughty, competitive, and egotistical.
Year of the Rooster
Rooster: The Responsible Worker
The Rooster is the tenth sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Second Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Virgo.
They are confident, hard-working, and smart but can also be critical, cocky, and preachy.
Year of the Dog
Dog: The Loyal Protector
The Dog is the eleventh sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Third Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Libra.
They are loyal, protective, and honest but can also be paranoid, anxious, and temperamental.
Year of the Pig
Pig: The Sincere Peace-Lover
The Pig is the twelfth sign of the Chinese zodiac and a member of the Fourth Trine. Their counterpart in the western zodiac is Scorpio.
They are compassionate, trusting, and sincere, but they can also be impulsive, gullible, and hot-tempered.
How Does the Chinese Zodiac Work?
The Chinese zodiac is based on a complex 60-year cycle system that assigns an animal and one of the five Chinese elements (Fire, Earth, Water, Wood, and Metal) to each year. While the Chinese zodiac animals are on a 12-year cycle, since there are five possible elemental combinations for each animal, the entire Chinese zodiac cycle is only fully complete every 60 years.
Unlike western astrology, Chinese astrology is based on the 12 Full Moons of each year, known as the lunar calendar. It also closely follows the planet Jupiter’s 11.85-year orbital period.
In the Chinese zodiac, your birth year represents your position and role in the 60-year cycle rather than just simply your individual personality. Although you might think you’ll be luckier when it’s your Chinese zodiac animal’s year, quite the opposite is the case. Instead, you can expect to meet more challenges and hardship to experience the necessary growth and transformation you need to carry on along your life’s journey.
Chinese Zodiac Love Compatibility
Looking for your Chinese zodiac love match?
Your perfect match in Chinese astrology is reliant on your sign, year of birth, and element.
It is believed that Chinese zodiac animals six years apart are incompatible, while those four years apart are the most compatible.
Discover your perfect love compatibility match now!
|Animal Sign||Best Match(es)||Worst Match(es)|
|Tiger||Horse, Dog||Rabbit, Pig|
|Pig||Goat, Rabbit||Snake, Tiger|
In Chinese culture, five elements cycle through 12-year cycles. Each element is associated with one of the solar system’s inner planets and a direction used in Fengshui.
|Element||12-year Cycle||Direction (Fengshui)||Planetary Association|
Each element is also correlated with:
- A color
- A part of the physical body
- A direction
- A season
- The five senses
All elements are naturally occurring and are believed to be connected with one another.
Each element imbues its characteristics upon the Chinese zodiac animal it is assigned to that year. For example, although you might have been born in the year of the Rabbit, someone born in a past or future Rabbit year will have a different element assigned to their Chinese zodiac animal.
About the 5 Elements
1. Metal Element
Metal is a strong sign, and Metal people tend to be very strong, especially on the inside. They will defend their loved ones with a passion, and they can be very ambitious and successful. They can also be tyrannical and ruthless if they let power get to their head.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey and Rooster are represented by Metal.
2. Water Element
Water people are more sensitive and emotional than the other elements. They are always there for their loved ones and will often champion the underdog. They can be too trusting with their feelings.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Pig and Rat are represented by Water.
3. Wood Element
Wood people are communicative and expressive. They will undergo tasks with enthusiasm but can sometimes overestimate themselves. They like to work with others to achieve goals but can be reckless.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Tiger and Rabbit are represented by Wood.
4. Fire Element
Fire people are dramatic and expressive. They have intense energy and are often born leaders. These people feel strongly about issues and are not afraid to show it. However, although they have enthusiasm, they lack self-control and moderation.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Snake and Horse are represented by Fire.
5. Earth Element
Earth people are level-headed and down to Earth. They are hard workers, and when they set their sights on something, they will work towards it, even if it takes a long time. They can be stubborn and inflexible, especially with their beliefs.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Ox, Dragon, Goat, and Dog are represented by Earth.
There are four trines in Chinese astrology categorized because they have similar underlying wants and goals.
The three animals of each trine are known to be in harmony with each other and often relate in many ways. Animals in the same trine will also have the same enemies for different reasons.
|1st Trine||Rat, Dragon, Monkey|
|2nd Trine||Ox, Snake, Rooster|
|3rd Trine||Tiger, Dog, Horse|
|4th Trine||Rabbit, Pig, Goat|
Yin & Yang
Each animal in the Chinese zodiac and each element is associated with either Yin or Yang.
In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang represent the interdependence and interconnection between opposing forces. Yin and Yang come together to create a whole, achieving a harmonious balance. If one is affected, so is the other.
- Yin Chinese zodiac animals: Snake, Goat, Rooster, Pig, Ox, Rabbit
- Yin elements: Water, Metal
- Yang Chinese zodiac animals: Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Dog, Rat, Tiger
- Yang elements: Wood, Fire
Note: The element of Earth is considered as balanced Yin-Yang.