CHINESE new year has a number of different animals that represent the year, and it is said that this correlates with people's personality traits when born in a year of a particular creature.
This is known as the Chinese zodiac, which repeats in a 12-year cycle. This is what we know.
What is this year's Chinese zodiac animal?
2023 is the year of the rabbit.
Rabbits are known as lucky, and are said to be gentle, talented and friendly.
which also features the Ox, Rat, Tiger, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
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Last year was the Year of the Tiger and 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon.
Which Chinese zodiac animal am I?
The Chinese Zodiac – or shengxiao, which means "born resembling" – is arranged in a repeating cycle of 12 years.
Which Chinese zodiac animal am I?
- Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
- Ox: 2033, 2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
- Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
- Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
- Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
- Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
- Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
- Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
- Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
- Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
- Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958
- Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959
The animal changes at the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and traditionally these animals were used to date the years.
However, Chinese New Year is a movable celebration, dictated by the lunar cycle, which can fall any time between January 21 and February 20.
If you're feeling confused, calculate your zodiac sign here.
How are the Chinese New Year animals decided?
The choice of animals is significant – the ox, horse, goat, rooster, pig and dog are six of the main domestic animals raised by Chinese people, while the rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake and monkey are all loved by the Chinese.
The animals were separated into two categories – yin and yang – depending on whether they have an odd or even number of claws, toes or hooves.
They were then arranged into an alternating yin and yang sequence.
It is a little-known fact that the zodiac animals can also be used to tell the time. Here's how the Chinese clock works:
The Chinese clock
- Rat: 11pm-1am
- Ox: 1am-3am
- Tiger: 3am-5am
- Rabbit: 5am-7am
- Dragon: 7am-9am
- Snake: 9am-11am
- Horse: 11am-1pm
- Goat: 1pm-3pm
- Monkey: 3pm-5pm
- Rooster: 5pm-7pm
- Dog: 7pm-9pm
- Pig: 9pm-11pm
What is the Chinese Zodiac story?
Legend has it that, back in the ancient days, the Jade Emperor ordered that animals would become part of the calendar and that the 12 who arrived first would be selected.
At the time, the cat and the rat were good friends. When they heard the news, the cat said to the rat: "We should arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late."
The rat promised to wake his pal up so they could go together but, because he was so excited, forgot and went alone.
On the way, the rat bumped into the tiger, ox, horse and other animals – who were all much faster than him.
He hatched a plan and convinced the ox to carry him on his back – on the condition that the rat sang throughout the journey.
The ox arrived first, but the rat sneaked in front of him and became the first lucky animal.
By the time the cat arrived, the selection was over – which is why the cat hates the rat and will always try to chase and kill him.
The pig was the twelfth to arrive because it overslept.
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