The Chinese calendar is based on the movements of the moon and is linked to the Chinese zodiac – 12 animals all ascribed to a new year.
No one knows the exact date as of when the zodiac was essentially created, but they were officially identified during the Han Dynasty [206 B.C.–9 A.D.], which was over 2000 years ago. The zodiac became a popular way to determine a person’s birth year during the North Zhou Dynasty [557-581 A.D.]
The 12 Chinese zodiac signs are:
- Rat – Rats fall in love easily and are quick-witted, loyal and stubborn.
- Ox – Oxen are down-to-earth homebodies who are agreeable and have good organisational skills.
- Tiger – Tigers are proud, courageous leaders. They’re also fashionable, friendly and outgoing.
- Rabbit – Rabbits are sweet and non-confrontational. They’re also emotional and get their feelings hurt easily
- Dragon – Dragons are confident leaders. They’re attractive, trendy and love to entertain.
- Snake – Snakes are attractive and sophisticated, devoted (to the point of jealousy) to their partners, and give off an air of mystery by keeping their thoughts to themselves.
- Horse – Horses are intelligent globetrotters with a sense of humour and tendency to fall in love easily. They love to be the life of the party but are also impatient and hot-headed.
- Goat – Goats (or rams) are creative and artistic, and love volunteering. They are sensitive and loving, but can be impractical, moody and lazy.
- Monkey – Monkeys are smart, curious, and love being the centre of attention. They’re flirty, social butterflies with a sharp tongue.
- Roster – Roosters are straight-forward, say-it-how-it-is people who set high standards for themselves (and others). They like flashy attire and lifestyles.
- Dog – Dogs are affectionate, faithful and loyal — but also can have a tendency to worry and nag. They are great listeners, generous, and have a happy temperament.
- Pig – Pigs are sweet, patient and cheerful, but can be taken advantage of due to their naïveté. They love the domestic life and would choose family over career.
Every new year is celebrated under the next consecutive sign and every 12 years is considered a complete cycle. The Year of the Dog is the second to last in the current cycle. This year the Year of the Dog takes over from the Year of the Rooster.
Babies born in the current Year of the Dog, as well as those born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, all share the Dog as their zodiac sign.
To further complicate things Each year has one of five elements. The elements are water, wood, earth, fire, and gold. For example, 1982 was a Water Dog, 1994 a Wood Dog, 2006 a Fire Dog and 2018 an Earth Dog.
Traditional belief stipulates that people born in the Year of the Dog are usually independent, responsible, sincere, loyal and decisive. They are not afraid of difficulties in daily life. However, the down side is they have a tendency to be conservative, stubborn and emotional.
The dog’s ideal match are people with from the Rabbit zodiac sign. Similar personality traits and common hobbies will supposedly enhance their relationship. They can understand each other and face difficulties with enough patience.
In reality, in China almost everyone will know what is their star sign, however very few people take it seriously, similarly to the Western star sign.