Chinese Zodiac for Kids

Are you a tiger, a horse, a dragon?...

Chinese Zodiac Animals

The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve signs and is determined by the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is based on the cycles of the moon, unlike our western or Gregorian calendar which is based on the solar cycle.

In Chinese astrology, there are 12 Chinese Zodiac signs. Because the moon's cycle repeats itself every 12 years, there are 12 animals in the Chinese Horoscope - one for each year of the lunar cycle. The 12 animals in the Western Zodiac in contrast, are assigned to each solar month.

The Legend of the Chinese Horoscope

The origins of the Chinese Zodiac go back a few thousand years. According to the myths, long time ago, Buddha decided to call all the animals on earth. But only twelve came:
  • the Rat
  • the Ox
  • the Tiger
  • the Rabbit
  • the Dragon
  • the Snake
  • the Horse
  • the Goat or Sheep
  • the Monkey
  • the Rooster
  • the Dog
  • the Pig
chinese zodiac coins

In recompense, he assigned each of these animals a year on the cycle affirming that children born in that year would acquire the personality traits of the animal assigned to that year.

In order to decide their order in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, the animals held a very exciting race. The first one to cross the river would be granted the first year, the second to come in would be the second animal in the cycle, and so on.

The strong, hardworking Ox was in the lead. Suddenly, the clever Rat, jumped on the Ox's back, he did not even feel the little thing getting a free ride. At the last second before reaching shore, the Rat jumped on land, winning the race! The Ox came in second, the Tiger third, and so it went... the happy-go-lucky Pig took his time and came in last... and the Chinese Zodiac and its twelve signs were born...

chinese zodiac coins

The Twelve Animals... which one is yours?

In China, individual birth dates are not as important as the year in which a person is born. And if you want to know a person's age, you don't ask how old they are, you ask for their Chinese Zodiac animal.

To know which one is yours, look up the year of your birth below and look at the qualities of that animal to see how much of it agrees with you:

Chinese Zodiac Rat


If you were born in 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 then you are a Rat.

You are charming, picky, ambitious and bright. You are adventurous and deep thinking.

You get along well with Dragons and Monkeys.

Stay away from Horses.

Chinese Zodiac Ox


If you were born in 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 you are an Ox.

You are patient, hardworking and dependable. You are trustworthy and like to follow rules.

Your friends are the Snake and the Rooster.

Your opposite is the Goat.

Chinese Zodiac Tiger


If you were born in 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 you are a Tiger.

You are powerful, aggressive and courageous. You can also be rebellious and unpredictable but at the same time protective and sympathetic.

The Dog and the Horse are your best signs.

The monkey is trouble.

Chinese Zodiac Rabbit


If you were born in 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 you are a Rabbit.

The Rabbit is considered the luckiest of the Chinese Zodiac animals. You are affectionate, virtuous and kind. You are sensitive to beauty and aim for peace in your life.

You are most compatible with the Goat and the Pig.

Your opposite is the Rooster.

Chinese Zodiac Dragon


If you were born in 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012 you are a Dragon.

The Dragon was a symbol of Imperial power in ancient China; and Chinese consider it a great honor to be born in the Year of the Dragon. Dragons are full of strength and energy, always on the go. You are powerful, wealthy and wise. Here you can learn more about Chinese Dragons.

Look to the Monkey or the Rat and watch out for Dogs.

Chinese Zodiac Snake


If you were born in 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013 you are a Snake.

Snakes are determined, wise and intense. You are vain and inclined towards physical beauty.

Befriend the Rooster and the Ox but not the Pig.

More about the Year of the Snake.

Chinese Zodiac Horse


If you were born in 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014 you are a Horse.

Horses are popular and very attractive. Talkative and sometimes showy and impatient.

You get along with Tigers and Dogs but never with Rats.

More about the Year of the Horse.

Chinese Zodiac Goat


If you were born in 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015 you are a Sheep/Goat.

You are creative and elegant.

Sheeps are tender and sympathetic, sometimes shy.

The Ox is trouble. Rabbits and Pigs are OK.

More about the Year of the Sheep/Goat.

Chinese Zodiac Monkey


If you were born in 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016 you are a Monkey.

Monkeys are charming and intelligent, inventive and at times deceitful.

You are able to influence people and are successful at almost anything.

Your friends are the Dragon and the Rat but not the Tiger.

Chinese Zodiac Rooster


If you were born in 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017 you are a Rooster.

You are proud, eccentric and a little too sure of yourself.

You enjoy learning and are not afraid to work.

You will be fine with Snakes and Oxen, but Rabbits are trouble.

Chinese Zodiac Dog


If you were born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 you are a Dog.

Dogs are loyal and sincere. You like things to be fair and work well with others.

Your friends are the Tiger and the Horse.

Watch out for Dragons.

Chinese Zodiac Pig


If you were born in 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019 you are a Pig.

The Pig is the last animal in the Chinese Zodiac cycle. Pigs are brave, noble and chivalrous.

You make lifelong friendships.

You get along with Rabbits and Goats but must avoid other Pigs.

The Five Elements and the Twelve Animals, what do they mean?

In addition to the Twelve Animals in the Chinese Zodiac that determine a person's destiny, there is also the "Five Elements" which are associated with a certain "life force" or "qi/chi" and also have a bearing in determining your luck.

These are the Five Elements in Chinese Culture, each is associated with a certain direction, season, color and energy:

  • Wood: East, Spring, Green, Life and the process of renewing Life

  • Fire: South, Summer, Red, Enthusiasm and Passion

  • Earth: Center, change of seasons (last month of each season), Yellow, Nurturing and Sympathetic

  • Metal: West, Autumn, White, Guarded and Private

  • Water: North, Winter, Black, Flexible and Fluid

Your birth date and time determine your lucky element. You will often see one of the five elements associated with a Chinese Zodiac animal. For example, 2010 was the year of the White Tiger, meaning, it was the Year of the Tiger, and the element was Metal.

2012 was the year of the Water Dragon and was also referred to as the Year of the Black Dragon.

2013, as well, is a Water year, and the animal is the Snake, thus 2013 is the Year of the Water Snake or Black Snake.

2014 is the year of the Horse and circling back, the element is Wood. So you will hear it referred to as the Year of the Wooden Horse, or the Year of the Green Horse, because wood is associated with the greenness of nature.

The Five Elements together with the Twelve Animals in the Chinese Zodiac form a 60 year cycle.

Learn More...

Are Chinese Dragons Evil?

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Traditions and Preparations

The Chinese Dragon Dance

The Year of the Dragon

The Year of the Snake

The Year of the Horse

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