Chinese Zodiac for Kids
The Chinese Zodiac is determined by the Chinese Lunar Calendar and 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 HoroscopeThe 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:
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 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:
If you were born in 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 then you are a Rat.
If you were born in 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 you are an Ox.
If you were born in 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 you are a Tiger.
If you were born in 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 you are a Rabbit.
If you were born in 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012 you are a Dragon.
If you were born in 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013 you are a Snake.
If you were born in 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014 you are a Horse.
If you were born in 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015 you are a Goat.
If you were born in 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016 you are a Monkey.
If you were born in 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017 you are a Rooster.
If you were born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 you are a Dog.
If you were born in 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019 you are a Pig.
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:
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
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