On January 31, 2013 millions of people celebrated Chinese New Year as the calendar shifted from the year of the Dragon to the year of the Snake. Many families observed the holiday by eating traditional dumplings, decorating and gifting lucky loved ones with special red envelopes filled with cash (fun fact: did you know this traditional gift-giving custom is where we get our name and inspiration?).
The Chinese have introduced the world to everything from paper and tea to fireworks and gunpowder. One of its most intriguing contributions has been the teachings of Chinese astrology, including the animals who represent each year in the 12-year lunar cycle of the zodiac.
There are a variety of tales regarding the origin of the Chinese Zodiac. One legend says the animals were selected simply by being the only attendees courteous enough to show up to a dinner party hosted by Buddha. Another account says the Jade Emperor held a race and each animal won the honor by using their wits, talents and strengths to beat out other animal types.
People of all cultures now utilize Chinese astrology in everything from predicting relationship compatibility (no more blind dates!), finding the right time to start a new job or determining what year would be ideal to have a baby.
What we love about the Chinese zodiac animals is how they are a fun, unique and interesting way to symbolize charm and personality, as illustrated by the whimsical Chinese zodiac pendants created by New Orleans jewelry designer Marion Cage.
Ready to see what your Chinese Zodiac animal says about you? Find your birth year below!
The rat: generous, loyal and quick-witted, you make a good friend.
- Years: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
The ox: steadfast, solid and goal oriented, you make a reliable companion.
- Years: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
The tiger: courageous, charming and intense, you are a risk taker.
- Years: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
The rabbit: popular, compassionate and sincere, you love entertaining.
- Years: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
The dragon: intelligent, warm-hearted and charismatic, you are a natural born leader.
- Years: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
The snake: charming, analytical and smart, you are the one people go to for advice.
- Years: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
The horse: energetic, self-reliant and adventurous, you love traveling.
- Years: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
The goat: smart, creative and introspective, you are a true artisan.
- Years: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
The monkey: energetic, upbeat and fun, you are the life of the party.
- Years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
The rooster: practical, resourceful and observant, you are a great problem solver.
- Years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
The dog: loyal, honest and discerning, you make an ideal business partner.
- Years: 1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
The pig: intelligent, good mannered and tasteful, you make a perfect companion.
- Years: 1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Want a fun trick to use the Chinese zodiac? Try and guess a person's age without directly asking. Just ask that new coworker who appears to be anywhere from 35 to 45 what their zodiac animal is. When they say they're an ox, you'll know that not only are they about to turn the big 4-0, they may also make a steadfast, loyal cohort!
See these and other fun astrology-based gifts here.