Chinese Astrology


Chinese astrology continues to fascinate. In this scheme the character of a person is governed by one of a sequence of twelve animals representing each year. Anyone born in January or early February needs to take account that the years start at the Chinese New Year which varies depending on the Moon. The year (nian) itself takes on the same characteristics of the people born in it.

year rat
2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924 Rat's chief admirable quality is their charm, they are easily angered even though they appear calm and collected. Thrifty but subject to generosity where love is concerned. Follow this link for more details.
year ox
2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925 Oxen are placid and easy going, leading by example. Dextrous and eloquent but can be petty and mean.
year tiger
2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926 Tigers are powerful, courageous and deep thinkers. Considerate to those they love but can be stubborn and selfish. Tigers tend to resent those in authority.
year rabbit
2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927 Gifted, ambitious and smooth talking are some qualities of those born in these years. Calm and clever in business but subject to bouts of melancholia. Good at choosing winners.
year dragon
2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928 Dragons are auspicious in China and so have many positive characteristics. Dragons get more than their fair share of health and are courageous but sensitive. Hard working but sometimes for evil ends. Quick tempered and stubborn at times.
year snake
2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929 The wisdom of the snake is legendary. Snake people are good looking and good at business but vain and determined in all that they do.
year horse
2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930 Naturally sociable, loyal and cheerful are their strong characteristics. Prone to follow their emotions as they act on impulse and won't listen to advice.
year goat
Sheep or Goat
2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919 Creative and sensitive are terms that summarize sheep. Shy and rather timid they tend to be pessimistic but have a refined taste for food and clothes. Naturally helpful and gentle.
year monkey
2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920 A monkey is extremely resourceful, particularly at negotiating. They have a good memory but talk too much. A natural peacemaker. Follow this link for more details.
year rooster 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921 A rooster or chicken is naturally curious and a deep thinker. Hard working and eccentric they often make over ambitious plans. They lack foresight but are direct and can be selfish. Follow this link for more details.
year dog
2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922 In China a dog is a much more positive character than in the West. Loyal and dutiful, of course, but also trustworthy and can not tolerate injustice. However dogs can be aloof and obstinate. Follow this link for more details.
year pig
2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923 Courageous and strong, pigs work hard to achieve objectives. Kind to those they love and loyal to friends, but however rather shy and reserved. Follow this link for more details.

Nian - New Year

There is an old Chinese story about nian, which nowadays means 'year' or 'New Year', which explains why Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival as it is called in China itself) is celebrated.

Long, long ago the people of one Chinese village were terrorised by a monster called 'nian'. The nian would come to the village once a year at the beginning of spring to demand a human sacrifice, the sacrifice of a young child for it to eat. Year after year it came, year after year the people gave it their children.

Eventually they decided that they would no longer submit to its dreadful rule. They had discovered that the nian was actually quite cowardly, and was frightened of loud noises and bright colours. They bought lots of red paper and decorated the outside of their doors, wrote lucky sayings on the papers, then covered them over with black cloths. They also made hundreds of firecrackers.

At midnight on New Year's Eve , nian once again crawled into the village, hissing its usual demand for a child to eat. Suddenly some of the villagers rushed out, bashing gongs and drums, clashing cymbals, whilst others uncovered the red paper on the doors of the houses. 'Men the fire-crackers were set off, making a deafening noise. The nian, terrified and bewildered by the colours and noise, turned away and skulked off, and left them in peace, for another year at least. Then they celebrated with an enormous feast to which the whole village came. Every year, just in case the nian returned for another victim, they put up red paper and let off fire-crackers, and so did all the other villages in China ....

© Copyright Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) 2001 reprinted from SACU's magazine China Now 143, Page 20, 1992

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