Since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, I decided to get started with the celebration. Gung Hey Fat Choy!
Legend has it, that, when the great Buddha found enlightenment beside an old tree, he invited all the animals to his kingdom to celebrate. Only 12 animals arrived, and Buddha promptly rewarded them by celebrating every new year in honor of each. Hence, on 12-year rotation, each animal is celebrated and its character traits are said to influence the events and personalities of newborns during the year.
The Order of the Animals
The order in which the animals arrived at Buddha's side is significant for understanding some of their characters. The legend tells of a great river that all the animals had to cross just before reaching Buddha. The first to arrive at the river were the Rat and the Ox. The Rat immediately saw that he needed the Ox's assistance to cross the raging river, and asked the Ox for a lift on his back. The Ox agreed. On reaching the other side, the smart-thinking Rat sprang from the Ox's back and raced up the riverbank, to be the first to arrive and, therefore, the first animal to be honored by Buddha. The hardworking Ox came in second. Then came the Tiger, the Hare, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and the Pig.
The origins of Chinese astrology date back many thousands of years, and are steeped in ancient Chinese culture and philosophy.
Your Chinese Horoscope: (check the year you were born to determine your Chinese zodiac)
The Rat (1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1996, 2008)
Rats are chiefly concerned with power and material security. Ambition, success and wealth accumulation feature in their lives. Aided by their innate analytical and clear thinking skills, they can devise elaborate plans that are assured of great success. Rats embody entrepreneurial and leadership skills. Rats always appear smartly attired, witty and in control of their conduct. They make interesting and informed conversationalists who crave companionship and adore social gathering. Rats have much public appeal and personal charm.
The Ox (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)
Oxen are the most physically powerful and sure-footed animals of the Chinese zodiac. No other sign can match them for physical endurance, tenacity and patience. Oxen are traditionalists at heart, who take life seriously, and will persevere through all manner of hardship to fulfill their goals and obligations. Upfront, honest and practical, Oxen operate on clear values and beliefs and expect others to do the same. What you see is what you get with an Ox. They don't understand the notion of hidden agendas or double standards, and always practice what they preach. For most of the time Oxen are placid, slow to anger and quick to forgive. However, those who cheat, lie or steal from them should beware. Once an Ox sees red, revenge can be explosive, severe-and unforgettable.
The Tiger (1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)
Tiger's position as the third animal at Buddha's side denotes nobility and honor. In China, the Tiger, not the Lion, is believed to be king of all beasts. Those born under this noble sign display many leadership qualities and have a dynamic presence. Tigers are born optimists who make daring plans and apply endless energy and purpose in carrying them out. They like to read exciting and adventurous lives, full of thrills and spills, and they are attracted to danger like a moth to flame. Blessed with luck and good fortune, most Tigers can conquer all manner of illness and despair to arrive triumphant, if a little weary, at old age. Only in retirement do they start to settle down and find some peace and contentment.
The Hare (1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)
As the fourth animal to reach Buddha's side, the Hare holds the position of harmony and flexibility. Hares are generally kind and sensitive characters who detest open conflicts, preferring to manage their disputes with skillful diplomacy, intelligence and tact. Hares approach life with cautious detachment, preferring the role of reflective conservative options and goals, which can mean fewer large-scale rewards, and less upheaval in their lives. Hares are happy, discreet and refined people.
The Dragon (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)
In China, Dragons are mythical animals who live in the heavens and command the forces of nature, such as rain, wind, storm and flood. They are viewed as awasome and volatile creatures who are fairly unpredictable. Their fifth position at Buddha's side denotes power and reverence. Dragons are magnetic, intelligent and extremely self-confident, able to brush aside life's obstacles easily to ensure much personal success. They love to be the focus of attention and at the helm of every project. Their personal charisma holds others in awe and admiration. Dragons are free spirits, sensitive to their environment and in constant need of new experiences and adventures. They also have fiery tempers.
The Snake (1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)
Snake's sixth position at Buddha's side denotes centrality and wisdom, a position of quiet but distinct influence. Snakes are able to draw strenght and power effortlessly from those around them. Snakes women are also believed to be the most beautiful and alluring of all the signs. Snakes are true intellectuals, preferring the world of thought to the world of action. They demonstrate much self-control and appropiate emotional detachment. Snakes probably wrote the rules of political correctness! Cultured and sophisticated, Snakes are conservative yet tasteful, and are able to acquire material wealth easily.
The Horse (1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002,2014)
Horse's seventh position at Buddha's side represents youthful vitality and freedom. People born in Horse years are by nature active, adventurous, restless and young at heart. Horse people have so much excess energy that they will continually involve themselves in daredevil outdoor and sporty pursuits in the vain hope of tiring themselves out. Horses are the Chinese zodiac's absolute free spirits. If their freedom is hindered in any way they may be prone to bouts of claustrophobia. Horse's need for freedom extends into all areas of their lives. They are extroverts who adore company and all manner of social activities, where they prefer to be the focus of attention at social gatherings. Never afraid to speak their minds, Horses rush into conversations and debates, no matter how little they may know about the subject. They tend to take on causes, and their impatience and lack of caution can be challenges.
The Sheep (1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)
Sheep's eight position at Buddha's side is associated with peace and serenity. Sheep are introverts, and are quiet, patient and friendly. Extreme pacifists, they detest violence in any form. They live by their strong values and beliefs, and have a keen sense of right and wrong. Sheep have imaginative and creative minds, and are often gifted artists, writers and musicians. Their calm and introspective personalities also make them good listeners, who like to hear all points of view before forming a judgment or making a decision.
The Monkey (1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016)
Monkey's ninth position at Buddha's side denotes mental agility. Monkeys have quick, lively intellects and sharp wits that few can match. They spend their days scheming and hatching outrageous plans: they are not above manipulating others to get their own way. Monkeys like to defy convention and live strange and unusual lives. Monkeys are also renowned tricksters and teasers, the clever and active clowns of the Chinese zodiac who search for fun and excitement in everything they do. They are irrepressible eccentrics, and highly intelligent.
The Rooster (1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)
Rooster's tenth position at Buddha's side denotes strenght, alertness and honor-usually military honor. Roosters are flamboyant people who are attracted to pomp and ceremony in social occasions. Appearences mean everything to Roosters, who spend much time on their looks and like to be admired more for their appearence than their intelligence. Roosters can be sensitive to and easily influenced by others' flattery, criticism or ridicule, and are likely to be critical of others in turn. Roosters are gutsy people who necessarily tactful or cautious. Many Roosters are avid readers-although they generally keep this a secret, as they want to be admired for their presence rather than their questioning minds.
The Dog (1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018)
Dog's 11th position at Buddha's side stands for loyalty and justice. People born in Dog years are idealistic and highly principled. They have strong beliefs and live by their morals. To a Dog everything in life is either black or white, right or wrong, good or bad: there is no middle ground. Dogs hate injustice, insincerity and disloyalty. Dogs are champions of the downtrodden, loyal supporters of just causes, and totally self-sacrificing. They need a purpose in life in order to feel content, and will often put the interests of others before their own. Alert, watchful and perceptive, Dogs are cautious and rely on their instincts to pick the right time to jump and make their mark.
The Pig (1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019)
The 12th and final position at Buddha's side represents completion and celebration of the cycle's end. Pigs are the most easily contented and happy-go-lucky of all the Chinese zodiac animals. They are true peacemakers and talented at bringing divergent groups and individuals together in harmony. Carefree and good-natured. Pigs don't demand much from others, are easily to get along with, and like to live in peaceful and secure surrounds. Happy and sociable, they prefer to spend most of their time indulging in social gaiety and enjoying gourmet cuisine.
Relationship Charts for harmony in Love, Friendship and Professional Life Each animal is said to have two main friends from each of the other 11 animals and business relationships and one enemy who is best to be avoided in order to live in harmony.
Groups of Best Friends:
Rat, Dragon and Monkey
Ox, Rooster and Snake
Tiger, Dog and Horse
Hare, Pig and Sheep
Each Animal's Enemy:
Rat → Horse
Ox → Sheep
Tiger → Monkey
Hare → Rooster
Dragon → Dog
Snake → Pig
Source: Chinese Horoscopes by Debbie Burns