In China, instead of asking your age, people may ask you questions like "what do you belong to?" Don't ever think that you are expected to answer like "I belong to the US". You are supposed to belong to one of twelve animals! (Those are mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.) It is not that weird as you have to follow the order of a mouse or a tiger. That is Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac is based on a twelve year cycle --- each year being represented by an animal that imparts distinct characteristics to its year.
Many Chinese believe that the year of a person's birth is the primary factor in determining that person's personality traits, physical and mental attributes and degree of success and happiness throughout his lifetime. Actually, in China, this is just an alternative way to say how old you are.
Chinese astrology has a history of more than 3,000 years. Ancient Chinese people invented the 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches for chronological purposes. However, since most people were illiterate, 12 animals were designated to symbolize the 12 Earthly Branches in order to be better remembered. These lucky animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig successively.
According to legend, many years ago Buddha summoned all the animals to a meeting in which he would designate the first 12 animals arriving,to be signs of a year respectively. On the night before the departure, cat notified his pal, rat, and they agreed that the one waking up first the next morning must awake the other so they can depart for the meeting together. However, rat broke his promise and arrived for the meeting alone. Then, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig arrived one after the other. When cat woke up and hurried there, the meeting was over. It is said that is the reason why the cat kills rats.
Chinese astrology argues that one's personality profile can be revealed form one's birth time. However, Chinese zodiac is based on the year rather than in the month as in the western system. In China everybody knows which animal sign he or she is born under. Do you want to know which animal you are born under and check out your astrological path according to Chinese Zodiac? Read on to learn more.
Chinese New Year is the main holiday of the year for more than one quarter of the world's population. Although the People's Republic of China uses the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, a special Chinese calendar is used for determining festivals. Various Chinese communities around the world also use this calendar. At right, a large dragon lantern glows at a festival for Chinese New Year at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. Taipei, Taiwan.
The beginnings of the Chinese calendar can be traced back to the 14th century B.C.E. Legend has it that the Emperor Huangdi invented the calendar in 2637 B.C.E.
The Chinese calendar is based on exact astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun and the phases of the moon. This means that principles of modern science have had an impact on the Chinese calendar.
|Calendar-Making in Ancient China |
An important aspect of the Chinese calendar is the sexagenary cycle (gan zhi), which is 60 years long. This is a combination of the 10 heavenly stems (tian gan), and the 12 earthly branches (di zhi).
Chinese months follow the phases of the moon. The solar-based agricultural calendar is made up of twenty-four points called jieqi. They are essentially seasonal markers to help farmers decide when to plant or harvest crops, as the lunisolar calendar is for obvious reasons unreliable in this respect.
|Rules of Chinese Calendar |
The following rules have been valid since 104 BC, although some of the details were unnecessary before 1645. Note that these rules do not specify the detailed calculations, permitting either mean or true motions of the Sun and Moon to be used, depending on the historical period.
|2000-Year-Old Almanac Found in Suizhou Hubei Province |
On December 30, 2000, the Museum of the Suizhou City in Central China's Hubei Province revealed that nine months ago they unearthed 78 precious bamboo slips with order of solar periods and seasons written on them. The slips recorded some ancient calendric knowledge, including Tian Gan (heavenly stems), Di Zhi (earthly branches), and 24 solar terms. Experts said that the bamboo slips could be called a 2000-year-old almanac.
|Chinese Lunar Calendar |
The Chinese lunar calendar is a traditional calendar in China and it is also called Xia Li, Zhong Li, Jiu Li, or Yin Li. It is based on exact astronomical observations of positions of the sun and moon. Thus in essence it is a combined solar/lunar calendar.
|Chongzhen Lishu |
Chongzhen Lishu, Chongzhen Almanac, is one of the most important books about the European astronomy in ancient China. The book was co-compiled by Qu Guangqi, Li Zhizao, Li Tianjing and German missionary Johann Adam Schall von Bell from 1629 to 1634 during the Late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
|Comparison: Chinese Calendar vs. Western Calendar |
As early as in the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century BC), when China was already a farming country, the ancient people used the concept of leap month to decide the four seasons, and by the Warring States Period (475-221BC), the measured length of a solar year was quite precise. In the Western countries, however, the calendar was still in a mess by the time of China's Western Han Dynasty (206BC-24AD).
|Da Ming Calendar |
Zu Chongzhi (429-500), also known as Wen Yuan, was a native of today's Laishui County of North China's Hebei Province, and a great mathematician, astronomer, and engineer of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589).
|Da Yan Calendar |
Da Yan Calendar (a calendar and book) was drafted by Zhang Sui (also named Seng Yixing) in 727, and was later sorted out by Zhang Shuo and Chen Xuanjing. Enforced in 729, the calendar remained in use until 751. In 733, it was introduced to Japan, where it was used for over a hundred years.
Those born under this sign are honest, quiet, intelligent, generous, stubborn, loyal and faithful to those they love.
|The Dog and his Ascendants |
Born During the Hours of the Mouse - 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Loving but not so giving. Has a monetary angle even when he is moralizing. He is considerate and careful about money - mainly his own.
|The Dog Child |
This child will be friendly, happy and well-balanced. Cheerful and harmonious, he expects little of others and can accept his parents and friends as they are. Open, confident and loyal, he will perceive other people's viewpoints with amazing clarity while still maintaining his own convictions and dignity. He will never allow himself to be bullied and in all probability will put up a hefty fight with the neighborhood tyrant and win the respect of his peers.
|Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Dog |
Chinese zodiac compatibility, includs Dog and Rat, Dog and OX, Dog and Tiger, Dog and Rabit, Dog and Dragen, Dog and Snake, Dog and Horse, Dog and Sheep, Dog and Monkey, Dog and Rooster, Dog and Dog, Dog and Boar.
|The Five Types of Dog |
Metal dog can be unwavering in his convictions and highly critical of every infraction of the law according to his own interpretation. However, his principles are of highest kind and fundamentally he is noble and charitable.
|The Dog Personality |
People born in the year of the dog are usually candid, honest, generous, righteous, studious and energetic, which makes it easy for them to attract the favor of the opposite sex.
|Year of the Dog |
Paradoxically the year of the Dog will bring happiness and dissent in the same boat. The Dog's domestic auspices will bring harmony to home life, patriotism to one's country and unwavering fealty to whatever cause you wish to support.
Those born under the sign are considered intelligent, gifted, bossy, loud, garish, and unfaithful, but also popular and successful, full of vitality and enthusiasm. They usually look stubborn on the outside, but softhearted inside. They are born to be an artist, priest, politician, or leader. A dragon will be compatible with a Snake or Rooster. However, a sheep will not be a good choice.
|The Dragon Child |
The high-spirited Dragon child is an innovator. Forceful, fearless and vibrant = nothing will daunt his idealistic outlook on life. He will formulate his own principles early in life and will need or ask for very little help. He is respectful of his elders and will be able to obey commands precisely.
|Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Dragon |
People born in the year of the dragon will have the most tacit understanding with people born in the year of the monkey. A "dragon" and a "mouse" can also form a reliable alliance, for the cunning mouse and strong dragon can achieve a great cause together. A "dragon" can have a happy marriage with a "snake," for the snake with his/her wisdom will prevent the dragon from acting wildly in defiance of the law or public opinion.
|The Five Types of Dragon |
Metal dragon could well be the most strong-willed of the Dragons. Honesty and integrity are paramount virtues to him and although he may be bright, open and expressive, he is also unbending and critical.
|The Dragon Personality |
People born in the year of the dragon are full of vitality and strength. To them, life is a colorful leaping flame. Though assuming airs of self-importance, being prejudiced, making arbitrary decisions, and indulging in some of the wildest fantasies, these people are always adored. They are proud, aloof and frank. They establish lofty ideals at an early age, and require others to have same ideals.
|Year of the Dragon |
A magnificent comeback after the recuperative year of the Rabbit. We will throw caution to the four winds and roll up our sleeves for all sorts of grandiose, exhilarating, colossal, over ambitious and daring projects. The indomitable spirit of the Dragon will inflate everything to larger than life size.
|History of Chinese Calendar |
The legendary beginning of the Chinese calendar developed during the first millennium BC. The legend states that the first Chinese calendar was invented by the first legendary emperor, Huangdi or the Yellow Emperor, whose reign was assigned to 2698-2599 BC.
They are hardworking, intelligent and friendly, cheerful and popular, but impatient. Usually they consider themselves superior to others. They have a strong streak of selfishness and sharp cunning and should guard against being egotistical. Adventurer, scientist, poet, or politician will be suitable occupations for them. Horses get well along with Tigers and Dogs instead of Rats.
|The Horse Child |
A child born in the Horse year will be animated, boisterous and mercurial. He or she will have a passionate love of life and a buoyant personality. He likes to do things quickly and will be able to lear new things easily. (Many horse youngsters are also born left-handed.)
|Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Horse |
Their best companions are people born in the year of the tiger, dog and sheep. Those born in the year of dragon, snake, monkey, rabbit, pig and rooster can become their friends, and others born in the year of the horse can get along well with them.
|The Five Types of Horse |
A popular but peripatetic and unruly type of Horse. demonstrative, impetuous and bold, he will be a most engaging personality. He is highly amorous and very appealing to the opposite sex.
|The Horse Personality |
People born in the year of the horse are sanguine, sharp-minded, dress fashionably, gifted with a silver tongue, and have acute insight. But they fall in the snares of love easily, and break away from them lightly.
|Year of the Horse |
A lively and high-spirited year for all. Life will be hectic and punctuated with adventures. People will find themselves reckless, romantic and carefree. A definite time for advancement. We will find it quite agreeable to keep in step with the delightful Horse.
Monkeys are intelligent, inventive, clever, entertaining but also dangerous and easily discouraged. Because of their extraordinary nature and magnetic personality, they are always well liked and make close friends. However, they can't be trusted.
|The Monkey Child |
The Monkey child will be captivating. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, he won't keep still for a moment. Mischievous, jovial and very competitive, he will steal his way into your heart. Skillful at flattery and extremely good at playing up to your weaknesses, the incorrigible Monkey will always get what he is after.
|Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Monkey |
Of similar character to the "monkeys," people "born in the years of the snake and tiger seldom make friends with them, and "tigers" are especially careful not to get involved in the affairs of "monkeys," for this may make them open to attack.
|The Five Types of Monkey |
The metal monkey is the fighting Monkey. Strong, sophisticated and independent, he will have an irrepressible urge for financial security. Capable of making wise investments, this type of Monkey will prefer to run his own business or else earn money from outside work if he has a regular job.
|The Monkey Personality |
People born in the year of the monkey can cope with almost any intricacy with a sober mind. Ambitious and knowledgeable as they are, they can achieve great success in whatever career they decide to embrace.
|Year of the Monkey |
Everything will be workable this year. At least the agile Monkey will not give up before trying every angle. There will be success even in impossible ventures, there will be inventions and improvisations galore.
|The Mouse Child |
A child born in the year of the Rat will be sweet and loving. he may be shy, but inwardly he is fiercely competitive. often, he resorts to crying to get more attention and usually clings to one or two people with whom he identifies. Although he has a charming disposition, he is possessive of parents and friends and jealous of attention given to others.
|Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Mouse/Rat |
People born in the year of the mouse are easily attracted by people born in the year of the ox, thinking they are strong and can be relied on, and those born in the year of the ox appreciate the spirit of dedication of those born in the year of the mouse.
|The Five Types of Mouse |
The metal mouse is most likely to be idealistic in thought, vivid in speech and actions and intensely emotional. He may cover up his feelings by presenting himself as a happy and charming personality. In reality, he is easily moved to jealousy, anger, selfishness and possessiveness.
|The Mouse/Rat Personality |
The mouse is one of the animals that are found all over the world. It has good vitality and gives people the impression that it is smart,nimble and filled with enterprising spirits.
Rat was the first animal in the Chinese zodiac cycle. It is usually considered aggressive, ambitious, suspicious, power-hungry, honest, generous, quick to anger and prone to spend freely.
|Year of the Mouse/Rat |
The Rat year is a year of plenty, bringing opportunity and good prospects. It will be marked by speculation and fluctuations in the prices of commodities and the stock market; the world economy in general will boom.
|Nomenclature of Chinese Calendar |
The years are named by a cycle of 10 Heavenly Stems and a cycle of 12 Earthly Branches. Each year is named by a pair of one stem and one branch called a Stem-Branch (ganzhi).
|Origins of the Solar Calendar |
The solar calendar is based on the earth's period of revolution around the sun, so a solar calendar year approximates a tropical year.
|The Ox Personality |
People born in the year of the ox are steady, plain and quiet. They arrange things system-atically and they are patient and tireless.
|The Five Types of Ox |
The metal Ox will have strong clashes of will with people, even his superiors, who do not agree with his views. He expresses himself clearly, intensely and resolutely and can never be accused of being vague about what he wants.
|Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Ox |
Among the "twelve animals" the colorful character of the rooster will bring sunshine into an ox's life, and become his best friend. Both of them have the spirit of devotion and so they can get along with each other well.
|The Ox Child |
This child will not be a crybaby. He is unusually tough and can endure hardship. A rugged individualist, he tends to begin speaking late and would rather settle arguments with his fists.
Ox is a symbol of powerful individuals with unyielding and stubborn personalities. Those born under the sign are natural born leaders who typically succeed when given the chance and will also make outstanding parents. They are upright, inspiring, easy-going and conservative.
|Year of the Ox |
We will feel the yoke of responsibility coming down on us this year. No success can be achieved without conscientious efforts. The trials and btribulations the Ox year brings will be mainly on the homefront. It is a good time to settle domestic affairs and put your house in order.
|The Pig/Boar Personality |
People born in the year of the pig are steady and resolute in doing things, and honest and warm-hearted to other people. Competent and persistent as they are, they will spare no efforts in fulfilling any job assigned to them.
|The Pig/Boar Child |
The Boar child will be self- reliant, sociable and easy to deal with. Dependable and determined, he will lead in school activities and acquire prestige by his perseverance and dedication.
|Chinese Zodiac Compatibility - Pig/Boar |
They can live most happily with people born in the year of the rabbit, who are quiet and smart, and those born in the year of the sheep, who are very steady. And they can get along well with those born in the year of the tiger.