Chinese New Year: What Chinese zodiac signs mean and more

Today is the first day of Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year. Chinese zodiac signs are different than the popular ones and are represented by animals

Shruti PanditUpdated: Saturday, January 21, 2023, 04:05 PM IST
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Chinese New Year follows the Lunar cycle and therefore it is also called the Lunar New Year. It, generally, falls on the second New Moon after the winter solstice, as the lunar month containing the winter solistice is defined as the 11th month of the Chinese calendar. This year it begins today, 22 January 2023.

Legend goes that one of the Chinese emperors of olden days (Jade or Yellow, the supreme immortal) ordered a race of animals to the Heavenly Gates. The rat cheated, he sat on the shoulder of the ox, who was obviously the front runner. However, he jumped off the ox just before the finishing line and won by the nose! Therefore, Rat is the first sign and Ox the second. Since the pig stopped for a snack and a nap, he turned up last at the finishing line and therefore Pig is the last sign in Chinese Zodiac.

Usually, the Chinese signs are determined by the year you are born in. It’s the year that defines the horoscopes accordingly. However, the signs are distributed as per month as well, though that’s not so common a benchmark.

Apart from the animals that represent the 12 signs, the elements of nature influence the Chinese Astrology as well. These elements define the nuances of the signs and their impacts. If you notice, each year there is an element attached to the year. For example, this is the Year of Water Rabbit. The properties of the elements and the nature of the animal influences the happenings of the year as per the belief.

Normally, the Chinese sign is defined by the year. However, they do have a monthly cycle as well. It starts middle of December, as per western calendar, and ends early December.

Find the Element of Your Year of Birth

To find your Chinese zodiac element, it's determined by your birth year, particularly the last digit.

Metal: Birth years ending in 0 or 1

Water: Birth years ending in 2 or 3

Wood: Birth years ending in 4 or 5

Fire: Birth years ending in 6 or 7

Earth: Birth years ending in 8 or 9

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