Meaning Behind the Chinese Zodiac Symbols

The Chinese Zodiac symbols represent many things about a person, including personality characteristics, keys to success and clues to potential flaws. Each Chinese Zodiac symbol is tied to either Yin or Yang, the names given to opposing forces of the world. While sometimes yin is considered feminine and yang masculine, you can never have one without the other, and the animal symbols on the opposite ends of the spectrum complement each other.

The 12 Zodiac animals of Chinese astrology represent each year of a 12-year cycle. Within the years that apply to individual animals, each year brings out one of five elements: water, wood, earth, metal and fire. Depending on the year you were born, you can learn more about yourself through understanding the meaning behind your Chinese Zodiac symbol.

Yin Chinese Zodiac Symbols

Ox: The Ox, sometimes water buffalo, is the second animal in the Chinese Zodiac. Hard-working and meticulous, the Ox is also patient and logical. However, with tendencies towards possessiveness, gullibility and intolerance, the Ox requires balance to succeed in life.

Rabbit: Most Rabbits are kind and tender with artistic tendencies. However, those born in the Year of the Rabbit can also be self-indulgent, lazy and even detached if they allow those traits to surface.

Snake: The Snake is linked to the Yin polarity and represents wisdom, grace and creativity in astrological readings. In years associated with the fire element, this symbol has an added depth and passion. Beware of possessiveness, self-doubts and mistrust in Snakes.

Ram: To know a Ram is to see sincerity, sympathy, creativity and often shyness. However, Rams tend to worry and can be pessimists and complainers.

Rooster: The Rooster is a practical and responsible personality, with conservative traits as well as enthusiasm. A word of warning to Roosters; they can be critical, egotistical and even abrasive.

Pig: The twelfth Chinese Zodiac symbol belongs to the Pig, sometimes boar. A Yin symbol, the Pig is honest, loyal and thoughtful. Negative traits include being naïve, self-indulgent and gullible.

Yang Chinese Zodiac Symbols

Rat: The Rat has a negative association in Western lore, but in China it represents prosperity and charm. Interestingly, the Chinese word for Rat is more correctly translated as "rodent." Positive Rat traits include leadership and problem solving. Negative traits are selfishness and a hunger for power.

Tiger: The Tiger is both powerful and respected. As they are known to be brave, confident and energetic, Tigers can also be selfish, arrogant and reckless.

Dragon: The mighty Dragon symbol represents those who are proud, direct and generous. However, without caution, Dragons can develop tyrannical, demanding or even violent personalities.

Horse: The likeable Horse symbol is firmly in the Yang polarity. Intelligence, agility and perceptiveness are hallmarks of a Horse personality. Anxiety, rudeness and stubbornness are also characteristic.

Monkey: The quick-witted Monkey represents the ninth Chinese Zodiac symbol. Innovation, inventiveness and competitiveness are common traits in Monkeys, but so are vanity, selfishness and even recklessness.

Dog: The loyal Dog aligns with Yang and is characterized as having a strong sense of fair play and justice for all. While sociable and affectionate, Dogs may be stubborn, quarrelsome and lazy.

Related Life123 Articles

When most Westerners think of Chinese Zodiac astrology, the Chinese Zodiac animals come to mind, with the Year of the Rat, Year of the Dragon and so forth. However, Chinese astrology goes much deeper than the 12 animal zodiac signs that can be found on the placemats of Chinese restaurants.

The Chinese zodiac is represented by 12 different animal signs, which cycle through 12 years. A person's Chinese zodiac sign is thought to predetermine his characteristics and personality and reveals clues to his successes and potential failures.

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The Chinese Zodiac assigns an animal to each year of a twelve-year cycle. Unlike the Zodiac commonly used in Western astrology, which has a different astrological sign for each month of a single year, the Chinese Zodiac signs have an animal and its related characteristics assigned for each year in a twelve-year cycle on the Chinese calendar.

The history of Chinese Zodiac signs is quite different from the occidental Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac history is quite different from the occidental Zodiac. Records show that the Chinese calendar emerged around 2637 BCE in 60-year cycles, divided into five 12-year sub cycles. Certain animal symbols were assigned to each of the 12 years. How those animals were selected is a popular Chinese Zodiac legend.

The Chinese zodiac animals are representative of the people born in each Chinese year. The 12 animals have different personality traits, likes and dislikes, which all people born under the same year share. Each animal sign rules for a year, and they follow in a specific order, appearing every 12 years.

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