Sunday, February 10

What Kind of Animal Are You?

image courtesy of stock.xchng 

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

You must have already heard this greeting this week. If you’re still a little confused what it means, don’t worry, I’ll try to explain things in the simplest way.

Kung Hei Fat Choi” is one of the most common greetings during the Chinese New Year. But it doesn’t really mean “Happy New Year.” It just means “Congratulations and I wish you prosperity” -- or something like that.

Here is the same greeting in different forms:

Mandarin: Kong Xi Fa Tsai

Cantonese: Kung Hei Fat Choi

Hokkien: Kiong Hee Huat Tsai

Hakka: Kung Hii Fatt Choi

Which one to say to your friends depends on which part of China they are from. For example, Cantonese is a dialect most widely spoken in Hongkong, Guangdong and Macau. Hokkien is spoken in Fujian province. And Mandarin is the official language of China.

When Did It Start?

In 2013, Chinese New Year’s Day falls on February 10, today. The official holidays in China are from February 9 to 15, making it the longest Chinese festival.

Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries like Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore etc. And also in other places where there are Chinese communities. For example, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines etc.

It is also known as the “Lunar New Year” because the calendar that it follows is lunisolar (based on the moon and the sun). But the lunisolar calendar isn’t unique to China. It is also used in countries influenced by Han culture, especially Korea and Japan.

On the other hand, the civil calendar that is used throughout most of the world is the Gregorian calendar. In this solar (sun) calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.  

The Chinese Zodiac

Strangely, the word “zodiac” in the original Greek (zōidiakos kuklos) means “animals.” Yet only half of the signs in the Western zodiac are animals:

image courtesy of stock.xchng 

In the Chinese zodiac, on the other hand, all signs are animals.

Note: If you’d like to know more about the Western Zodiac and how it may be used to describe someone’s personality, please clink the links below:

There are a few similarities and many differences between the Chinese and Western zodiacs.

First, although both systems are divided into 12 parts, the Western cycles are monthly while the Chinese are yearly. Second and more importantly, the Western zodiacs are linked to the positions of stars or groups of stars, but the Chinese aren’t.

Still, both Western and Chinese Zodiacs are believed to influence a person’s character and events in his or her life.

The Chinese Zodiac is widely known in several East Asian countries such as China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan.

Signs of the Chinese Zodiac

Here are the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac according to year. You can find the year you were born in and see the personality descriptions for your particular sign.

Your Sign
Your Birth-Year
Noun / Adjective that Describes You

1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032, 2044...
a generous lover, an opportunist; imaginative, charming, quick-tempered, critical
1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033, 2045...
a leader; conservative, methodical, dextrous, chauvinistic, demanding
1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034, 2046...
a deep lover, a rebel; sensitive, emotional, stubborn
1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035, 2047...
fun to be with, affectionate, obliging, pleasant, sentimental, superficial  (sometimes), cautious
1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036, 2048...
a perfectionist; vigorous, enthusiastic, popular, foolhardy, intelligent, gifted
1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037, 2049...
a deep thinker; wise, charming, romantic, intuitive, lazy, stingy, humorous
1918, 1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038, 2050...
hardworking, independent, friendly, selfish, cunning, egotistical  
1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039, 2051...
a worrywart; elegant, artistic, whiny, pessimistic, materialistic
1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040, 2052...
an achiever; witty, charismatic, distrustful, clever, well-liked  
1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041, 2053...
a dreamer, a flashy dresser; shrewd, decisive, frank, boastful, extravagant
1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042, 2054...
a worrywart, a fault-finder; honest, faithful, sharp-tongued
1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043, 2055...
an intellectual; amiable, driven, sincere, tolerant, honest, naïve, materialistic

Quite different from the Western Zodiac though, the characteristics of your animal (by year) are only what other people see or how you show yourself to them.

In the Chinese Zodiac, we also have an “inner animal” (by month), “true animal” (by day), and “secret animal” (by hour).

This means you can in fact have mixed characteristics from different animal signs.  

Year of the Snake

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2013 is the Year of the Snake – or the Year of the Water Snake, to be exact.

This means that as with a snake, timing is everything. A water snake is patient, calm, intelligent and waits for the right opportunity.

Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !


  1. Interesting, then what about a snake who belongs to Rabbit sign? Is it fun to be with? ;-)

  2. I have to say, Tetsuhiro, that my interest in the Chinese zodiac is kind of superficial.

    But I have read somewhere that, speaking of sociability, a Rabbit and Snake sign are quite opposite: The Rabbit person is timid and shy, preferring to entertain at home with only close friends. On the other hand, the Snake person is naturally charming, intelligent, and with a sexy demeanor.

    So, if you are thinking of “popularity” in the traditional sense, having the Snake sign might work well for you. I think a combination of totally different characteristics from different signs means that one sign is more dominant than another. But that’s just my guess.



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