THE CHINESE LUNAR CALENDAR

INFORMATION:

  • THE LUNAR CALENDAR
  • YEAR OF THE SNAKE
  • YEAR OF THE HORSE
  • YEAR OF THE SHEEP/GOAT
  • YEAR OF THE MONKEY
  • YEAR OF THE ROOSTER
  • YEAR OF THE DOG
  • YEAR OF THE PIG/BOAR
  • YEAR OF THE RAT/MOUSE
  • YEAR OF THE OX/COW
  • YEAR OF THE TIGER
  • YEAR OF THE RABBIT
  • YEAR OF THE DRAGON

The Chinese lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon.

Cycles in the Calendar:

The Chinese calendar counts years in cycles of sixty years. Each year has a label consisting of two parts. The first component is the celestial stem being one of the five elements. The second component is the terrestrial branch being one of the twelve animal (zodiac) signs. The equation becomes five multiplied by twelve equaling sixty, or one cycle in the Chinese calendar.

The Five Elements:

There are five universal elements in Chinese philosophy: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The elements were associated with five planets in ancient times, Jupiter=Wood, Mars=Fire, Saturn=Earth, Venus=Metal, Mercury=Water. Astrologers read the planets' positioning to understand what influences would be dominant in a person's life.The elements are also associated with colors: Green (Wood), Red (Fire), Brown (Earth), White (Metal) and Black (Water). The elements are further associated with the animal zodiac signs. Every twelve-year sequence, the animal takes on one of the elements, until all five have been used.

Legend of the Twelve Zodiac (Animal) Signs:

There are various stories about the origins of the twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac. Some use the Chinese gods, some use Buddha, but the essence of the story is that a higher being called all animals to a meeting and the first to arrive would be chosen. Before all this, the rat and the cat were good friends. But on the morning of the meeting, the rat, in her excitement, forgot to wake up the cat and through various means of trickery (or cleverness, as this rat interprets) got to the gods first and was thus chosen first. The cat slept in and missed the gathering, and since then, the two have been enemies.
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CNY snake

 

Characteristics: Vain, Selfish, Sympathetic, Charitable, Romantic, Charming, Stingy, Self-reliant
Compatible With: Roosters, Oxen
Avoid: Boars
Good Career Choices: Teacher, Philosopher, Writer, Psychiatrist
Famous Snakes: Charles Darwin, Elizabeth I, Picasso, Anne Frank, Mahatma Gandhi, Carole King, Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allen Poe

 

  Chinese New Year Colour & Element
1905 February,  4 1905 Green Wood Snake
1917 January, 23 1929 Red Fire Snake
1929 February, 10 1929 Brown Earth Snake
1941 January, 27 1941 White Metal Snake
1953 February, 14 1953 Black Water Snake
1965 February, 2 1965 Green Wood Snake
1977 February, 18 1977 Red Fire Snake
1989 February,  6 1989 Brown Earth Snake
2001 January, 24 2001 White Metal Snake
2013 February, 10 2013 Black Water Snake
CNY horseCharacteristics: Imaginative, Charming, Generous to loved ones, Hard-working, Quick-tempered, Critical
Compatible With: Dragons, Monkeys
Avoid: Horses
Good Career Choices: Writer, Critic, Publicist
Famous Horses:Charlotte Bronte, Truman Capote, Catherine I, Wolfgang Mozart, William Shakespeare, George Washington, Plato, Peter Tchaikovsky.

Chinese New  Year Colour & Element
  1906 January, 25 1906 Red Fire Horse
  1918 February, 11 1918 Brown Earth Horse
  1930 January, 30 1930 White Metal Horse
  1942 February, 15 1942 Black Water Horse
  1954 February,  3 1954 Green Wood Horse
  1966 January, 21 1966 Red Fire Horse
  1978 February,  7 1978 Brown Earth Horse
  1990 January, 27 1990 White Metal Horse
  2002 February, 12 2002 Black Water Horse
  2014 January, 31 2014 Green Wood Horse

 

Characteristics: Wise, Gentle, Compassionate, Charming, Elegant, Slightly materialistic, Quick to complain, Shy, Pessimistic
Compatible With: Rabbits, Dogs
Avoid: Oxen
Good Career Choices: Actor, Gardener, Beachcomber
Famous Sheep: Mark Twain, Rudolph Valentino, Barbara Walters, Orville Wright

Chinese New Year Colour & Element
  1906 February, 13 1907 Red Fire Sheep
  1919 February,  1 1919 Brown Earth Sheep
  1931 February, 17 1931 White Metal Sheep
  1943 February,  5 1943 Black Water Sheep
  1955 January, 24 1955 Green Wood Sheep
  1967 February,  9 1967 Red Fire Sheep
  1979 January, 28 1979 Brown Earth Sheep
  1991 February, 15 1991 White Metal Sheep
  2003 February,  1 2003 Black Water Sheep
  2015 February, 19 2015 Green Wood Sheep

 

Characteristics: Intelligent, Clever, Good memory, Popular, Judgemental
Compatible With: Dragons, Rats
Avoid: Tigers
Good Career Choices: Anything! The monkey will almost always be successful.
Famous Monkeys: Julius Caesar, Bette Davis, Annie Oakley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betsy Ross, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, Harry S. Truman, Leonardo da Vinci, Alice Walker

Chinese New Year Colour & Element
  1908 February,  2 1908 Brown Earth Monkey
  1920 February, 20 1920 White Metal Monkey
  1932 February,  6 1932 Black Water Monkey
  1944 January, 25 1944 Green Wood Monkey
  1956 February, 12 1956 Red Fire Monkey
  1968 January, 30 1968 Brown Earth Monkey
  1980 February, 16 1980 White Metal Monkey
  1992 February,  4 1992 Black Water Monkey
  2004 January, 22 2004 Green Wood Monkey
  2016 February,  8 2016 Red Fire Monkey

 

Characteristics: Hard-working, Shrewd, Bold, Boastful, Correct
Compatible With: Snake, Oxen
Avoid: Rabbits
Good Career Choices: Restaurant owner, Publicist, World traveler
Famous Roosters: Confucius, Catherine the Great, Amelia Earhart, Rudyard Kipling, Groucho Marx

Chinese New Year Colour & Element
  1909 January, 22 1909 Brown Earth Rooster
  1921 February,  8 1921 White Metal Rooster
  1933 January, 26 1933 Black Water Rooster
  1945 February, 13 1945 Green Wood Rooster
  1957 January, 31 1957 Red Fire Rooster
  1969 February, 17 1969 Brown Earth Rooster
  1981 February,  5 1981 White Metal Rooster
  1993 January, 23 1993 Black Water Rooster
  2005 February,  9 2005 Green Wood Rooster
  2017 January, 28 2017 Red Fire Rooster

 

Characteristics: Honest, Faithful, Loyal, Trust-worthy, Worrisome, Sharp-tongued
Compatible With: Horses, Tigers
Avoid: Dragons
Good Career Choices: Leader, Secret agent, Teacher, Business people
Famous Dogs: Cher, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Dorothea Dix, Benjamin Franklin, George Gershwin, Jane Goodall, Golda Meir, Socrates

Chinese New Year Colour & Element
  1910 February, 10 1910 White Metal Dog
  1922 January, 28 1922 Black Water Dog
  1934 February, 14 1934 Green Wood Dog
  1946 February,  2 1946 Red Fire Dog
  1958 February, 18 1958 Brown Earth Dog
  1970 February,  6 1970 White Metal Dog
  1982 January, 25 1982 Black Water Dog
  1994 February, 10 1994 Green Wood Dog
  2006 January, 29 2006 Red Fire Dog
  2018 February, 16 2018 Brown Earth Dog

 

Characteristics: Honest, Faithful, Loyal, Trust-worthy, Worrisome, Sharp-tongued
Compatible With: Sheep, Rabbits
Avoid: Other Boars
Good Career Choices: Entertainers, Lawyers
Famous Boars (Pigs): Lucille Ball, Ernest Hemingway, Mahalia Jackson, Albert Schweitzer, Julie Andrews, Ronald Reagan

Chinese New Year Colour & Element
  1911 January, 30 1911 White Metal Pig
  1923 February, 16 1923 Black Water Pig
  1935 February,  4 1935 Green Wood Pig
  1947 January, 22 1947 Red Fire Pig
  1959 February,  8 1959 Brown Earth Pig
  1971 January, 27 1971 White Metal Pig
  1983 February, 13 1983 Black Water Pig
  1995 January, 31 1995 Green Wood Pig
  2007 February, 18 2007 Red Fire Pig
  2019 February,  5 2019 Brown Earth Pig

 

CNY mouseCharacteristics: Imaginative, Charming, Generous to loved ones, Hard-working, Quick-tempered, Critical
Compatible With: Dragons, Monkeys
Avoid: Horses
Good Career Choices: Writer, Critic, Publicist
Famous Rats:Charlotte Bronte, Truman Capote, Catherine I, Wolfgang Mozart, William Shakespeare, George Washington, Plato, Peter Tchaikovsky.

Chinese New  Year Colour & Element
  1900 January, 31 1900 White Metal Rat
  1912 February, 18 1912 Black Water Rat
  1924 February,  5 1924 Green Wood Rat
  1936 January, 24 1936 Red Fire Rat
  1948 February, 10 1948 Brown Earth Rat
  1960 January, 28 1960 White Metal Rat
  1972 February, 15 1972 Black Water Rat
  1984 February,  2 1984 Green Wood Rat
  1996 February, 19 1996 Red Fire Rat
  2008 February,  7 2008 Brown Earth Rat
  2020 January, 25 2020 White Metal Rat
CNY ox

 

  • Characteristics: Alert, Strong Leadership, Demanding, Stubborn, Methodical, Dislike failure, Make great parents
  • Compatible With: Snakes, Roosters
  • Avoid: Sheep
  • Good Career Choices: Surgeon, General, Hair Stylist
  • Famous Oxen: Walt Disney, Clark Gable, Richard Nixon, Johann Sebastian Bach, Charles Chaplin, Vincent Van Gogh

 

Chinese New  Year Colour & Element
  1901 February, 19 1901 White Metal Cow
  1913 February,  6 1913 Black Water Cow
  1925 January, 24 1925 Green Wood Cow
  1937 February, 11 1937 Red Fire Cow
  1949 January, 29 1949 Brown Earth Cow
  1961 February, 15 1961 White Metal Cow
  1973 February,  3 1973 Black Water Cow
  1985 February, 20 1985 Green Wood Cow
  2009 January, 26 2009 Brown Earth Cow
CNY tiger

  • Characteristics: Short-tempered, Suspicious, Adventurous, Senstive, Emotional, Risk-taking
  • Compatible With: Horses, Dogs
  • Avoid: Monkeys
  • Good Career Choices: Boss, Explorer, Race-car driver
  • Famous Tigers: Sun Yat Sen, Queen Elizabeth II, Emily Dickinson, Isadora Duncan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Marilyn Monroe, Marco Polo, Beatrix Potter, Karl Marx, Ludwig van Beethoven
Chinese New  Year Colour & Element
1902 February,  8 1902 Black Water Tiger
1914 January, 26 1914 Green Wood Tiger
1926 February, 13 1926 Red Fire Tiger
1938 January, 31 1938 Brown Earth Tiger
1950 February, 17 1950 White Metal Tiger
1962 February,  5 1962 Black Water Tiger
1974 January, 23 1974 Green Wood Tiger
1986 February,  9 1986 Red Fire Tiger
1998 January, 28 1998 Brown Earth Tiger
2010 February, 14 2010 White Metal Tiger
CNY rabbit

 

  • Characteristics: Articulate, Ambitious, Controlled, Affectionate, Cooperative, Friendly, Overly sentimental
  • Compatible With: Sheep, Boars
  • Avoid: Roosters
  • Good Career Choices: Lawyer, Diplomat, Actor
  • Famous Rabbits: Sun Yat Sen, Queen Elizabeth II, Emily Dickinson, Isadora Duncan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Marilyn Monroe, Marco Polo, Beatrix Potter, Karl Marx, Ludwig van Beethoven
Chinese New Year Colour & Element
1903 January, 29 1903 Black Water Rabbit
1915 February, 14 1915 Green Wood Rabbit
1927 February,  2 1927 Red Fire Rabbit
1939 February, 19 1939 Brown Earth Rabbit
1951 February, 6 1951 White Metal Rabbit
1963 January, 25 1963 Black Water Rabbit
1975 February, 11 1975 Green Wood Rabbit
1987 January, 29 1987 Red Fire Rabbit
1999 February, 16 1999 Brown Earth Rabbit
2011 February,  3 2011 White Metal Rabbit
CNY dragonCharacteristics: Healthy, Energetic, Short-tempered, Stubborn, Honest, Sensitive, Trust-worthy, Gregarious, Popular, Intelligent
Compatible With: Monkeys, Rats
Avoid: Dogs
Good Career Choices: Priest, Artist, Politician
Famous Dragons: Susan B. Anthony, Joan of Arc, Pearl Buck, Sigmund Freud, Theodore Seuss Geisel, John Lennon, Florence Nightingale, Mae West

  Chinese New Year Colour & Element
1904 February, 16 1904 Green Wood Dragon
1916 February,  4 1916 Red Fire Dragon
1928 January, 23 1928 Brown Earth Dragon
1940 February,  8 1940 White Metal Dragon
1952 January, 27 1952 Black Water Dragon
1964 February, 13 1964 Green Wood Dragon
1976 January, 31 1976 Red Fire Dragon
1988 February, 17 1988 Brown Earth Dragon
2000 February, 5 2000 White Metal Dragon
2012 January, 23 2012 Black Water Dragon

 

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