Figure Out Your Chinese Zodiac Sign—and What It May Reveal About You

Even after January 1st has passed, you can celebrate another fresh start: Lunar New Year. Find out which Chinese zodiac animal—and all its attributes—was assigned to your birth year.

The Lunar New Year is the most highly anticipated holiday in many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, and Korea. Also known as the Spring Festival in China, it's a celebration of family as well as the future, based on the cycle of the moon. Each Lunar New Year is assigned one of 12 zodiac animals, such as the rat, rabbit, or dog, and Chinese folklore links every creature with its own personality traits, which are then ascribed to anyone born in that year. On February 3, 2022, we rang in the Year of the Tiger, a sign identified with ambition and adventure. What might your animal reveal? Learn how to find your Chinese zodiac sign—and what it could say about your personality.

Lanterns, decorations and ornaments for the Chinese New Year celebration
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When Is Lunar New Year?

The exact date of the Lunar New Year varies each year, landing sometime between January 21 and February 20, depending on when the first full moon occurs on the lunar calendar. Celebrated for thousands of years as a new beginning, this holiday is infused with an "out with the old, in with the new" spirit. To this day, the weeks around Lunar New Year remain full of religious, community, and family celebrations all over the world.

Popular Lunar New Year Traditions

A few weeks before the first full moon of the year, families clean their homes from top to bottom. The goal? Scrubbing away any lingering bad luck. If anyone owes debts, they're supposed to repay them, and if any friendships are estranged, the period preceding the Lunar New Year is said to be the time to rekindle them.

On the eve of the Lunar New Year, families gather to share the biggest meal of the year, traditionally leaving an empty place setting for those who couldn't make it. Common dishes include whole fish, whole chicken, dumplings, noodles, glutinous rice cake, and fruit, each with celebratory significance, often related to luck.

The following day, relatives exchange money-filled red envelopes—the bright color symbolizes luck, while the money represents well wishes for the coming year. (Children are often the recipients of these monetary gifts.) Fireworks and biodegradable paper lanterns fill the skies of some towns. A feast of foods thought to bring good fortune, including date cake, peanuts, sticky rice balls, lotus seeds, and vegetable and raw fish salad, reminds celebrants to look hopefully ahead.

Chinese Zodiac Animals By Year

Unlike astrological zodiac signs, which categorize people based on birth month, Chinese zodiac signs relate to lunar birth year. Figure out which spirit animal belongs to your year—and discover what it may say about your strengths.

Rat

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, 1900

Much like their symbolic animal, those born under the rat sign can be cagey, but also relentlessly cheery, making them sharp in business and adaptable in large groups. They tend to be a bit picky, while excelling at creative pursuits, such as writing and art.

Ox

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913, 1901

Those born during the Year of the Ox stand out as natural leaders, devoting themselves to who (and what) they believe in. Since they often have strong views of right and wrong and value honesty, those with the ox sign may seem stubborn—a combination that bodes well for careers in law and consulting.

Tiger

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914, 1902

Tiger signs are known for their trustfulness. Brave, smart, and accepting, they're solid leaders, willing to fight for the underdogs. Although those born during tiger years can have a short fuse, their traits are well-suited to careers in politics and management.

Rabbit

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915, 1903

Kind, sensitive, and thoughtful, rabbit signs aim to problem-solve and minimize difficulty, while also doing everything they can to avoid conflict. They like to reason and think things through, so rabbits can come off as unsure—but they're just trying to find the best ways to live their best lives. Rabbit signs do well as writers and in business and educational pursuits.

Dragon

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916, 1904

Like their fiery mascot, folks from dragon years want to be in control and exhibit a confident, decisive spirit. They have ample amounts of energy, which rubs off on—and inspires—those around them. Because they don't like being told what to do, dragon signs stand out in more individually-focused careers, like finance and architecture.

Snake

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917, 1905

Shrewd and intuitive, snake signs like to suss out the truth (and can therefore seem a bit suspicious). Underlying their personality is an enviable level of savvy and drive, and snakes thrive on working alone, making them stellar artists and counselors. They steer clear of small talk and slide past the little speed bumps of life.

Horse

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906

Optimistic, intuitive, and active, horses are great at putting on a show. That means they're well-suited to work as performers, entrepreneurs, or explorers, especially when paired with their propensity for pivoting when things don't feel right. Rather than giving up, horses rely on their gut, heart, and brain to lead them in the next correct direction.

Sheep

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907

Like their zodiac animal, sheep signs can seem timid and often prefer to be followers. This stems from their natural tendency to be gentle, considerate, and caring—attributes that bode well for careers involving teaching, creating, and perfecting (such as editing or cleaning).

Monkey

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908

Monkey signs are known for their novel ideas and intelligence. When stressed, they can show a temper and may struggle to think of others. But their competitive nature and flexibility equip them well for roles in business, sports, and trading.

Rooster

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921, 1909

Bright as a sunrise, rooster signs are independent, ambitious, and almost always the best dressed in a crowd. Under pressure, they can be impatient, but at their core, roosters are warm and confident. These qualities often lead them to careers as guides, speakers, and performers.

Dog

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910

Loyal and sharp, those born during dog years are like German Shepherds in human form. They offer a unique blend of courage and emotion, making them well-suited for work in medicine or the military.

Pig

Chinese zodiac sign birth years: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923, 1911

Think of Wilbur in Charlotte's Web: Pig signs are gentle and grace everyone around them with their generous, happy hearts. Among the most trusting of the Chinese zodiac signs, those born in pig years are all about honesty. They may seem slow-moving at times, but they're always enthusiastic, even when given tasks others might find uninteresting. They make excellent teachers and civil servants.

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