Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac

A Brief Introduction to Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac consists of a 12-year cycle, each year named after a different animal that imparts distinct characteristics to its year. Many Chinese believe that the year of a person's birth is the primary factor in determining that person's personality traits, physical and mental attributes and degree of success and happiness throughout their lifetime.

The Chinese people place a great deal of faith in the Yin-yang principle. This is especially noticeable during the Chinese New Year. According to legend, a mythical monarch named Yao was patron to two astronomers. These gentlemen constructed a fantastic system of 10 heavenly stems and 12 mundane branches. The latter correspond to 12 animals with two symbolic functions. Each animal is connected to one year in a twelve-year cycle. Each animal also represents two hours, or one-twelfth of every day. A person's future is partially determined by this intriguing system.

The animal astrological chart must be understood against the background of the Chinese Yin-yang principle. It is a concept of symbolic dualism. Everything - physical and spiritual - has an opposite and corresponding condition. In other words, every Yin has its Yang, and every Yang has its Yin. Yang is one principle: male, light, heaven and sun. Yin is the counterpart: female, shade, earth and moon. Yin and Yang have their designated hours of the day, an important factor in Chinese astrology.

Revised June 27, 2011