Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: The Shēngxiào (Chinese Zodiac)


Asian Heritage Month Blog Event:

The Shēngxiào (Chinese Zodiac)

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

The Shēngxiào (生肖), better known as the Chinese Zodiac, relates each year to an animal and its attributes, according to a 12-year cycle.

The main difference between the Chinese zodiac and the Western zodiac is that the cycle corresponds to years rather than months,  is represented by 12 animals, and is not associated with constellations.

In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs.

In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month called inner animals, by day called true animals and hours called secret animals.

Here are the animal signs with their corresponding traits:


 鼠 (子) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water, Earth):



forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, intellectual, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, and shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, envious, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, and scheming.



 牛 (丑) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water):


dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, and tenacious. Can be stubborn, dogmatic, hot-tempered, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, and demanding.



 虎 (寅) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood):


Unpredictable, rebellious, colourful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, and generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, and moody.



 兔 (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood):


Gracious, a good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amicable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, and flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, and stubborn.



 龙 (辰) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood):


Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, empathetic, generous, and loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, rebellious, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, and brash.



 蛇 (巳) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire):


A deep thinker, wise, mystic, mysterious, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, intellectual, responsible, calm, compassionate, strong, constant, and purposeful. Can be a loner, a bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, narcissistic, and cold.



 馬 / 马 (午) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire):


Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, and open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, rebellious, and stubborn.



 (aka Ram or Sheep) – 羊 (未) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire):


Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, observant, artistic, intellectual, ingenious, innovative, creative, mothering, peaceful, and generous. Can be indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, sensitive, shy, and weak-willed.



 猴 (申) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal):


Inventor, motivator, improviser, intelligent, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, loyal, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, and factual . Can be egotistical, vain, arrogant, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, exclusive, suspicious, and stubborn.



 雞 / 鸡 (酉) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal):


Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, and responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, proud, opinionated, and gives into empty bravado.



 狗 / 犬 (戌) (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal):


Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, and easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, a worrier, stubborn, and quarrelsome.



 豬 / 猪 (亥) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water):


Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, and intelligent. Can be naïve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, and materialistic.


Rather than put an entire chart in this post, you can check for your Chinese zodiac animal at the Chinese Zodiac Calculator online here.



Every Chinese Sign is composed by five elements. The relation between these five elements is: interpolation, interaction, over-action, and counter-action, which are believed to be the “common law of the motions and changes of the creatures in the universe.”

Different people born under each animal sign have different personalities. It is possible to check compatibility with other signs as a guide for love and marriage.

This Chinese Zodiac Compatibility Grid is designed to help people find their Chinese Zodiac compatibilities:



Best Match


No Match

Rat Dragon, Monkey, Ox Rat, Tiger, Snake, Dog, Pig Goat, Horse, Rabbit, Rooster
Ox Rat, Snake, Rooster Ox, Tiger, Monkey, Pig Dragon, Horse, Goat, Dog, Rabbit
Tiger Horse, Dog Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Goat, Rooster, Pig Snake, Monkey
Rabbit Goat, Dog, Pig Tiger, Rabbit, Snake, Monkey Rat, Ox, Dragon, Rooster, Horse
Dragon Rat, Monkey, Rooster Tiger, Snake, Horse, Goat, Pig Dog, Ox, Dragon, Rabbit
Snake Ox, Rooster Rat, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Dog Tiger, Monkey, Pig
Horse Tiger, Goat, Dog Dragon, Snake, Monkey, Rooster, Pig Rat, Ox, Rabbit, Horse
Goat Rabbit, Horse, Pig Tiger, Dragon, Snake, Goat, Monkey, Rooster Rat, Ox, Dog
Monkey Rat, Dragon Ox, Rabbit, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Tiger, Snake, Pig
Rooster Ox, Dragon, Snake Rat, Tiger, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Pig Rabbit, Rooster, Dog
Dog Tiger, Rabbit, Horse Rat, Snake, Monkey, Dog, Pig Ox, Dragon, Goat, Rooster
Pig Goat, Rabbit Rat, Ox, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Rooster, Dog Snake, Pig, Monkey


I am the Tiger…


…and compatible with the horse and the dog.

Which Chinese zodiac sign are you?


To read more posts for my Asian Heritage Month Blog Event, please visit here.

4 thoughts on “Asian Heritage Month Blog Event: The Shēngxiào (Chinese Zodiac)”

  1. Woah, I am surprised to learn the chinese zodiac is more complicated than I though..and I am Chinese. *slightly embarassed*

    I am a rooster by birth year..but after reading the description, I don’t know…I am definitely not “organized” or a “perfectionist”…though I wish I was.

    1. Hi Lilian! Thanks for dropping by. It’s interesting isn’t it? It’s a lot more complicated than I posted online, but I’m no expert. I am curious though, what my “secret zodiac sign” is…Perhaps the other signs influencing your personality are more dominant! (Hope your enjoying The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay!) 😀

  2. Usually I don’t research post on blogs, nevertheless I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite fantastic post.

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