Tuesday 1st February 2022 marks the first day of the Chinese New Year, ushering in the Year of the Tiger.

Chinese New Year always falls on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, which begins the day after the first new moon appears between 21st January and 20th February each year.  Celebrations often last over two weeks in China, and the festivities are marked by Chinese people and others from East Asia all across the globe.

While it is unclear exactly when new year celebrations began in China, it is believed to have originated as early as 2,300BC with Emperors Yao and Shun.  At first the holiday was marked between mid-winter and early spring, however it soon adopted the solar calendar and relied on the moon phase to lock down the date.

2022 is a Year of the Tiger – the second of the 12-year cycle of animals in Chinese astrology.  The Tiger is known as the king of all beasts in China. The zodiac sign Tiger is a symbol of strength, exorcising evils, and braveness. 

What was the animal when I was born?

Here is when each animal last occurred, and when they will come next:

Rat – 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032
Ox – 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033
Tiger – 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034
Rabbit – 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035
Dragon – 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036
Snake – 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037
Horse – 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038
Goat – 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039
Monkey – 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040
Rooster – 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041
Dog – 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042
Pig – 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043

The order of the years of zodiac signs are thought to based on a folk tale known as the Great Race.  The story goes that the animals raced each other to be the first to reach the Jade Emperor, so the years are named in the order in which they finished the race.  The Rat is thought to have won by hitching a ride on the Ox’s back and jumping off at the last minute.  This means the Ox, who had been due to win the race, had to settle for second place.

According to the Chinese zodiac, there are both positive and negative characteristics associated with each of the 12 animals and people born in the year of each animal may have some of those qualities.  Here are the characteristics associated with all twelve signs, according to the Chinese zodiac:

Rat - People born in the year of the Rat are thought to be intelligent, crafty and optimistic.  However, they may also be rude, ruthless or nervous.

Ox - 
Those born in Ox years are meant to be honest, loyal and hard-working.  But they can also be righteous, stubborn and judgemental, according to the zodiac.

Tiger - Tigers’ positive qualities include being kind, adventurous and enthusiastic.  Their negative attributes can include being aggressive, short-tempered and anxious.

Rabbit - People born in the year of the Rabbit are believed to be clever, compassionate and generous.  However their kindness can be seen as weakness by some, and they are also thought to be vain and over-cautious.

Dragon - Dragons are believed to be brave, charismatic and natural leaders and some see the Dragon as the most desirable sign.  However, they can also be inflexible, stubborn and they can lack willpower.

Snake - Those born in the year of the Snake are thought to be wise, sympathetic and intuitive.  Negative characteristics associated with the sign include jealousy as well as being vain and materialistic.

Horse - Qualities thought to be linked with the Horse include honesty and talent with a desire to chase their dreams.  However, they are also meant to be overconfident, impatient and short-tempered.

Goat/Sheep - Goats or Sheep are considered to be resilient, strong and compassionate.  But they can also be indecisive, anxious and disorganised.

Monkey - Those born in the Year of the Monkey are believed to have strengths including being charming, intelligent and confident.  However they are also thought to be impatient, arrogant and self-centred.

Rooster - Roosters are thought to be decisive, capable and honest. But this also means they can be insensitive, controlling and critical of others, some say.

Dog - Qualities associated with those born in the Year of the Dog are being loyal, brave and responsible. But the sign’s negative attributes include being too sensitive, stubborn and cynical.

Pig - Strengths of those born in the Year of the Pig include being intelligent, creative and compassionate. Weaknesses linked with the sign include being gullible, insecure and emotional.

(Credit: Alex Finnis at

February 01, 2022

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