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The Real (and Not So Real) Animals of Chinese New Year

Jan 23 2012 - 4:00am

Happy New Year! On the lunar calendar, today is the first day of the year 4709 and the start of Spring. The day also signifies the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, one of 12 animal symbols designated to each consecutive year. It's said that each person assumes characteristics of the animal from the year in which he or she is born, so we've rounded up the major traits of each Chinese zodiac creature. Maybe you'll learn a little more about yourself on this day of reflection and celebration!

Source: Thinkstock [1]

Dragon (1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)

Dragons are ambitious, creative, vivacious, and passionate. But keep an extinguisher handy: these fire-breathing beasts also can be short-tempered and arrogant and often work best alone.

Source: Thinkstock [2]

Snake (1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)

Snakes are intelligent, graceful, and analytical and enjoy the finer things in life. But when they bare their fangs, they can also be manipulative, easily stressed, and insecure.

Source: Flickr User goingslo [3]

Horse (1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014)

Horses are strong, energetic, and outgoing and love being the center of attention. But when they switch into bucking-bronco mode, they also can be self-centered and throw tantrums when they don't get their way.

Source: Flickr User J.harwood [4]

Goat (1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)

Goats are calm, dependable, smart, and caring. These little billies live a quiet existence and often seem absorbed in their own thoughts.

Source: Flickr User tintedglass [5]

Monkey (1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016)

Monkeys are curious, mischievous, and clever. But keep an eye on them as they also tend to be pranksters and sometimes hurt feelings along the way.

Source: Flickr User Dane Low [6]

Rooster (1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)

Roosters are confident, motivated, loyal, and social. But when they puff their chests, they are also pompous and sometimes blunt to the point of being rude.

Source: Flickr User bagsgroove [7]

Dog (1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018)

Dogs are loyal, kind, and determined and are great listeners. These pups can also be temperamental, stubborn, and nosy.

Source: Flickr User Klearchos Kapoutsis [8]

Pig (1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019)

Pigs are generous, compassionate, diligent, and entertaining. But because pigs are so giving, others can easily take advantage of them.

Source: Flickr User Meneer Zjeroen [9]

Rat (1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020)

Rats are witty, imaginative, observant, and charming. But when these rodents don't get the cheese, they can also be tense, aggressive, and nervous.

Source: Flickr User La Tarte au Citron [10]

Ox (1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021)

Oxen are strong, determined, hardworking, and dependable. These beasts of burden are not very social, and they don't trust others to make decisions for them.

Source: Flickr User Clicksy [11]

Tiger (1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022)

Tigers are brave, competitive, charming, and sharp. But when the claws come out, they can also be unpredictable, stubborn, and sometimes selfish.

Source: Flickr User tom@hk | 湯米tomhk [12]

Rabbit (1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023)

Rabbits are friendly, creative, compassionate, and conservative. Overly fuzzy and sensitive, they will hop away from the first sign of confrontation.

Source: Flickr User Robobobobo [13]

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