The animal designations of the Chinese zodiac follow a 12-year cycle and are always used in the same sequence.
They are part of a larger 60-year rotating name cycle of years used by the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, which is consulted for special events (such as Chinese New Year), astrology, and Moon phases. This 60-year cycle is called the stem-branch, or sexagenary, cycle. Each year's name contains two parts: the celestial stem and the terrestrial branch. The celestial stem is taken from a rotating list of 10 terms concerning the yin/yang forms of five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water): jia, yi, bing, ding, wu, ji, geng, xin, ren, and gui. The terrestrial branch is taken from a rotating list of the 12 animal names of the Chinese zodiac: zi (rat), chou (ox), yin (tiger), mao (rabbit), chen (dragon), si (snake), wu (horse), wei (sheep), shen (monkey), you (rooster), xu (dog), and hai (boar/pig). For example, the first year in the 60-year cycle is jia-zi (Year of the Rat); jia is the celestial stem, and zi (rat) is the terrestrial branch. The next year is yi-chou (Year of the Ox), etc. The 11th year is jia-xu, and so on, until a new cycle starts over with jia-zi.
The Chinese lunisolar year has 12 months of 353 to 355 days, or during a leap year, 13 months of 383 to 385 days. The Chinese year usually begins several weeks into the western 365-day year, so the animal designation changes at that time, not on January 1 of the Gregorian calendar.
Below are the 12 animal designations of the Chinese zodiac:
Ambitious and sincere, you can be generous with your money. Compatible with the dragon and the monkey. Your opposite is the horse.
1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Ox or Buffalo (Chou)
A leader, you are bright, patient, and cheerful. Compatible with the snake and the rooster. Your opposite is the sheep.
1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
Forthright and sensitive, you possess great courage. You have the ability to be a strong leader capable of great sympathy. Compatible with the horse and the dog. Your opposite is the monkey.
1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Rabbit or Hare (Mao)
Talented and affectionate, you are a seeker of tranquility. Compatible with the sheep and the pig. Your opposite is the rooster.
1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Robust and passionate, your life is filled with complexity. Compatible with the monkey and the rat. Your opposite is the dog.
1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Strong-willed and intense, you display great wisdom. Compatible with the rooster and the ox. Your opposite is the pig.
1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Physically attractive and popular, you like the company of others. Compatible with the tiger and the dog. Your opposite is the rat.
1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Sheep or Goat (Wei)
Aesthetic and stylish, you enjoy being a private person. Compatible with the pig and the rabbit. Your opposite is the ox.
1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Persuasive, skillful, and intelligent, you strive to excel. Compatible with the dragon and the rat. Your opposite is the tiger.
1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Rooster or Cock (You)
Seeking wisdom and truth, you have a pioneering spirit. Compatible with the snake and the ox. Your opposite is the rabbit.
1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Generous and loyal, you have the ability to work well with others. Compatible with the horse and the tiger. Your opposite is the dragon.
1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Pig or Boar (Hai)
Gallant and noble, your friends will remain at your side. Compatible with the rabbit and the sheep. Your opposite is the snake.
1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019