What are the Chinese New Year Animals?

Celebrating the year of the Rooster.
Celebrating the year of the Rooster.

The Chinese people have distinct cultural beliefs and traditions unlike any other in the world. One of the cultural beliefs of the Chinese people is the Chinese zodiac which is a periodic timeline which occurs after every 12 years where each year has a specific animal representing it. The zodiac is based on Chinese astrology. These animals include the tiger, the rat, the rabbit, the sheep, the dragon, the pig, the ox, the horse, the dog, the monkey, the snake, and the rooster. The beginning of a New Year in China is marked with elaborate celebrations as people usher in the start of a New Year animal.

The Chinese New Year Animals


The rat is one of the 12 animals found on the Chinese zodiac. According to the Chinese zodiac, the years which are defined as “the year of the rat” include 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, and 2008. People born during the year of the rat are believed to share some characteristics or personalities. Some of the positive traits believed to be shared by individuals born in the year of the rat are that they are artistic, sociable, industrious, charming, and intelligent while negative traits seen in people born in the year of the rat include cunning, scheming and manipulative.


The ox is another New Year animal found on the Chinese zodiac and is the second animal after the rat. The ox can also be identified as the cow or the water buffalo. The year of the ox is observed after the completion of the year of the rat and the years of the ox in the past include 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, and 2009. The next expected year of the ox being 2021. People born during the year of the ox are believed to have common personality characteristics which include strength, thoroughness, determination, loyalty, and reliability.


The tiger is the third animal of the Chinese zodiac and is celebrated during the New Year. According to the 12-year Chinese zodiac, the year of the tiger is observed after the conclusion of the year of the ox. The years in the past which have been established as the years of the tiger include 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, and 2010. People born during the year of the tiger are believed to have similar personality characteristics which include courage, enthusiasm, confidence, charisma, and leadership.

New Year Taboos

During the Chinese New Year celebrations, there are several things that are considered as taboo that people are discouraged from doing. The slaughtering of animals is discouraged during the New Year celebrations as spilling of blood is considered a bad omen which can lead to a misfortune during the year. Women are discouraged from leaving their own homes to go visiting acquaintances during the New Year, and this is especially emphasized on married women. During the celebrations, the wearing of monochrome outfits is discouraged as any black-and-white attire is associated with mourning. A rather controversial one involves taking of medicine which is discouraged during the New Year as this is believed to bring disease on any one during the year.

The Chinese New Year Animals

1Rat2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
2Ox2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
3Tiger2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
4Rabbit2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
5Dragon2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
6Snake2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
7Horse2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
8Sheep2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
9Monkey2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
10Rooster2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
11Dog2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
12Pig2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

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