Your Chinese Zodiac Sign Says a Lot About You

Sorry, Chinese zodiac *signs*. You know you have four, right?

The Lowdown

Maybe you've heard that 2017 is the year of the rooster, but what does that mean, exactly? Well, the Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with a different animal representing each year. According to Chinese folklore, the order of the zodiac was determined by an interspecies race; first place went to a rat who hitched a ride on an ox's back and then jumped ahead to the finish line at the last second (rude), while a pig who stopped mid-competition to look for snacks came in last. (Pig, we respect you for finishing that race on your own terms.)

It's believed that the animal ruling your birth year has a profound influence on the way you present yourself to others. But that's just the first layer of the Chinese astrology system; there are also animals assigned to your birth month ("inner animals," or who you think you are), day ("true animals," or who you really are), and hour ("secret animals," or who you wish you could be). Together, this little menagerie makes up your birth chart.

So, Who Are You Then?

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Years: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960

Months: December 7–January 5

Day: Thursday

Hours: 11 p.m.–12:59 a.m.

Those born under the sign of the rat are charming workaholics with quick minds, big ambitions, and a materialistic streak. Bring a rat to a crowded party and he'll work the room; take him to the beach and tell him to relax and he'll start to panic. 

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Years: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961

Months: January 6–February 3

Day: Saturday

Hours: 1 a.m.–2:59 a.m.

Steady and persistent, oxen don't rush their work or their words. Those born under this sign tend to hold pretty traditional views, and, like their zodiac animal, are stubborn to a fault; don't even try to win an argument with an ox. 

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Years: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962

Months: February 4–March 5

Day: Saturday

Hours: 3 a.m.–4:59 a.m.

Natural leaders, independent thinkers, and idealistic humanitarians, tigers are also shameless self-promoters. Meaning, if your Instagram feed is a mix of protest pics and gym selfies, you could have some tiger in your birth chart. 

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Years: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963

Months: March 6–April 4

Day: Friday

Hours: 5 a.m.–6:59 a.m.

Sensitive, sincere rabbits are often the peacekeepers of their group; to them, watching friends fight is just as bad as being in a fight. Those born under this sign are warm and sociable, but their aversion to drama doesn't always work in their favor; in their quest to avoid conflict, rabbits often hesitate to take chances. 

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Years: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964

Months: April 5–May 4

Day: Tuesday

Hours: 7 a.m.–8:59 a.m.

Spotlight-loving dragons are the first to raise their hands (or, let's be real, call out an answer) in class, the first to grab the mic at karaoke, and the last to leave a party. Energetic and excitable, dragons hate waiting in line and have no patience for small talk, but will slow down to check themselves out in any reflective surface. 

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Years: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965

Months: May 5–June 5

Day: Friday

Hours: 9 a.m.–10:59 a.m.

Witty, brainy, artistic, and introverted, snakes rely on instincts rather than asking others for their opinions. Those born under this sign tend to be a bit suspicious and insecure when it comes to relationships; they will ask to see those receipts. 

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Years: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966

Months: June 6–July 6

Day: Wednesday

Hours: 11 a.m.–12:59 p.m.

Warm, easy-going horses are independent and adventurous, meaning they're the zodiac sign most likely to take a solo vacation. If you ask a horse for advice, brace yourself: these guys are known for their brutal honesty.

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Years: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967

Months: July 7–August 6

Day: Monday

Hours: 1 p.m.–2:59 p.m.

Goats enjoy being alone with their thoughts—how else are those born under this wildly creative sign going to write the next great American novel? While goats expend a lot of energy on their art, the same can't be said for other, less important aspects of their lives; this sign is super-disorganized and chronically indecisive (pro tip: never take a goat to a fast food drive-through). 

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Years: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968

Months: August 7–September 7

Day: Sunday

Hours: 3 p.m.–4:59 p.m.

No surprises here: monkeys are party-hopping, joke-cracking balls of kinetic energy. They also have some issues with impulse control and tend to tire of relationships quickly, leaving a string of broken hearts. 

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Years: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969

Months: September 8–October 7

Day: Saturday

Hours: 5 p.m.–6:59 p.m.

If you've been assigned a group project, you want a rooster on your team; those born under this hard-working, resourceful sign are the first on the job and the last to leave. Being hyper-competent does have its downside, though; roosters are pretty impatient with those who don't share their work ethic.

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