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Chinese Astrology - Chinese Zodiac Symbols

Chinese Astrology: An Introduction

Chinese astrology is related to the Chinese calendar, particularly its 12-year cycle of animals (aka Chinese Zodiac), and the fortune-telling aspects according to movement of heavenly bodies across the Chinese constellations in the sky.

Origins of Chinese Astrology

The ancient Chinese astronomers called the five major planets by the names of the Five Elements. Venus is Metal (gold); Jupiter is Wood; Mercury is Water; Mars is Fire; Saturn is Earth. according to the Chinese astrology , the position of the five planets, the sun, the moon and comets in the sky, and the Chinese zodiac sign at the time a person was born determine the destiny of a person's life.

A laborious system of computing one's fate and destiny based on one birthday and birth hours is still used regularly in modern day Chinese astrology.
Chinese Zodiac

The 12 Chinese Zodiac animal signs are, in order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (or goat), monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. There are many legends to explain the beginning of the zodiac. The origin and order of the animals included in the Chinese Zodiac differ. One of the most popular ones tells that the Jade Emperor conducted a race between all the animals to decide which ones will be features in the zodiac. The final “ranking” in this race reflects the natural charachteristics of the animals: persistent (ox), treacherous (the rat, who rode on the ox's head and jumped ahead of him at the end), lazy (the pig), and more.
Chinese Astrology's Influence on Asian Culture

Chinese astrology and Chinese zodiac signs are also used in some other Asian countries that have been under the cultural influence of China. However, some of the animals differ from the original ones used in the Chinese Zodiac.

For example, the Vietnamese zodiac is identical to Chinese zodiac except the fourth animal is the cat not the rabbit, while the Japanese zodiac includes the wild boar instead of the pig. Also, the Japanese use Gregorian calendar, i.e., 1 January, as the beginning of the zodiac sign.

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