QUICK and EASY method to determine your Chinese Zodiac Sign

Dragon is a chinese zodiac sign in chinese astrology

Everyone knows that there is a certain stereotype of Asians, mostly the Chinese. Being a math wizard is almost always expected of them!

Yet there is also a ring of truth to this expectation. For thousands of years, Chinese civilization developed mathematics along with other fields of scientific thought.

Along with these advancements in academic thought came astronomy and astrology.

Chinese Astrology survived through millennia and is still practiced today.

As an academic field of thought, Chinese Astrology uses highly simplistic yet sophisticated calculations. Behind this “easy” façade is a wonderfully complex and ancient art.

Are you ready to unlock the secrets of the Orient?

How to calculate your chinese zodiac sign?

calculate your chinese zodiac sign in chinese astrology

A person’s Chinese Zodiac has three parts. Each one plays a unique role in defining those born under them.

The first part is a sign’s modality. There are three of these in the Western tradition, yet there are only two for its Chinese counterpart.

These two are the Yin and Yang. In a nutshell, it describes the kind of energy that a certain Zodiac will be harnessing during a particular year.

Yin represents darkness and femininity. On the other hand, Yang channels light and masculinity.

Yet do not be fooled into thinking that one is greater than the other. Both energies complement each other, resulting in a perfect harmony that preserves order in nature.

The second part of the Chinese Zodiac is its element. As compared to the Western tradition and its four elements, the Chinese have five.

These elements hold a special meaning in the year which they govern. Their close ties to nature reflect on the people born under them and the events in the said year.

It is almost as if they are the “theme” that a particular year follows. Yet, its hold is not as strict as to those of newborns.

Interestingly, they are also inherently connected with a specific planet. If anything, the element doubles as both a state of nature and a ruler of the year they govern.

To go deeper about Chinese Astrology check out our full guide about Chinese Astrology.

Here is a rundown of all the elements, their planets, along with their meanings:

ElementPlanetMeaning
MetalVenusFertility and abundance
WoodJupiterGrowth and vitality
WaterMercuryPeace and stability
FireMarsEnergy and restlessness
EarthSaturnModeration and transition

And of course, the last part is the animal. As told in the story of the Zodiac’s creation, there are twelve whom the Jade Emperor bestowed the honor of becoming a Zodiac sign.

Like the modalities and elements, no sign is higher than the other. All are equal in strength and power.

Concerning this equality, each sign repeats only every twelve years. This way, all the animals have their fair share of tenure.

All the animals have a distinct quality to them. These qualities are then inherited by those born under them.

Here is a quick rundown on the order of the animals in the Zodiac (check out our other articles about them!):

1. Rat

2. Ox

3. Tiger

4. Rabbit

5. Dragon

6. Snake

7. Horse

8. Sheep

9. Monkey

10. Rooster

11. Dog

12. Pig

If you’re wondering why the cat is not on the list, feel free to blame the rat. The latter framed the former.

The cat could not make it on time to the Jade Emperor’s birthday; thus, he became the laughingstock of all China. This incident turned the former friends into enemies and the reason why cats today hate rats!

How can I calculate all these Chinese Zodiac attributes?

Thankfully, calculating your Chinese Zodiac only needs basic mathematics and some charts to help you along. The great masters of Chinese Astrology had already computed everything down to a T so that it wouldn’t be hard for us mere mortals.

The very first step is determining the Lunar New Year of the year you were born. This part is especially vital for those born in January and February.

Why? You might ask… This is because the Lunar New Year is rarely ever on the Solar New Year.

The Solar New Year is January 1. This date is the socially accepted new year to the rest of the world, as dictated by the seasons.

But in Chinese Astrology (and some other traditions too), the “new” year falls on the first full moon. It can fall anywhere between the first two months.

If your birthday occurs before the Lunar New Year, you are automatically part of the “previous” year’s Chinese Zodiac. If it happens on the day of the LNY (which is auspicious!) or after, then your Chinese Zodiac is that of the year itself.

The next step is taking the last digit of your birth year. This number will determine your modality and element.

There is no need to bust out your calculator yet; the following is the chart you must follow:

End DigitModalityElement
0YangMetal
1YinMetal
2YangWater
3YinWater
4YangWood
5YinWood
6YangFire
7YinFire
8YangEarth
9YinEarth

This cycle will last for sixty years. It was last updated in 1984 and should last until 2043. Until then, everyone born in the years mentioned above will follow this one.

Now, here is the best part: knowing your Chinese Zodiac animal!

There are always internet resources that will tell you right away which animal represents a specific year. But where is the fun in that?

Take out your pen, paper, and calculator. If you feel like channeling your mental abacus, then go manual!

Now, assuming that you were born after the Lunar New Year, use the following formula:

             Birth Year / 12 = N

If you were born in the year 2000, your formula would look like this:

             2000 / 12 = 166.666

Then, remove the whole numbers and retain the decimals. Multiply this by 12.

Using the same example as earlier, the formula will then have this result:

             0.666 * 12 = 7.992

Following the rules of rounding off numbers, the tenths number (aka the first decimal) 5 and above will have to be rounded to the next whole number. If the tenths number is 4 and below, retain the number before the decimal point.

So, using the result above, the tenths number is 9. This means that 7 will have to be rounded up to 8.

And so, another chart! Here are the numbers and their corresponding Zodiac animal:

             0: Monkey

             1: Rooster

             2: Dog

             3: Pig

             4: Rat

             5: Ox

             6: Tiger

             7: Rabbit

             8: Dragon

             9: Snake

             10: Horse

             11: Sheep

Dragon is a chinese zodiac sign in chinese astrology

Going back to our example, it has been determined that the mighty Dragon symbolizes the people born in the year 2000. When their modality and element are factored in, those born in the new millennium are born under the Yang Metal Dragon sign.

This means that those born in 2000 (and therefore are of the Yang Metal Dragon) channel powerful inner strength. They shine bright and are very assertive!

Because they are of the metal element, they are promised a life full of comfort and blessings. It is almost safe to say that they are attractors of good luck!

And of course, their most remarkable talent lies in their ability to lead. Yang Metal Dragons can direct others into becoming the best versions of themselves.

Yet, one of their fatal flaws is their pride. As expected of those who channel China’s symbol itself, they are unwilling to compromise.

These people also have the terrifying potential to be dictatorial. Nothing compares to when the dragon unleashes its wrath!

And yes, the year 2000 itself was very much a year of abundance. Its promise of ushering in a new era for humanity still upholds itself to the present day.

But this one is too easy. Let’s take a look at the Chinese Zodiac sign of the most explosive year of all: 2020!

Now, this year has been quite the roller coaster. But what would become of the children born of such a chaotic year?

Let us get down to computing:

             2020 / 12 = 168.333

             0.333 * 12 = 3.996 (round up to 4)

From this calculation, we can see that 2020 is the year of the Yang Metal Rat. Like our previous example, those born under this year generate very masculine energy.

As opposed to their birth year’s tragic economic circumstances, these kids are bound to live abundant and plentiful lives. It’s simply what they deserve after joining the world under such crazy conditions!

With the wily and intelligent rat as their spirit animal, these young ones are destined to become able strategists. No wonder, as this same year had people going to great lengths just to survive!

But hold on, you might say. Doesn’t this also mean that this year is supposed to be one of abundance? Why is this year full of loss and tragedy instead?

The beauty of the Chinese Zodiac is that it just doesn’t mean one thing alone. People perceive abundance merely in terms of material wealth, but reality says otherwise.

It is almost ironic how this particularly heavy year birthed a wealth of ideas. From medical advancements to new strategies for efficient work and learning, there is no shortage of what people can think of to adapt to this new normal.

The wealth promised for this year may not have turned out to be what everyone is looking for, but it serves its purpose. Humankind is benefitting from it, along with the hope of a better future.

Final Word

Learning One’s Chinese Zodiac is a fun and exciting thing to do. It calls back a tradition that can only be described as old as time itself.

It is also an excellent way to immerse yourself in a culture that is both familiar and foreign to the world. Above all, it is a way to understand the cosmos.

The universe may not control our lives, but the former does help us in managing the latter. This way, we can choose to live the life that we wanted.

But overdependence on Zodiac readings may result in more harm than good.

While Zodiac signs give us an overview of the person we may become, it does not dictate how you live your truth. If anything, some people do not feel like their signs are accurate to them.

Each person is unique and can become more significant than what astrology can make them out to be. The stars are merely your guide and not your master.

Whatever your Zodiac sign is, live your life the best you could. Life is too short to let others dictate every part of your identity.

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