The Differences Between the Chinese Zodiac and Western Astrology
Chinese Zodiac is completely different with the western zodiac which corresponds people with 12 constellations as per the date of birth, each constellation lasts for one month and the 12 constellations form a cycle of one year. Chinese zodiac includes 12 animal signs which are used to number the years rather than months, and each year corresponds to an animal sign. Every cycle of Chinese Zodiac takes 12 years.
The most common way to calculate a person’s zodiac sign is to use the Chinese traditional new year as the new year. As the Chinese New Year usually falls during 21 January and February 20, if your birthday is during this period in Gregorian date, you may belong to the zodiac sign of the last year. You can check the following chart to know your Chinese animal sign.
Calculate Your Zodiac Sign Mathematically
Use the following three steps to calculate your sign.
1.Your Birth Year + 9 = N.
2.Divide N by 12 and read about the remainder. If you use an electronic math calculator, after you get the result, make the decimal multiplied by 12 to get the remainder. If remainder is indivisible, you need to do decimals to round up and round down numbers.
3.Get to know your animal sign by checking the corresponding sign to the remainder.
If the number of the year can be divided with no remainder, your animal sign is Pig.
0: Monkey 1: Rooster 2: Dog 3: Pig 4: Rat 5: Ox 6: Tiger
7: Rabbit 8: Dragon 9: Snake 10: Horse 11: Sheep
Two Calculation Methods of the Chinese Zodiac Year
1. Based on Chinese Lunar Calendar - The Chinese Zodiac Year stars from the first day of the New Year in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
In ancient china, the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve was regarded as the dividing point of two animal years. The earliest record of taking Chinese Lunar New Year (Chinese Spring Festival) as the beginning of an animal year was in Northern Song Dynasty. Currently, this way is popular among Chinese people and many folklore experts also agree that, since the Spring Festival is the beginning of the lunar New Year and the animal year, people's animal sign should be counted from the first day of first lunar month.
2. Years Designated by Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches - The Chinese Zodiac Year stars from Lichun (the Beginning of Spring).
Different with the folklore experts, some astronomers believe the animal year should begin from the Beginning of Spring (the first solar term of the 24 solar terms which usually falls on February 4 or February 5 in Gregorian calendar). This method can be traced back as early as in Shang and Zhou Dynasties. The current almanac used in folk China, and the traditional Four Pillars of Destiny and divination also calculate the animal year on the basis of the Beginning of Spring. For example, the "Eight Characters of Birth Time" shall be strictly calculated from the Beginning of Spring in the Four Pillars of Destiny.
Researchers point out that in ancient China, Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches were used to number days, months and years. Both Chinese Zodiac and the concept of 12 two-hour periods of the day are derived from Years Designated by Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, a system different with Chinese lunar calendar. In the Years Designated by Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, the sun is the object of reference and the alternation between Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches begins from the Beginning of Spring in every year. The way of calculating an animal year with solar terms is the most accurate, because the intersection of solar terms is adjusted timely according to the position of the earth. The Beginning of Spring is calculated as per solar calendar which is generally fixed. That is to say, every solar year has 365.2422 days while a lunar year has only 354 days, yet a leap year lasts for 384 days. Therefore, the length of the lunar years is varied. The scientific way to calculate an animal year shall be based on solar calendar, during which every year has the same length.
Most of the People in China don’t know Lichun is the Beginning of a New Zodiac
Shall I calculate the animal year from Beginning of Spring or Spring Festival? In reality, most people, especially young parents, do not know about the way to start from Beginning of Spring. It is believed that the animal year shall start from the Chinese lunar New Year, and most of the people in China use this way to calculate their animal sign.