Symbolic Meanings of Each Chinese Zodiac Sign

Chinese Zodiac plays an important role in Chinese folk culture. In fact, each animal has symbolic meanings.
Symbolic Meanings of Each Chinese Zodiac Sign
Rat is smart, quick-witted, alert and has the ability to deal with adversity. It has the auspicious meanings of continuous reproduction and eternal prosperity. 
Ox, which is diligent, simple, sincere, honest, brave and unyielding, and endures humiliation, has the auspicious meanings of getting rich through hard work and good weather for the crops.
Tiger, which is mighty, bold, brilliant, righteous and imposing, has the auspicious meanings of warding off evil spirits and good health.
Rabbit, which is gentle, quiet, pure, elegant, intelligent, sensitive, honest and kind, has the lucky implied meanings of unconventional grace and immortality.
Dragon, which is considered noble, sacred, ambitious, flexible and open, has the auspicious meanings of punishing the evil spirits, peace and prosperity.
Snake, a symbol of beauty, love, righteousness, generosity and flexibility, has the symbolic meanings of conquering the unyielding with the yielding and perseverance.
Horse, which is vigorous, majestic, faithful, unrestrained and brave, has the symbolic meanings of marching forward courageously and endless vitality.
Sheep, which is tender, kind, quiet, obedient, pure and noble, has the symbolic meanings of good harvest and wealth bred by peace.
Monkey, which is smart, free, brave, resourceful and faithful, has the symbolic meanings of driving away evil spirits, subduing monsters and happy days.
Rooster, valiant, aggressive and progressive, is an auspicious sign of peace and detoxification and has the symbolic meanings of family peace and harmonious marriage. 
Dog, a symbol of wisdom, courage, faith, sacrifice and righteousness, has the auspicious meanings of health, safety, and peace.
Pig is considered bold, humble, sincere, honest, adaptable, and always in harmony with the rest of the world, and it has the symbolic meanings of living and working in peace and contentment and being well-fed and well-clothed.

Six Pairs of Chinese Zodiac

The 12 animal signs are divided into six groups with each have two zodiac signs, one is Yang and the other Yin. They are complementary with each other in character and couldn’t be separated. These good attributes and qualities are the wishes and requirements of the ancient Chinese to the Chinese people. Now, take a look at the symbolic meanings of signs in each pair and how they combine with each other. 
Rat and Ox
Rat is a symbol of wisdom while Ox a symbol of diligence. The wisdom with no diligence will be considered as the petty trick. Conversely, a diligent person with no wisdom will be considered stupid. Therefore, the two shall be combined and it is the first, also the most important group of expectation and requirement of the ancestors to the Chinese.
Tiger and Rabbit
Tiger is a symbol of valor and vigor while Rabbit symbolizes prudence. Only if the two are closely combined, can a person become both courageous and wise. A brave yet careless person is considered crude while a prudent person with no valor is timid.
Dragon and Snake
Dragon is mighty and inflexible while Snake is very flexible and yielding. An overly inflexible person often hurts others while an overly yielding person always has no definite views. As a result, it has been an ancestral teaching to exercise a combination of inflexibility and yielding.
Horse and Sheep
Horse is a symbol of persistence and marching forward with indomitable will while Sheep is a symbol of peace. If a person marches forward regardless of the surrounding, he will collide with other people and may fail to achieve the goal. But if he keeps yielding to the surroundings, he will lose the direction. Therefore, persistence and peace shall be closely combined.
Monkey and Rooster
Monkey is a symbol of flexibility while Rooster, which crows every morning, is a symbol of constancy. A good policy will end with no result if there is only flexibility but no constancy. On the contrary, the Reform and Opening-up policy would not succeed in China if there is no flexibility but constancy. Once the two are balanced, the overall harmony and order will be maintained stably and the constant flexibility will lead to better results.
Dog and Pig
Dog is a symbol of loyalty while Pig is considered amiable. If a person is too loyal yet not amiable, he will reject others. Conversely, an amiable person with no loyalty would lose principle. As a result, the loyalty to a nation, team or ideal shall be closely combined with the amiable temper to better keep the loyalty deep inside. This is the outwardly gentle but inwardly stern principle observed by Chinese people: just as the ancient saying goes 'gentlemen seek harmony but not uniformity'.