Loading...
The Daily Dose Blog The Daily Dose Blog Home

Chinese New Year: Which animal hides in your heart?

Welcome to the year of the snake.

By Rich_Maloof Feb 7, 2013 10:56PM

The Chinese calendar turns over on Sunday, Feb 10— welcome to the Year of the Snake. A child born under the Snake sign grows to be philosophical, intuitive, and elegant — but may also be something of a procrastinator, and unduly suspicious of others.Photo: Chinese New Year / Dorling Kindersley/Getty ImagesBecause China switched over to the Gregorian calendar we use early in the 20th century, the celebrations around Chinese new year are now more widely referred to as Spring Festival, Lunar New Year, or Chun Jie. While our stateside new year’s eve traditions amount to a single night of debauchery followed by a nasty headache, Spring Festival is a week-long tradition of homecoming and good wishes. Its origins, though, are a few shades darker.

Greetings: Send an eCard for Chinese New Year

In Chinese mythology, the new year was something to fear. Nián, which means “year,” was a mythical beast with a body like an ox and the head of a lion. On the last day of each year Nián would emerge to wreak havoc, going town to town on a human-devouring rampage. According to the myth, though, people learned that Nián was afraid of fire, loud noises, and the color red — giving way to a new year’s tradition of fireworks, lantern-lighting, and decorating homes with red chun lian, the banners of Chinese calligraphy that adorn doorways and spell out poetic wishes for prosperity. Red is the color of good fortune, too, which is why it’s so prominently featured in Chinese culture.

More from MSN Living: 20 fun facts about the Chinese New Year

Each lunar year of the Chinese calendar is associated with an animal. An old saying holds that “this animal hides in your heart,” according to your year of birth. And while it may not seem so great, in Western terms, to have a rat or a pig in your heart, Chinese tradition sees both honorable and dubious traits in each animal — the yin and yang of every spirit.

More from MSN Living: New year, new organized you

Note that the lunar years are cyclical and generally start in late January or early February, so the years for each zodiac sign don’t quite line up with our own calendars. If you’re born in January, chances are that you actually fall under the zodiac above the one showing your year of birth. 


Year of the Snake
(1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)
Wise, sympathetic, efficient in communication; fickle, prone to jealousy and suspicion
Year of the Horse
(1918, 1930, 1942, 1954,1966, 1978, 1990, 2002)
Perceptive, clever, talented, independent; pessimistic, bad temper, wasteful
Year of the Sheep
(1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003)
Kind-hearted, sensitive to beauty, quiet; indecisive, timid, prone to worry
Year of the Monkey
(1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004)
Smart, self-assured, versatile; selfish, may be opportunistic
Year of the Rooster
(1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005)
Trustworthy, quick-minded, attractive; critical, may appear boastful
Year of the Dog
(1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006)
Straightforward, warm-hearted, reliable; impractical, anxious, can be irritable
Year of the Pig 
(1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007)
Tolerant, sincere, gallant; can be lazy, materialistic
Year of the Rat
(1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008)
Adaptable, witty, alert; obstinate, may lack courage, may appear impolite
Year of the Ox
(1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)
Industrious, honest, values work and family; obstinate, not good in communication
Year of the Tiger
(1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)
Brave, frank, trustworthy; short-tempered, hasty, over-confident
Year of the Rabbit
(1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)
Hopeful, compassionate, peaceful; reserved, lacking foresight
Year of the Dragon
(1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)
Dignified, energetic, ambitious; impatient, moody, prone to arrogance

Bing: Chinese New Year

More from Daily Dose:
Can animals predict weather?
Life found above Earth
Facebook can’t get you fired
Love content like this? Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on Pinterest

Subscribe to the Daily Dose

Photo: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

inspire: live a better life

  • 13 ways to improve your life this spring

    13 ways to improve your life this spring

    No one looks forward to washing windows or storing the ski gear or the other chores associated with spring-cleaning. But this annual ritual does not have to be a drag, if you approach it in a slightly different way. "You've been cooped up with this cave-like mentality all winter; now it's time to break free and play," says R.D. Chin, a feng shui architect and consultant in New York City. "It's time to follow the cycle of nature, get rid of the clutter, and free up your mind." Here's our idea of what a truly effective spring-cleaning can look like.

  •  David Paul Morris, Bloomberg via Getty Images //  David Paul Morris, Bloomberg via Getty Images ( David Paul Morris, Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    Top Americans of all time named

    American presidents garner most votes over celebrities in a poll ranking the 100 most significant citizens.

  • The 10 coldest travel destinations on Earth

    The 10 coldest travel destinations on Earth

    Heading to a world-class beach town is always a safe bet for a great vacation, but if you want something that tests your limits, consider a more extreme spot. Here are 10 places around the world that require a winter coat year-round and offer spectacular glaciers, ice features, and the best snow anywhere.

  • 50 hidden gems in the US

    51 hidden gems in the US

    From the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. boasts world-famous national parks, historical sites and landmarks. Beyond the well-known locations, there's a wealth of undiscovered destinations stretching from coast to coast worth visiting. From scenic sand dunes to wild mountains, here's 51 places within America that you've probably never heard of.

  • Hudson Bay has old earth rocks

    10 interesting facts about the Earth

    How much do you really know about the Earth? In honor of Earth Day, April 22, we explore some interesting and fun facts about the fifth-largest planet of our solar system.

  • stress and happiness

    Beat stress and boost happiness

    Most of the stuff we worry about never happens.

  • How to end an email

    You've written an email, and need to wrap it up. You could end with a simple "Sincerely," tack on your name, and then shoot it out the door, proving definitively that you suck at communication.

  • Go where few have gone

    Craziest places to visit on the planet

    Here are nine of the most extreme trips on the planet -- and the outfitters that take adventurers over the edge and back again.

  • 10 serious adventures anyone can conquer

    10 serious adventures anyone can conquer

    A true challenge is within your reach. All it takes is a few months to get in shape and a few days off work.

  • How to set a world record

    How to set a world record

    Think you got what it takes to be included in the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records? We consult one of the judges to help you on your quest.

  • User-friendly home automation

    8 ways to smarten up your home

    Just a few years ago, the term "home automation" meant a bunch of blinking lights and a headache. But thanks to simpler interfaces and the rise of smartphones, new tech can transform your house into a safer, more comfortable, less wasteful place.

  • The 13 most annoying people on the airplane

    The 13 most annoying people on the airplane

    If you're like most people, flying around in a big metal tube in the sky isn't your idea of a fun time. From the terrible food to the cramped space, flying can be a miserable experience. Don't make the flight even more soul-sucking by breaking airplane etiquette. We've compiled a list of the worst-inflight offenders. by Rebecca Pattee

Loading...
about rich maloof
Loading...
buzzing now on msn living
Loading...
inspire videos
editor's picks
Loading...