The Other Side of the Stars

Ewan Murray

Chinese astrology and calendar explained and compared.

Just like all things, astrology has variations. One of these variations is of Chinese origin. With this variation comes even more zodiacs along with an entire calendar. This form of astrology is popular in many places in eastern Asia and instead of following the stars, it is determined by the years past. The typical thought is that this is a 12 year cycle, but in fact it is an 11.85 year cycle, which is why the zodiacs do not cycle back on January 1st and instead follow the Chinese calendar. The next zodiac also falls to change in late January or early February because of this.

Similar to western zodiac signs, the Chinese also associated traits with their zodiacs. Each animal had unique traits dedicated to them, with these traits they also had unique factors that distinguishes them such as elements and Yin or Yangs. Just like western zodiacs, the Chinese also thought that each zodiac had certain compatibilities with other zodiacs.

Where western zodiacs are based on a symbol that is drawn from the constellation that they are based off of, the Chinese zodiacs are based off of different animals. Animals such as the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and the pig.These zodiacs are also based on distinguished years whereas western zodiacs are based on certain ranges of time throughout the year. Where the western zodiacs had the idea of best compatibility in the way that the match would be good, chinese zodiacs had best compatibility and mismatches as well which are seen to be highly avoided because of their bad habits with each other.

According to, “Some say that the Buddha (or Jade Emperor) called on all animals to help mankind and only 12 responded. Others say that a Great Race was held to determine which animals would be placed in the zodiac for eternity. This guide is based on the ancient origin story of the Great Race, which determined each animal’s position in the zodiac”. This gives the idea that this form of zodiacs originated around 400 C.E. Another fact is that many believe that the goat zodiac is the most unlucky zodiac of the 12, According to, “There is a popular Chinese folk saying that 9/10 Goats are inadequate (十羊九不全 ’10 Goats 9 incomplete’), which implies most people born in a year of the Goat are destined for bad luck.” This is a large implication in China still to this day.