This guide is meant to help anyone who’s not very attuned with the Chinese culture and provide them with just enough background information about the Chinese zodiac signs, so they don’t have to scratch their heads every time someone talks about Pigs, Rabbits and Goats during Chinese New Year.

And at the end of the guide, we’ll also include horoscopes (forecasts and predictions) for each zodiac sign in the “Year of the Pig” (2019), so you know what’s good and what’s not for you this year.

(DISCLAIMER: Yes, this guide was written by a Chinese. No, he’s not a professional Chinese horoscope reader, but he knows enough to do his research well.)

A Short Preface

Right, so Chinese New Year is just around the corner – tomorrow (February 5, 2019), in fact! Everyone has probably banished their briefcases away to the deep recesses of their closets, for what is essentially a marathon of house visits and guiltless eating.

If you haven’t already done so, then you probably missed the memo. At least, in this part of Asia, this is how we’ve always celebrated the Lunar New Year.

I’m kidding. We also break out the cards and mahjong tiles, just like in the movies.

But jokes aside, I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about a few things some people have always wondered about whenever the Lunar New Year approaches. Like why is it called the “Year of the Pig”? Why a pig this year? Why not a giraffe? Why animals at all?

Well, there are many Chinese myths and legends that explain this. But I’ll just tell you my favourite one.

An Origin Within an Origin

So legend has it, one day, the Jade Emperor (Emperor of the Heavens; 玉皇大帝 — yù huáng dà dì) decided he wanted each year in a ‘ji’ (a twelve-year cycle the ancient Chinese calendar once adopted) to be designated with an animal sign, and declared that the first twelve animals that arrived would be selected.

Now here’s the best part. There was a cat and a rat, and both of them were pretty much best friends. When they heard about the Emperor’s decree, they promised each other that they would wake each other up and go together.

Except the rat didn’t!

The next morning, the rat got so excited it forgot about waking the cat up and just jetted on out of there. The rat was the first to arrive, followed by several other animals including a tiger and even a dragon. No giraffes, sadly.

When the cat made it to the scene, it was already too late. And that’s how we have twelve zodiac signs and funnily enough, why cats hate rats to the absolute gutter.

Since the rat made it first to the party, the first year of each cycle is then deemed the “Year of the Rat”. And because the pig made it last, the twelfth and last year of the cycle is the “Year of the Pig”.

Zodiac Signs – Which Animal Are You?

For as long as ever since then, these zodiac signs have played an integral role in Chinese culture and more often than not, are used to determine a bunch of things in the future, such as your fortune for the corresponding year, marriage compatibilities and even the best times to conceive a baby.

More on that later. For now, if you haven’t found out what your zodiac sign is, check out our table below to see which animal you represent!

Remember, the cycle resets every 12 years so if you want to figure out someone else’s zodiac sign, consider the age difference between the both of you and you should be able to estimate which animal they represent.

For instance, if you’re born in the “Year of the Pig”, chances are that someone who’s 4 years younger than you are was probably born in the “Year of the Rabbit”.

But keep in mind that the zodiac signs follow the Chinese calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar. This means that for someone to be born in the “Year of the Pig”, they would have to be born after the Lunar New Year rather than on January 1 that year.

What 2019 Holds…

So, this is the part where I summarize how favorable this year is for all 12 zodiac signs. Again, this will be a brief, lo-depth rundown for each animal sign, meaning elements (i.e. water, earth, metal, etc.) will not be taken into account.

(DISCLAIMER: Each of the following paragraphs is a reflection of the writer’s own interpretation of each zodiac horoscope gathered through multiple sources. Specific details may vary. This is only a summary and a compilation at best.)

For Rats (鼠 – Shǔ)

Verdict: Relax, you’ll be fine!

2019 will be a happy and prosperous year for you. Work hard, but also take time to enjoy life. Learn to strike a balance in everything you do. Don’t shy away from opportunities and never stop learning something new. “The Year of the Pig” also has a knack for granting Rats their inner desires, but that means you should also be wary of your temptations… if you know what I mean ?.

For Oxen (牛 – Niu)

Verdict: Here comes the $$$!

This year, Oxen are blessed with abundant opportunities to make money. But you should also be careful not to work too hard. Be mindful of your health and strengthen the bonds you have with your family and friends. They can be your greatest allies at weathering out the storms. Long story short, don’t be a hero and don’t be a machine either. Take care of your loved ones, and they’ll take care of you.

For Tigers (虎 – Hǔ)

Verdict: Easy on the roar. Play more with others!

Tigers are strong, independent and tend to do what they please. However, this year, you might find coming to terms with others a priority more so than usual. Be modest, gentle and friendly with those around you, and they will become the support you need to move forward. Luck is also in your favour but that doesn’t mean should press it. In short, don’t get greedy and don’t be a jerk!

For Rabbits (兔 – Tù)

Verdict: What a wonderful year!

Fortune favours the bold. 2019 is definitely your year to get ahead. Just don’t forget to rest up every now and then, and care for your family and friends. Stay calm and focused, and your good luck will carry you far. Go, go, go!

For Dragons (龙 – Lóng)

Verdict: Soar high. Soar free.

An auspicious year for Dragons. You will find favorable conditions for both your career and your education. Since you also may not have to worry about serious illnesses or ailments this year, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about others. Take part in good deeds or charitable acts, and your luck will continue to stay on course. Just because Dragons are cold-blooded doesn’t mean you should be.

For Snakes (蛇 – Shé)

Verdict: Unfortunately, you can’t slither your way out of this.

2019 harbours a lot of obstacles and challenges for Snakes this year. However, not all is lost. Patience is a virtue. Persevere and you will be rewarded, even if so slightly. Volunteer and serve the community more to help counterbalance the bad energy. Snakes may be perceptive and analytical by nature, but you might find a more important lesson in maintaining your composure and being more honest with yourself and others.

For Horses (马 – Mǎ)

Verdict: Run free, but not fast and wild.

Things look pretty good for Horses this year. From career prospects to educational goals, even your love life’s in line to take a turn for the better. The only things you have to be mindful of are your diet, your spending habits and your driving. So no horsing around with your wallet or behind the wheel!

For Goats (羊 – Yang)

Verdict: Go on and knock their socks off!

Similar to Horses, 2019 will be a year of both good fortune and bountiful opportunities for Goats. Even in romance, things are looking on the up and up. So go forth and chase your aspirations boldly; success is yours for the taking. Just remember to manage your emotions well too along the way. ?

For Monkeys (猴 – Hóu)

Verdict: Less monkeying. More prudence.

“The Year of the Pig” proves promising for Monkeys, with positive career growth and room for romance on the horizon. However, the biggest obstacle you will face this year is your health. Pay close attention to even minor ailments such as colds or the flu as they might develop into something major. Monkeys are fun-seeking risk-takers, but just for 2019, you might have to tone down a notch.

For Roosters (鸡 – Jī)

Verdict: Careful who you crow at.

Be mindful of who you cross this year, and pay closer attention to the people within your social circles. They are the ones who will be helping you the most in your career and your studies. There is a bit of reprieve as you might experience a boost in your love life. Stress will be abound, but as long as you stay focused and keep your flock of friends close, you may even succeed and achieve new heights.

For Dogs (狗 – Gǒu)

Verdict: Like a smiling puppy!

A great year for Dogs. This is the year you will notice both your career and your education finally taking off. Work hard, ward off distractions and you will be duly rewarded. Careful not to work till you fatigue though. 2019 will also be a fantastic year for those seeking a partner and those already in a relationship. So, don’t be afraid to ‘get busy’ as there really is no better time!

And last but not least, for Pigs (猪 – Zhū)

Verdict: Ironically, not your year.

You would think people born in the “Year of the Pig” would be exceedingly lucky this year, right? Nope. Sadly, 2019 will be a year of both challenges and opportunities. Just be patient, work hard, avoid conflicts and you’ll be set. When things aren’t working out, don’t be afraid to approach your family or friends for help. And because it’s not an auspicious year for you, it’s best if you also eat healthily and ease up on the bottle. ?

Final Thoughts…

Now, I’m pretty sure some of you would be bummed out after reading your horoscopes this year, especially if you’re a Snake, Rooster or Pig. It’s unexpected, I know. But it is also important not to stay short-sighted about this.

A colleague of mine once taught me the value of changing one’s mindset. It’s easy to focus on the negative and say things are unfair, but what good would that do? Instead, try to look for the silver linings in things and say maybe, this could simply be a year to test yourself or set up opportunities in the long run.

Unlucky years come every now and then. But just as balance exists, it’s only a matter of time before you get lucky again. And you only have to be patient until then.

Thanks for reading. Happy Chinese New Year and I wish all of you nothing but candid joy and prosperity in this hallowed occasion.

Happy holidays & Ang-Pao-grabbing!

While you’re here, feel free to check out our other CNY articles – “CNY Ang Pao Rates For 2019” or “Top 10 CNY Taboos You Should Know”.