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Brief Zodiac History as We Enter the Year of the Pig

Brief Zodiac History as We Enter the Year of the Pig

Chinese New Year always starts on either the second or third new moon after the winter solstice. The Year of the Pig will begin on February 5.

The Year of the Pig is the 12th year in the Eastern Zodiac cycle. In 2020, the cycle will begin again with the Year of the Rat. Colours that are expected to bring good luck in 2019 are red, pink, gold and white. You can look at special predictions for people born under the sign of the Pig by clicking here.


The ancient Greeks divided the year into 12 parts. These parts are based on a system of Zodiac symbols. Far Eastern tradition also uses a 12 Zodiac system. However, the number 12 and the fact that most of the signs are associated with animals are pretty much all that the two have in common. Some people believe these forces influence personality and events in life.

In both systems, saying that only the sign under which someone was born influences one’s life is an oversimplification. The Eastern system considers the year, month, day and hour one was born.  The Western system considers whether one was born near the beginning, the middle or the end of a specific section. They also consider the position of the sun and moon at the time of birth. So, determining one’s personality type and predicting one’s future is a bit problematic.

The Western system

The Western system organises one year into 12 parts. The Eastern system organises time into repeating 12-year cycles that correspond roughly to the orbit of Jupiter. This orbit lasts 11.86 years. The orbit of the sun is not exactly 365 days long. So, the Gregorian calendar adds a full day every four years to compensate – Leap Year. Many Chinese calendars have been developed to deal with the difficulties associated with Jupiter’s orbit. Eastern countries have used the Gregorian calendar for ages. However, to predict the best dates for events such as weddings, a Chinese calendar is used that has alternating years of 12 and 13 months.

Now things get complicated.

Both sets of 12 signs are grouped into “major elements”. The Western major elements and the signs they include are earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). The Eastern major elements and their signs are earth (Ox, Dragon, Goat, Dog), fire (Snake, Horse), water (Rat, Pig), wood (Tiger, Rabbit) and metal (Monkey, Rooster). To complicate matters even more, the 12 Eastern signs are also associated with either Yin or Yang, the major earth forces, and all five major elements influence each sign.

To review the Chinese Zodiac, learn which Eastern Zodiac sign you were born under and see the characteristics of your sign and 2019 predictions for you, you can click here. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Contribution by Peg Kirkpatrick.

Peg is a perpetual traveler, perennial expat, and cultural sponge. She and her husband Gary have lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe, with a short stint in Panama as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the over 50 years old group. Recent adventures include Russia, Lavia, and Lithuania. As a Global Lead Researcher, Peg loves providing much-needed resources and a fresh perspective to families during their global relocations.

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