MAD animal zodiac –
Kung Hei Fat Choi from MAD Ideas!

How it all began…

Big Buddha guy invited every animal in the kingdom to a special resolution AGM. As with most AGMs, many thought it would be really boring so only 12 animals showed up. To thank them, Buddha said any human animals born in a certain year would inherit the animal character and personality according to that year.

To decide the order of the animal years, each animal would race across a mightily big river, and each animal’s position in the cycle would be set by their overall place in the race…

check out the race detail

On the day of the race, the 12 animals put on their swimming trunks, goggles etc to prepare them for the greatest race of all time. Everyone thought dragon might win because she had impressive wings and could breathe fire. Some reckoned tiger would be in with a pretty good chance because she was so fast. But sure, dragon could fly, but she just splashed (a lot) and tiger, being a cat, didn’t like getting her paws and gel nails wet.

It was ox who reached the river bank first (yep, the one everyone thought was big and clumsy in the office, spilling the coffee). Why? She was the hardest working of all and despite the strong water currents, she continued to persevere. But there’s a twist to our tale, it was rat who was declared the winner. You see, as the race began, rat jumped unnoticed by everyone onto ox’s back, and just as ox reached the other side of the riverbank, rat jumped off ox’s back and strolled onto the bank. Buddha guy being wise and all that, spotted this of course but said “Rat is the smallest and doesn’t have the muscles of the ox, or the speed of the others, but used her head to solve a tricky problem”.

That’s why rat is first, ox second, and the last animal in the race, kind piglet boar (who helped rabbit across the river but kept getting distracted by rabbit’s cute, tickly nose and endless chatter and rabbiting on about eating more carrots), is last in the cycle. And so the rotating cycle of 12 animals for naming the years in China was established, with each animal year repeated every 12 years. To our animal heroes, we thank you for allowing us to inherit your unique animal personalities. We might attend a few more AGMs this year.

Just for fun, find out your and your friends’ animal years!

The Chinese zodiac is based on 12 animal signs, which run in a 12 year cycle. Chinese years follow the lunar moon, so they don’t start on the same date each year. If your birthday’s after February, the years shown below are fine. To be sure of your year animal, type your birthday in the box below.

Once you know your animal year, check out your shared animal characteristics and famous personalities by clicking the animal link below.

Enter your birthday here:

Your year animal:

Check your animal personality!


Year of the Rat

1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032

Rat people are charming. Ambitious and persistent, they stop at nothing to get ahead in life and career. They can survive any condition and are naturally thrifty. In love they are generous, sharing everything they’ve saved with their loved one.

Best match: Ox, Dragon, Monkey (and heffalump, although the feeling is not mutual)

Famous Rats: Ozzy Osborne, Hugh Grant, Gwyneth Paltrow, Antonio Banderas, Samuel L. Jackson, Sean Penn, Cameron Diaz, William Shakespeare, Mozart, Louis Armstrong, Prince Charles


Year of the Ox

1901, 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033

The Ox is one of the most peaceful and strongest signs. Placid and easy going, they have the rare gift of inspiring others. Their self-assuredness helps them become successful. They rarely show off, but they gain others’ confidence through their strength, patience and creativity.

Best match: Rooster, Rat, Snake

Famous Oxen: George Clooney, Jack Nicholson, Kate Moss, Anthony Hopkins. Among this next list, notice the intensity of people’s personalities who are born under this sign: Barack Obama, Napoleon, Malcolm X, Diana Princess of Wales, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Bruce Springsteen, Margaret Thatcher


Year of the Tiger

1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034

The Tiger sign is powerful and courageous. It is believed Tiger people are destined to be rulers. Of all the signs, the Tiger is the most respected. There is a saying that everyone should guard against three disasters in life: fire, thieves and ghosts. It is believed the Tiger protects you against all three.

Best match: Horse, Dog, Boar

Famous Rats: Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jodie Foster, Stevie Wonder, Princess Anne, Alec Guinness, Marilyn Monroe, Oscar Wilde


Year of the Rabbit

1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035

The Rabbit is one of the most fortunate of the signs. They are gifted, well mannered and lucky financially. Other people trust them and they are renowned for their good taste. They make compassionate friends and graceful hosts. In business, they are clever. However, they dislike change and can be a little too laid back.

Best match: Snake, Goat, Dog

Famous Rabbits: Jet Li, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Nicolas Cage, Quentin Tarantino, Frank Sinatra, Confucius, Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol


Year of the Dragon

1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036

When a child is born in the Dragon year, it is considered a stroke of fortune! Dragon people have the gifts of health, energy and courage. Symbolising life and growth, the Dragon is said to have these four blessings: virtue, riches, harmony and longevity. Surprise! Dragons love flattery!

Best match: Rat, Snake, Monkey

Famous Dragons: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Courtney Cox, Bing Crosby, Placido Domingo, Tom Jones, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Martin Luther King


Year of the Snake

1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037

People born in the Snake years have great wisdom. Profound thinkers, they prefer to rely on their own intellect rather than trust the judgement of others. Fired with intense determination, they hate to fail at anything! Snake people are beautiful (and also vain). They seldom have to worry about money – they are usually rich! Make the next round of drinks on the Snake!

Best match: Rooster, Ox, Dragon

Famous Snakes: Pierce Brosnan, Mike Oldfield, Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln, Mao Tse-tung, Princess Grace Kelly Rainier, Greta Garbo, Franklin D. Roosevelt


Year of the Horse

1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038

Horse people are popular, cheerful and love to compliment others. They act quickly and are highly unpredictable. They seek adventure, are highly spirited and love to travel. They are highly independent and usually get their own way. Horse people love entertainment and people. Note: Horses have particularly short tempers!

Best match: Tiger, Dog, Goat (or anyone who can put up with their temper!!)

Famous Horses: Jackie Chan, Kevin Costner, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Janet Jackson, Mike Tyson, Sean Connery, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Vivaldi, Puccini, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Aretha Franklin, Neil Armstrong


Year of the Goat

1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039

The Goat sign is happy when being creative. Goat people are gentle and shy. However, underneath the woolly head is a true survivor. In Chinese, the Goat is also known as the ‘mountain sheep’. If you think of the solitary goat, scrambling to the top of the mountain peak, this will give you an indication of the true nature of this sign.

Best match: Rabbit, Horse, Boar, Tiger

Famous Goats: Julia Roberts, Chow Yun-Fat, Bill Gates, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, William Shatner, Leonardo da Vinci


Year of the Monkey

1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040

Monkey people are successful in any field they choose. They would rather appease than fight and are good at making deals. They are always well informed and remember everything they read. If they follow their instincts, they stand a good chance of becoming famous! However, they tend to talk way too much.

Best match: Dog, Rat, Dragon, banana

Famous Monkeys: Christina Aguilera, Will Smith, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Douglas, Danny De Vito, Elizabeth Taylor, Harry Houdini, Bette Davis, Julius Caesar


Year of the rooster

1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029

Rooster people are eccentric and outgoing, and will enliven even the dullest party. They enjoy being the centre of attention and make wonderful hosts. However, they can be easily bored and will create situations to liven things up a little (even waking up at the crack of dawn and waking everyone just for fun, all together now… ‘cock-a-doodle-doo!’)

Best match: Snake, Ox, Dragon

Famous Roosters: Michelle Pfeiffer, Dolly Parton, Rudyard Kipling, Eric Clapton, Joan Collins, Katharine Hepburn, William Faulkner, Van Morrison, Bette Midler


Year of the dog

1910, 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030

Dog people are blessed with the finer traits of human nature. Like the dog, they are loyal and possess a profound sense of duty. They always try their best in everything they do. People born in this sign can also be counted upon to keep a secret. Dog people are renowned for championing good causes, as they cannot stand injustice.

Best match: Horse, Boar, Tiger

Famous Dogs: Madonna, Elvis Presley, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Michael Jackson, Donny Osmond, Mariah Carey, Freddie Mercury, Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Prince William, Donald Trump


Year of the Boar

1911, 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

Boars are admirable characters; they are chivalrous and brave. They have tremendous inner strength and superb follow through in whatever they undertake. Boar people treat their loved ones with love and affection. They have a heart of gold and are very sincere. Their friends and loved ones are of the life-long variety.

Best match: Rabbit, Goat, Dog

Famous Boars: Val Kilmer, Emma Thompson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Julie Andrews, Luciano Pavarotti, Steven Spielberg, Humphrey Bogart, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Henry Ford, Lord Alan Sugar