This is what each of the 12 Chinese New Year Zodiac animals means - and how to find out yours

The Chinese New Year is fast approaching.

Each year is assigned one of the animals of the Zodiac, including a dragon and an ox, which is said to hold certain characteristics and personality traits for the people born in that year.

Here are all 12 of the animals of the Zodiac and what they mean for the people born in that year, when the Chinese New Year takes place and why the date changes each year.

When is the Chinese New Year?

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In 2021, the Chinese New Year's Eve is celebrated on Thursday 11 February meaning the Chinese New Year begins on Friday 12 February.

It is a public holiday in China which sees its citizens get seven days off work from 11-17 February to celebrate the beginning of a new year.

The festivities typically last longer - for a period of 16 days - in the lead up to the Lantern Festival on Friday 26 February 2021.

The Chinese year follows the lunar calendar - 12 full cycles of the moon, roughly 354 days - which is different to the solar calendar - the time it takes for Earth to orbit the Sun, roughly 365 days.

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It means that the Chinese New Year falls on a different date on the solar calendar each year, with 2021 starting on 11 February.

What is the Chinese New Year animal for 2021?

Each year is assigned one of the 12 signs of the Zodiac.

The Chinese year of 2021 is the Year of the Ox - starting from 12 February 2021 and lasting until 31 January 2022.

Next year, 2022, is the Year of the Tiger, which lasts from 1 February 2022 until 21 January 2023.

What are the Zodiac animals and their meanings?

Rat - The first Zodiac sign in the Chinese cycle. People who were born in the Year of the Rat are said to be quick-witted, resourceful, and smart but lack courage. Due to their work ethic, however, they are thought to be wealthy and prosperous. Lucky colours: blue, gold, green.

Ox - The second of the Zodiac signs, an Ox is said to have an honest personality. People born in the Year of the Ox are known for being diligent, dependable, strong, and determined. Though find it difficult to communicate. Lucky colours: white, yellow, green.

Tiger - Ranked third among the animals in the Chinese Zodiac, people born in the Year of the Tiger are brave, competitive, unpredictable, and confident. Confident, charming and well liked they sometimes possess a stubborn personality too. Lucky colours: blue, grey, orange.

Rabbit - Fourth of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals, rabbits tend to be of a more gentle nature. Quiet, elegant, kind, and patient, rabbits have many positive characteristics but can also be known to be superficial. Lucky colours: pink, red, purple, blue.

Dragon - Fifth in the order but widely seen as the most vital and powerful beast in the Chinese Zodiac. Hot-headed with a sharp tongue, people born in the Year of the Dragon are also said to be confident and intelligent, and natural leaders. Lucky colours: gold, silver, grey.

Snake - Intelligent and wise, the sixth animal of the Chinese Zodiac is the most enigmatic. Goal-orientated and hate to fail, people born in the Year of the Snake are supposed to be the most intuitive and a symbol of wisdom. Lucky colours: black, red, yellow.

Horse - People born in the Year of the Horse - the seventh animal of the Chinese Zodiac signs - are said to be active, animated and energetic. A lover of mass gatherings - sports events, live concerts, parties - horses crave the spotlight. Lucky colours: green, yellow.

Goat - A thoughtful animal - and the eighth in order - people born in the Year of the Goat are generally thought of as being gentle, mild-mannered, shy, sympathetic and incredibly kind-hearted. Creative and tough under the surface. Lucky colours: brown, red, purple.

Monkey - The ninth of 12 animals, monkeys are sharp, smart but also have a mischievous side to their personality. Thought to be masters of practical jokes, due to their playful nature, they are also fast learners and prefer urban life to a rural one. Lucky colours: white, blue, gold.

Rooster - Always active, amusing, and popular within a crowd, roosters are talkative, outspoken, frank, honest, and loyal. The 10th animal in the Chinese order, roosters expect to be listened to and their achievement acknowledged. Lucky colours: gold, brown, yellow.

Dog - Loyalty and honesty are two personality traits of those people born in the Year of the Dog. Kind, cautious, and prudent though communication is where they fall down, leading to others thinking they have a stubborn personality. Lucky colours: green, red, purple.

Pig - The last of the Zodiac animals in the Chinese calendar, pigs are diligent, compassionate, and generous. One of their strengths is their ability to concentrate and forge ahead to achieve their goals, though they are easily fooled. Lucky colours: yellow, grey, brown, gold.

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