There’s a fascinating legend that determined them so.
Each Lunar New Year marks the start of a new Chinese zodiac year, which is represented by an animal. In Chinese culture, it is commonly believed that the year of your birth heavily influences your personality traits, physical attributes, and mental abilities — kind of like your astrological sign. Many believe your zodiac sign predicts your success in life and love. So, what are the most successful Chinese zodiac signs? Are you or your child one of the lucky few?
The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year tied to a different animal linked to distinct characteristics. To fully understand someone’s zodiac sign, you must know The Legend of the Great Race. In the tale from ancient China, the Jade Emperor declared that the first 12 animals to finish the race would have a calendar year named after them. “All animals of the kingdom were invited to participate in this event, which happened by chance during the emperor’s birthday,” Chinese astrologer Burcu Erim Dural tells Romper. “In order to win in the Zodiac Years and gain a permanent place, animals need to cross a fast streamed river and reach the designated point on the shore.” Even though the rat couldn't swim, he used his wits to convince the friendly ox to let him ride on his back. As soon as they had safely crossed to the other shore, the sneaky rat jumped off and sprinted across the finish line, winning the race. That is why the Rat ranks first on the calendar.
The other animals to finish (in order) were the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat (or sheep), the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and finally the pig. So, if you consider the results of the race, it would be easy to assume that the Rat, the Ox, and the Tiger would be seen as the most successful Chinese Zodiac signs. But not so fast!
It is actually the Dragon that claims the coveted spot of most successful sign — it’s linked to courage, ambition, and monetary success. The Rat and Ox come in second and third, respectfully, in terms of successful signs. Here's a closer look at the three most successful signs —the Dragon, the Rat, and the Ox — and what personality traits are commonly associated with each.
The Rat: 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
Though most people find rats repulsive, the Chinese zodiac holds this animal in higher esteem. “The word that defines people born on these dates is charm,” says Dural. The Rat sign represents wisdom and is linked to wit and intelligence.
“Their task is to reveal the truth in all its clarity. They don’t accept anything in secret. Therefore, their tasks are challenging, they are very harmonious, creative, agile, social, and intelligent,” explains Dural. The Rat is an extroverted, chatty character who won’t often be caught sitting still. Although the Rat is seen as something of a perfectionist, notes Dural, this sign is especially talented in areas of mathematics, music, planning, management, and the arts.
Lucky numbers for those under the Rat sign are 2 and 3.
The Ox: 2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
The Ox symbolizes diligence, industriousness, hard work, perseverance, virtue, and resilience in Chinese culture. If you're born under the Ox sign, you're typically considered hardworking, loyal, and patient. “The people of this sign are very trustworthy and honest,” notes Dural. “That’s why most people want their children to have this scholarship.” The Ox makes a great manager, but they don’t always come into positions of power, Dural says, because they’re not particularly excitable. Still, “the secret to the success of oxen is their hard work and patience. They are very successful in the business world as a result of their logic and planning,” he tells Romper. “They are prone to handicrafts and art.”
Lucky numbers for those under the Ox sign are 1 and 9.
Not sure what zodiac sign you are? All you need to know is your birthday and you can easily look it up online.
Burcu Erim Dural, Chinese astrologer
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