There are two dates a Chinese zodiac year could be said to start:

  • Chinese New Year – day 1 of the lunar year
    Falls somewhere between January 21 and February 20.
  • Start of Spring – day 1 of the solar year
    Falls somewhere between  February 3 and February 5.

The year of the Ox (sometimes referred to as the Cow) begins  February 12th, 2021 (Chinese lunar New Year Day) and lasts until January 31st, 2022. This will be a White Metal Ox year.

Most Chinese people use lunar new year as the start of the zodiac year. But for professional fortune telling, Chinese astrologers use ‘Start of Spring’ or solar new year as the beginning of the zodiac year.

The first month of the Chinese zodiac year is the Tiger Month. That starts when the sun enters the 315th degree on the tropical zodiac. Therefore, this is a solar calendar. The Tiger Month always begins around February 4 each year. The Chinese Astrology birth chart is built by the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, not the Chinese lunar calendar.

  • Rat Month: December 7 (2020) – January 4
  • Cow Month: January 5 – February  2
  • Tiger Month: February 3 –  March 4
  • Rabbit Month: March 5 – April 3
  • Dragon Month: April 4 – May 4
  • Snake Month: May 5 – June 4
  • Horse Month: June 5 – July 6
  • Sheep Month: July 7 – August 6
  • Monkey Month: August 7 – September 6
  • Chicken Month: September 7 – October 7
  • Dog Month: October 8 – November 6
  • Pig Month: November 7 – December 6
  • Rat Month: December 7 – January 4 (2022)

Chinese New Year Day is the first lunar day of the first Chinese lunar month. That means the new moon day is the first lunar day. The new moon day could fall to different day in different time zones. Therefore, 2021 lunar months may be different between China and USA time zones.

  • 1st Lunar Month – Tiger Month
    February 12, 2021 to March 12, 2021
  • 2nd Lunar Month – Rabbit Month
    March 13, 2021 to April 11, 2021
  • 3rd Lunar Month – Dragon Month
    April 12, 2021 to May 11, 2021
  • 4th Lunar Month – Snake Month
    May 12, 2021 to June 9, 2021
  • 5th Lunar Month – Horse Month
    June 10, 2021 to July 9, 2021
  • 6th Lunar Month – Sheep Month
    July 10, 2021 to August 7, 2021
  • 7th Lunar Month – Monkey Month
    August 8, 2021 to September 6, 2021
  • 8th Lunar Month – Chicken Month
    September 7, 2021 to October 5, 2021
  • 9th Lunar Month – Dog Month 
    October 6, 2021 to November 4, 2021
  • 10th Lunar Month – Pig Month
    November 5, 2021 to December 3, 2021
  • 11th Lunar Month – Rat Month
    December 4, 2021 to January 2, 2022
  • 12th Lunar Month – Cow/Ox Month
    January 3, 2021 to February 11, 2022

Solar Calendar – For Farmers

The Chinese calendar combines the lunar and solar systems together. The lunar calendar is the cycle of the moon. The solar calendar divides the year into 24 solar segments according to the sun positions on the tropical zodiac (Similar to western astrology). Each segment’s name was given for ancient Chinese farmers’ use.

  • Little Cold begins January 5
  • Severe Cold begins January 20
  • Start of Spring begins February 3
  • Rain Water begins February 18
  • Excited Insects begins March 5
  • Vernal Equinox begins March 20
  • Clear and Bright begins April 4
  • Grain Rains begins at April 20
  • Start of Summer begins May 5
  • Grain Fills begins May 21
  • Grain in Ear begins June 5
  • Summer Solstice begins June 21
  • Slight Heat begins July 7
  • Great Heat begins July 22
  • Start of Autumn begins August 7
  • Still Hot begins August 23
  • White Dew begins September 7
  • Autumnal Equinox begins September 23
  • Cold Dew begins October 8
  • Frost Descends begins October 23
  • Start of Winter begins November 7
  • Light Snow begins November 22
  • Heavy Snow begins December 7
  • Winter Solstice begins December 22

Chinese Festivals and Holidays

  • Chinese New Year is on February 12, 2021.
    (1st lunar day of 1st lunar month)
  • Chinese Lantern Festival is on February 26, 2021.
    (15th lunar day of 1st lunar month)
  • Ching-Ming/Tomb Sweeping Day is on April 4, 2021
  • Chinese Dragon Boat Festival is on June 14, 2021.
    (5th lunar day of 5th lunar month)
  • Chinese Valentine Day is on August 14, 2021.
    (7th lunar day of 7th lunar month)
  • Chinese Ghost Festival is on August 22, 2021.
    (15th lunar day of 7th lunar month)
  • Chinese Ghost Month is from August 8, 2021 to September 7, 2021
  • Chinese Moon Festival is on September 21, 2021.
    (15th lunar day of 8th lunar month)
  • Chinese Elder’s Day is on October 14, 2021.
    (9th lunar day of 9th lunar month)

The “Chinese Zodiac” in Other Countries

The Chinese zodiac has a great influence on several Asian countries, such as the Koreas, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and Myanmar. In some countries, the zodiac signs are the same as the Chinese ones, while some of the animals differ in other countries.

The 12 Chinese zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. These animal signs are exactly the same in South Korea, North Korea, Singapore, and Cambodia.

The Japanese 12 zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.

The Vietnamese 12 zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Buffalo, Tiger, Cat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

The Thai 12 zodiac animals in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Naga (a mythical half-human-half-snake spirit), Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

The Burmese 8 zodiac animals are: Garuda (a mythical bird), Tiger, Lion, Elephant (with tusks), Rat, Guinea Pig, and Dragon.

Sources:

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