If you’ve ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant, you’re probably at least a little familiar with the Chinese zodiac.  

On your placemat you see the 12 animals with years written underneath.  What a great conversation starter that is.  “What is your year / animal?”  

But what trips people up is the actual start date of the Chinese new year.  It’s not the same day every year because it is a LUNAR (moon-based) calendar.  The new year starts on the new moon in Aquarius (some time between January 20 – February 18) every year.  So if you were born in the beginning of January like me, your Chinese astrology sign is actually for the year before.  For example, if a baby was born this year on January 1st, they are not the Rooster, they are the Monkey year.  My mom thought for years I was a Snake, but I had to inform her that I am a Dragon!  How dare you insult the mighty Dragon!  I’m only kidding.  



Here’s another fun part:  if you want to find out how old someone is, just ask their Chinese sign, then, according to one of my teachers, Richard Teh-Fu Tan, “count their wrinkles.”  The Chinese zodiac repeats itself every 12 years.  Am I 28, 40 or 52?  Easy to tell, most of the time.  

2017 (starting on January 27th) is the Fire Rooster year.  

The “Fire” part is called the “stem” and the Rooster – associated with yin metal – is one of the “branches.”  There are 10 stems (yin and yang of each of the 5 elements) and 12 branches (the 12 animals), so 120 possible combinations.  Every 120 years, the cycle repeats.  


Yin metal – the element of the Rooster – is symbolic of the Lungs (the yin metal organ system), the emotion of sadness, the direction of the west, and the season of autumn.  

What does all that mean?

This year, if you tend to have lung problems which may include, but is not limited to:  allergies, asthma, skin rashes, coughs, colds, flu, bronchitis, COPD, or dry skin, you need to be extra careful of your health because in a fire year, your “metal” organ systems are more vulnerable.  

Fire – the stem of the year – has an antagonistic relationship to metal – the branch of the year.  

So pay extra caution to your lung and respiratory system.  Also use caution when traveling  as metal also rules airplanes, ships, and automobiles.  

The combination of metal and fire is the same as last year, so this year has a prediction of similar “fortune” for each person as the year before, 2016.  

This year is the yin fire, or “ding,” year.  Last year was the yang fire, “bing,” year.  Whereas yang fire is more confident, yin fire is more calculated and reserved.  Both fire types are, well, fun.  Fire years are fun years, generally, although with the conflict of metal, it tends to be more of an “interesting” time than a fun time.  But you may notice more parties, more fashion, and more joking around.  People may like to make bold moves and travel more.  People in fire years tend to spend more money.  The entertainment industry is strong in fire years.  

The rooster, whose natural element is yin metal, is known for its accuracy which may show in how they dress (very clean and neat), how they present themselves at work (very organized and productive), as well as in their pride of achievement.  After all, this is the rooster, and they need to strut around!  

happy new yearOh, and please let me know in the comments below:  what is YOUR Chinese sign and do you feel that it describes your personality?  Do you feel changes in energy when the Chinese new year starts?