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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey

Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey
February 8, 2016 - January 27, 2017

Here at Tarot Notes, I often write about astrology, another keen interest of mine. Mostly I write about Western astrology and the zodiac signs in that system. However, since the Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey began on February 8 of this year, I thought it might be fun to look into that a bit.

Unlike Western astrology, where we have twelve zodiac signs each year, in Chinese astrology we have just one sign that covers a 12-month period. Notice I didn’t say it covers “a year.” You see, the Chinese New Year does not start on January 1 like the Western New Year. It can begin anywhere from late January to mid-February – so people born in January or February need to be extra-careful about determining their Chinese zodiac sign.

In other words, those placemats you see in Chinese restaurants can be misleading for people with January or February birthdays. And it’s not 100% correct to say that 2016 (the entire year) is the Year of the Fire Monkey. This year (2016), the Chinese Year of the Fire Monkey begins on February 8 and ends on January 27, 2017. Therefore, only people born during that time frame are Fire Monkey people. A baby born between February 19, 2015, and February 7, 2016, is a Wood Goat (or Sheep or Ram, depending on what you decide to call it), NOT a Fire Monkey.

photo by Zanna Starr
Now that we have that straight, let’s look at how these signs are derived.

In Chinese astrology there are five elements: jin (metal), mu (wood), shui (water), huo (fire), tu (earth); and twelve animal signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

I’ve already explained that the animal signs cover a 12-month period beginning in late January or mid-February. Each animal sign is further divided into the five elements. Here is the breakdown for Monkey years:

Metal Monkey (1920, 1980)
Wood Monkey (1944, 2004)
Water Monkey (1932, 1992)
Fire Monkey (1956, 2016)
Earth Monkey (1908, 1968)

There is a whole lot more to Chinese astrology than this, but my purpose here is simply to give a very rough, broad overview to help my readers understand a little more about it.


  1. That was a very interesting and informative post Zanna ^_^ I never realised it didn't run for a whole 12 months

    1. And sometimes it runs a little over 12 months. For example, the New Year for 2014 began on Jan. 31, and the New Year for 2015 began on February 19.


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~ Zanna