Pig (zodiac)

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Chinese paper cutting

The Pig () is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in Chinese zodiac, in relation to the Chinese calendar and system of horology, and paralleling the system of ten Heavenly Stems and twelve Earthly Branches. Although the term "zodiac" (etymologically referring to a "[circle of] little animals") is used in the phrase "Chinese zodiac", there is a major difference between the Chinese usage and Western astrology: the zodiacal animals (including the zodiacal Pig) do not relate to the zodiac as the area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south (as measured in celestial latitude) of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun, the Moon, and visible planets across the celestial sphere's constellations, over the course of the year.

Pig genus of even-toed ungulates

A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the even-toed ungulate family Suidae. Pigs include the domestic pig and its ancestor, the common Eurasian wild boar, along with other species. Related creatures outside the genus include the peccary, the babirusa, and the warthog. Pigs, like all suids, are native to the Eurasian and African continents. Juvenile pigs are known as piglets. Pigs are highly social and intelligent animals.

Animal kingdom of motile multicellular eukaryotic heterotrophic organisms

Animals are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and grow from a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development. Over 1.5 million living animal species have been described—of which around 1 million are insects—but it has been estimated there are over 7 million animal species in total. Animals range in length from 8.5 millionths of a metre to 33.6 metres (110 ft) and have complex interactions with each other and their environments, forming intricate food webs. The category includes humans, but in colloquial use the term animal often refers only to non-human animals. The study of non-human animals is known as zoology.

Chinese zodiac scheme that assigns an animal to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle

The Chinese zodiac is a classification scheme that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. The 12-year cycle is an approximation to the 11.85-year orbital period of Jupiter. It and its variations remain popular in many Asian countries and regions including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand.


In Chinese astrology, "zodiacal" animals refer to fixed cycles of twelve animals. The same cycle of twelve is used for cycles of years and cycles of hours. In the case of years, the cycle of twelve corresponds to the twelve-year cycle of Jupiter. In the case of the hours, the twelve hours represent twelve double-hours for each period of night and day. In the continuous sexagenary cycle of sixty years, every twelfth year corresponds to hai, (the twelfth of the twelve Earthly Branches); this re-recurring twelfth year is commonly called the Year of the Pig (豬年).

Chinese astrology

Chinese astrology is based on the traditional astronomy and calendars. The development of Chinese astrology is tied to that of astronomy, which came to flourish during the Han Dynasty.

Jupiter Fifth planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a giant planet with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two-and-a-half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants; the other two giant planets, Uranus and Neptune, are ice giants. Jupiter has been known to astronomers since antiquity. It is named after the Roman god Jupiter. When viewed from Earth, Jupiter can reach an apparent magnitude of −2.94, bright enough for its reflected light to cast shadows, and making it on average the third-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus.

The sexagenary cycle, also known as the Stems-and-Branches or ganzhi, is a cycle of sixty terms, each corresponding to one year, thus a total of sixty years for one cycle, used for reckoning time in China and the rest of the East Asian cultural sphere. It appears as a means of recording days in the first Chinese written texts, the Shang oracle bones of the late second millennium BC. Its use to record years began around the middle of the 3rd century BC. The cycle and its variations have been an important part of the traditional calendrical systems in Chinese-influenced Asian states and territories, particularly those of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, with the old Chinese system still in use in Taiwan.

There are five types of Pigs, named after the Chinese elements. In order, they are: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. These correspond to the Heavenly Stems. Thus, there are five pig years in every sexegenary cycle. For example, in the year 2019, the Earthly Branch is the twelfth, hài, and the Heavenly Stem is the sixth, . The Chinese New Year in 2019 is February fifth: this corresponds with the beginning of both the sexegenary year of hài and also the zodiac year of the Earth Pig.

<i>Wu Xing</i> Chinese five elements

The Wu Xing, also known as the Five Elements, Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Movements, Five Processes, the Five Steps/Stages and the Five Planets of significant gravity is the short form of "Wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì" (五種流行之氣) or "the five types of chi dominating at different times". It is a fivefold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs. The "Five Phases" are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. This order of presentation is known as the "mutual generation" sequence. In the order of "mutual overcoming", they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal.

Metal, the fourth phase of the Chinese philosophy of Wu Xing, is the decline of the matter, or the matter's decline stage. Metal is yin in character, its motion is inwards and its energy is contracting. It is associated with the autumn, the west, old age, the planet Venus, the color white, dry weather, and the White Tiger in Four Symbols. The archetypal metals are silver and gold.

In Chinese philosophy, water, is the low point of the matter, or the matter's dying or hiding stage. Water is the fifth stage of Wu Xing, the five elements.

In the Japanese zodiac [1] and the Tibetan zodiac, [2] the Pig is replaced by the boar. In the Dai zodiac, the Pig is replaced by the elephant. [3] In the Gurung zodiac, the Pig is replaced by the deer. [4]

Tibetan astrology is a traditional discipline of the Tibetan peoples that has dialogued with both Chinese astrology and Indian astrology. Tibetan astrology is one of the 'Ten Sciences' in the enumeration honoured by this cultural tradition.

Wild boar species of mammal

The wild boar, also known as the wild swine, Eurasian wild pig, or simply wild pig, is a suid native to much of Eurasia, North Africa, and the Greater Sunda Islands. Human intervention has spread its distribution further, making the species one of the widest-ranging mammals in the world, as well as the most widely spread suiform. Its wide range, high numbers, and adaptability mean that it is classed as least concern by the IUCN and it has become an invasive species in part of its introduced range. The animal probably originated in Southeast Asia during the Early Pleistocene, and outcompeted other suid species as it spread throughout the Old World.

The Dai people are one of several ethnic groups living in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, but by extension, the term can apply to groups in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar when Dai is used to mean specifically Tai Yai, Lue, Chinese Shan, Tai Dam, Tai Khao or even Tai in general. For other names, please see the table below.

Pig in the Chinese zodiac legend

According to the myths, the Pig was the last to arrive when the Jade Emperor called for the great meeting. Other sources said that Buddha called for a great meeting when he was about to leave the Earth. The Pig came in last.

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths.

Jade Emperor deity

The Jade Emperor in Chinese culture, traditional religions and myth is one of the representations of the first god. In Daoist theology he is the assistant of Yuanshi Tianzun, who is one of the Three Pure Ones, the three primordial emanations of the Tao. He is also the Cao Đài of Caodaism known as Ngọc Hoàng Thượng đế. In Buddhist cosmology he is identified with Śakra. In Korean mythology he is known as Haneullim.

Gautama Buddha the founder of Buddhism

Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali, ShakyamuniBuddha, or simply the Buddha, after the title of Buddha, was a monk (śramaṇa), mendicant, sage, philosopher, teacher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in the northeastern part of ancient India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.

Legend has it that just as the emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little Pig. The term "lazy Pig" is due here as the Pig got hungry during the race, promptly stopped for a feast then fell asleep. After the nap, the Pig continued the race and was named the 12th and last animal of the zodiac cycle. [5]

Chinese mythology mythology

Chinese mythology is mythology that has been passed down in oral form or recorded in literature in the geographic area now known as "China". Chinese mythology includes many varied myths from regional and cultural traditions. Chinese mythology is far from monolithic, not being an integrated system, even among just Han people. Chinese mythology is encountered in the traditions of various classes of people, geographic regions, historical periods including the present, and from various ethnic groups. China is the home of many mythological traditions, including that of Han Chinese and their Huaxia predecessors, as well as Tibetan mythology, Turkic mythology, Korean mythology, and many others. However, the study of Chinese mythology tends to focus upon material in Chinese language.

Zodiac celestial circle of twelve divisions centered upon the ecliptic

The zodiac is an area of the sky that extends approximately 8° north or south of the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year. The paths of the Moon and visible planets are also within the belt of the zodiac.

Other sources say that given his very stout form, he was just too slow a swimmer, and thus he could not do anything against the other animals.

Years and the Five Elements

The view of the Pig along the Coastal City of Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea Korea-Gyeongju-Bulguksa-Gilt bronze pig sculpture-01.jpg
The view of the Pig along the Coastal City of Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea

The Pig and the Elements

The natural element of the Pig is Water. Thus, it is commonly associated with emotions and intuitions. Yet, given that along with the elements (called the Celestial stem ), the animal zodiac (called the Earthly stem ) also follows a cycle, each of the elements affect the characteristic of the same Earthly stem (see Sexagenary cycle).

However, the Pig is yin, and thus only the negative aspects of the elements can be attached to them, thus only 5 kinds of Pigs are found in the zodiac. They are the following:

(yǐhài) – The Wood Pig
(dīnghài) – The Fire Pig
(jǐhài) – The Earth Pig
(xīnhài) – The Metal Pig
(guǐhài) – The Water Pig

The Years of the Pig

People born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the Pig", while bearing the following elemental sign: [6]

Since the Chinese zodiac follows the Lunar calendar, it does not coincide with the Gregorian calendar years or months. Thus, for example, people born on 9 February 1899 belong to the preceding zodiacal sign, the Dog; and, those people born on 31 January 1900 belong to the following zodiacal sign, the Rat). [7]

Start dateEnd dateHeavenly Branch
30 January 191117 February 1912 Metal Pig
16 February 19235 February 1924 Water Pig
4 February 193523 January 1936 Wood Pig
22 January 19479 February 1948 Fire Pig
8 February 195927 January 1960 Earth Pig
27 January 197114 February 1972 Metal Pig
13 February 19831 February 1984 Water Pig
31 January 199518 February 1996 Wood Pig
18 February 20076 February 2008 Fire Pig
5 February 201924 January 2020 Earth Pig
23 January 203110 February 2032 Metal Pig
10 February 204329 January 2044 Water Pig
28 January 205514 February 2056 Wood Pig
14 February 20672 February 2068 Fire Pig
2 February 207921 January 2020 Earth Pig
18 January 20916 February 2092 Metal Pig
4 February 210327 January 2104 Water Pig

Hour of the Pig

Similarly to the usage of the traditional Japanese clock, each hour of a day-night period was divided into 12 double-hours, each of which corresponding with one of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, with similar symbolic motif and astrological significance. The first of the twelve double hours encompasses midnight, at the middle of the double hour, corresponding with 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., with midnight being the midpoint of the first double-hour. The animals in the hourly sequence are the same and in the same order as in the yearly sequence. The Pig is the last in the sequence, corresponding to the double-hour 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., also known as the hour hai (亥). [8]

Hour of the Pig

Given that the day is composed of 24 hours, each sign is given to the different signs of the zodiac. The Pig is assigned to govern the time between 21:00 hrs to 22:59 hrs. According to tradition, this is the time when the Pig is doing what it does best (sleeping and enjoying the sweet life).

In terms of astrology, the hours in which people were born (technically termed as the Ascendant) are the second most important facet of their astrology. Thus, this alters greatly the characteristics. Even if people were born in any year governed by another animal (for example, anyone born on 20 December 2000, i.e. year of the Dragon) will display strong characteristics of the Pig. Thus, they may be fierce and strong like the Dragon, but at the same time emotional and intuitive like the Pig.


SignBest MatchAverageNo Match
PigPig, Rabbit, Goat Dog, Tiger, Horse, Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Rooster, Ox Snake

Relationship with other signs

The Pig belongs to the fourth Trine of the Chinese zodiac. It is most compatible with the Rabbit. The gentle and sensitive Goat is most compatible with the Pig. Two Pigs can get along well with each other. It is said that the relationship between these three archetypes work best as they strive for aestheticism, beauty, and a more philosophical, and intellectual approach in life. Their calm nature gives them great leadership abilities.

They are artistic, refined, intuitive, intelligent, and well-mannered. These souls love the preliminaries in love, and are fine artists in their lovemaking. The Rabbit, Goat, and Pig have been bestowed with calmer natures than the other nine signs.

These three are compassionately aware, yet detached and resigned to their condition. They seek beauty and a sensitive love. They are caring, unique, self-sacrificing, obliging, sensible, creative, empathetic, tactful, and prudent. They can also be naive, pedantic, insecure, cunning, indecisive, and pessimistic.

The Snake is said to be incompatible with the Pig, and is the opposite from that of the reserved and contemplative Snake.

Basic astrology elements

Earthly Branches:Hai
The Five Elements: Water
Yin Yang:Yin
Lunar Month:Tenth
Lucky Numbers:2, 5, 6, 8; Avoid: 3, 4, 9
Lucky Flowers: lily
Lucky Colors:yellow; Avoid: red, blue

Cultural notes

Some Chinese Muslims will say that they were born in the year of the hai (twelfth and final year of the zodiac) to avoid saying the "Pig". [9] This is because pigs are haram (forbidden to eat) in Islam and therefore Muslims consider pigs unclean.

Increasing numbers of countries and regions now issue lunar new year stamps. For the 2019 Year of the Pig, the USC U.S.-China Institute collected stamps from 56 jurisdictions. [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

Horoscope astrological chart or diagram

A horoscope is an astrological chart or diagram representing the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, astrological aspects and sensitive angles at the time of an event, such as the moment of a person's birth. The word horoscope is derived from Greek words hõra and scopos meaning "time" and "observer". Other commonly used names for the horoscope in English include natal chart, astrological chart, astro-chart, celestial map, sky-map, star-chart, cosmogram, vitasphere, radical chart, radix, chart wheel or simply chart. It is used as a method of divination regarding events relating to the point in time it represents, and it forms the basis of the horoscopic traditions of astrology.

Rabbit (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Rabbit () is the fourth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rabbit is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .

Dragon (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Dragon is the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dragon is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 辰, pronounced chen.

Tiger (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Tiger (寅) is the third of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Tiger is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 寅.

Dog (zodiac) Sign of Chinese zodiac

The Dog () is eleventh of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dog is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 戌. The character 狗, also refers to the actual animal while 戌, also refers to the zodiac animal.

Snake (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Snake (蛇) is the sixth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Snake is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 巳.

Goat (zodiac) Sign in the Chinese zodiac

The Goat is the eighth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. This zodiacal sign is often referred to as the "Ram" or "Sheep" sign, since the Chinese word yáng is more accurately translated as Caprinae, a taxonomic subfamily that includes both goats and sheep, but contrasts with other animal subfamily types such as Bovinae, Antilopinae, and other taxonomic considerations which may be encountered in the case of the larger family of Bovidae in Chinese mythology, which also includes the Ox (zodiac). The Year of the Goat is associated with the 8th Earthly Branch symbol, (wèi).

Monkey (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Monkey () is the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Monkey is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .

Ox (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Ox () is the second of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Ox is denoted by the Earthly Branch symbol 丑. The name is translated into English as Cow.

Rat (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Rat () is the first of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rat is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .

Earthly Branches East Asian system of 12 ordinals

The twelve Earthly Branches or Terrestrial Branches are an ordering system used throughout East Asia in various contexts, including its ancient dating system, astrological traditions, and zodiac.

Astrological sign twelve 30° sectors of the ecliptic, as defined by Western astrology

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"Age of Aquarius" is an astrological term denoting either the current or forthcoming astrological age, depending on the method of calculation. Astrologers maintain that an astrological age is a product of the earth's slow precessional rotation and lasts for 2,160 years, on average.

Sun sign astrology form of astrology, commonly found in newspapers, which considers only the position of the Sun at birth, placed within one of the twelve zodiac signs, which is then related to the current movements of all the planets

Sun sign astrology is the form of astrology most commonly found in many newspaper and magazine columns. It is a simplified system of astrology which considers only the position of the Sun at birth, which is said to be placed within one of the twelve zodiac signs. This sign is then called the sun sign or star sign of the person born in that twelfth-part of the year.

In Chinese astrology, the symbolic stars represent different relations of the specific positions and interactions of the heavenly stems and earthly branches.

Rooster (zodiac) Sign of the Chinese zodiac

The Rooster is the tenth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rooster is represented by the Earthly Branch symbol 酉. The name is translated into English as Chicken.


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  8. Gillette, Maris Boyd (2002). Between Mecca And Beijing. Stanford: Stanford University Press. p. 124 via Google Book Search.
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Further reading