Chinese Astrology Tattoo Guide

April 12, 2023by Milena Petrovic

Unlike the western zodiac, Chinese astrology isn’t based on the time of year you’re born. Instead, it’s based on the year itself.

Beginning and ending at Chinese New Year, cycles of 12 years represent a specific Chinese zodiac sign. 

According to tradition, each year’s animal relates to specific attributes.

If you’re born in a specific year, these characteristics are likely to be found in your personality and nature.

Not only does your Chinese astrology connect you to ancestors and those in your generation, but it’s also a window into your soul.

Chinese zodiac tattoo designs are a way to explore these meanings in your everyday life, expressing yourself for who you truly are.

What Is Chinese Astrology Origin?

Believe it or not, it’s not possible to pinpoint the exact date when the Chinese zodiac began.

Historians estimate it was created during the Han Dynasty, as far back as 206 BC.

That makes Chinese astrology over 2000 years old, and it’s still popular today. 

Chinese astrology is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, a way of tracking time that dates back to the 14th century BC.

The first Chinese emperor invented this calendar, and it’s based on the cycles of the moon – that’s why it’s called the “lunar” calendar.

When it first started, this was a practical way to count the days, months, and years. 

How does Chinese Astrology Work?

To understand how Chinese astrology works, it helps to travel back to the first Chinese emperor.

Known as the Jade Emperor, he wanted to choose 12 animals to act as his guards.

He had all creatures on Earth participate in a race, and the final order in his race is the order found in the Chinese zodiac calendar. 

All of the animals in the Chinese zodiac have close ties to ancient life.

Though the story might seem far-fetched, it’s a way to see the world through a natural lens. Even today, people view these zodiac predictions with a lot of weight.

They often form the foundation for friendships, romantic relationships, lifestyle choices, and more. 

Your Chinese zodiac sign is based on the year you were born.

Working in 12-year cycles, the animals repeat themselves over and over, creating the patterns we come to know throughout generations.

In the Chinese zodiac, some signs are seen as luckier than others.

If you’re aligned with the dragon, snake, pig, rat, and tiger, you might just stumble into bouts of good luck more easily. However, most of this is just superstition.

Though it might help you express yourself, your personality is dependent on much more than the date on the calendar. 

A Chinese zodiac tattoo shares who you are as a person.

If you feel a deep connection to your birth year or sign, this is a unique way to share something about yourself.

Unlike Western astrology or Celtic astrology, these animal signs are based on archetypes, ancient myths, and the lunar calendar.

Influencing people for thousands of years, it’s fascinating to see these myths alive and well in the zodiac today.

Continue reading below to discover your unique Chinese astrology sign and what it means for you.

The 12 Chinese Astrology Signs

Discover the Chinese zodiac sign associated with your birth year.

This animal might reveal more about your personality than you expect.

Use a Chinese Zodiac calculator to discover your animal sign. 

  • Rat: The rat earned first place in the ancient Emperor’s challenge, and it got there through cunning, intelligence, and charm. Those with this first sign feel a lot of pride. 
  • Ox: Very determined and patient, the Ox is seen as one of the most hardworking signs. However, this is amongst one of the most unlucky signs in the Chinese zodiac. 
  • Tiger: Adventurous and strong, this is a lucky year to be born.
  • Rabbit: Those born in this year are smart, kind, and friendly. 
  • Dragon: Considered one of the luckiest signs, these signs are very popular. These signs are warm and enthusiastic.
  • Snake: Another popular sign, snakes are curious and wise — though they can have a jealous streak. 
  • Horse: Considered one of the most influential signs, horses are natural leaders and are known for their generosity. 
  • Goat: This is one of the zodiac signs many try to avoid, though this superstition is becoming outdated. Seen as unlucky, those who are goats are more likely to be followers than leaders. 
  • Monkey: One of the most lovable, fun, social signs, these are likable signs that get along well with almost every other sign. 
  • Rooster: Like the morning rooster on a farm, roosters are reliable and consistent. As people, they also tend to be brave and entertaining. 
  • Dog: Just as dogs are man’s best friend, this is a highly-likable sign. Known for loyalty and playfulness, this is one of the most popular signs. 
  • Pig: Finally, the pig is a fun-loving, happy, and direct sign. Though it comes last in the calendar, it’s said to bring wealth and new opportunities.

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Milena Petrovic


Having been in the tattoo business for years, I decided to combine it with my other passion – astrology to create a custom zodiac tattoo design project for my fellow spiritual people. Here I write about amazing zodiac tattoos I find online and analyze the meanings.

Feel free to find me on Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook – I am the person in the DMs, so don’t be shy.