Which Lunar New Year animal are you like?

Learn about the animals that inspired the Chinese zodiac signs.

In many places, January 1 is "day one" of the new year, based on a calendar that follows the Earth’s movement around the sun. But the lunar calendar—upon which the Lunar New Year is based—tracks time by the moon cycles. That’s why people all over the world celebrate it on different days each year.

According to the Chinese calendar, the year you were born might determine your personality. That’s because each year is represented by an animal, called a Chinese zodiac sign, and legend has it that people born under that sign have similar traits to the animal. (The year 2023—starting January 22—is the Year of the Rabbit.)

These ancient zodiac signs probably weren’t based on real animal species. "For most of them, except the dragon, we refer to the animals in a more general sense,” says linguistics professor Zhichang Xu of Monash University in Australia, who is also an expert on Chinese culture. “These are pretty much characters rather than ‘animals.’”

Learn more about Lunar New Year at National Geographic.