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The Chinese Zodiac - or the twelve animal signs 

Clever Rat or patient Sheep? Don't worry – there is no good or bad animal sign even though the first impression looks like it...

Rat

The rat is the first animal sign in the Chinese zodiac and is well known for its fresh ideas. To start something new is one of its favourite tasks. Though keeping on track until the new idea is ready to come into fruition is not the rat’s cup of tea. Thinking over a problem until the solution is found is one of the rat's strengths, however the rat prefers that somebody else takes over putting the plan into action and does the hard work. Rats are intelligent and good entertainers, but sometimes not very suited to the daily routine.
Famous rats are: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Ox

The Ox is a strong minded animal who likes its routine. It has the ability to make imperfect things perfect and bring them to an end, rather than starting something from scratch. People born in the year of the ox are sociable, but prefer to be in their familiar circle of family and friends. If the ox is on its way, it would be hard to turn him around. Sometimes stubborn, he also has a good sense of humour.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born in the year of the ox. He perfected the music of his time without adding a lot of new things. Another famous ox is Barack Obama.

Tiger

The tiger won't tolerate another boss next to him – especially somebody who will tell him what to do. People born in a tiger year are very often strong characters with a certain kind of charisma.  They follow their way with fearlessness and tend to keep control over their territory. The tiger is able to work under pressure and has an aura of authority, which makes him the perfect leader.
Famous Tigers are Ludwig van Beethoven and Tom Cruise.

Rabbit

Rabbits are warm hearted and caring characters. The first impression might be a bit reserved but inside they have a strong will. Rabbit person have usually a good intuition and an inner force to help other people. Hence, many teachers and healers are born under the sign of the rabbit. Like the tiger, rabbits like to expand their territories, but in a less aggressive way.
Well known rabbits are Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and pope Benedikt XVI.

Dragon

A lot of Dragons rely on their luck which is not always advisable. They often have a good spiritual connection which they don't hide from the world. Dragons are good performers and they love being on stage. On the other hand they are also imaginative with a vivid fantasy. The dragon is the only non-existing animal in the Chinese zodiac which gives him an aura of magic.
Martin Luther King was born in the year of the dragon.

Snake

People say the snake is seductive and wise with a spiritual character like the dragon. Snakes have a quick mind and can be suspicious, especially when confronted with an unknown situation. Sometimes pretty jealous they do not want to share their loved-ones with the rest of the world. Without a lot of effort they climb up the ladder in their working life, because snakes always tend to be at the right place at the right time. 
Pablo Picasso and John Lennon were born in a snake year.

Horse

The horse symbolises the active yang power and represents the male part in a Chinese horoscope.  A strong will, the horse is known as a good and hard working person. Like the ox, the horse person is able to move on a great deal in life.  Liking sports, being with friends and sharing successes with team rather than getting a promotion purely for himself.
The German chancellor Angela Merkel and former boxer Muhammed Ali are horse characters.

Sheep

The yin partner of the horse is represented by the sheep and brings a gentle character to the Chinese animal signs. The sheep person likes it to be part of a flock and does its work without attracting much attention; they’re tidy with a hidden creative talent. To work on a regular basis is very important for the sheep.
Bischof Desmond Tutu and Michael Gorbatschow are famous sheeps.

Monkey

Monkeys have a vivid mind and the ability to turn difficult situations to their own favour. They are quick at repartee, smart and able to invent things. Even though the monkey gives the impression of being casual and easy he wants to be accepted as a serious person. Because of all his abilities the monkey tends to burn the candle on both sides taking on more than he can handle.
Magician David Copperfield is born in the year of the monkey.

Rooster

A person born in the year of the rooster are good businessmen, with a sense for actual trends and enough power inside them to reach their targets. Roosters are clever, exact and helpful but sometimes impatient. They are also known for their vanity and some extravagances. On the outside everything has to look perfect for the rooster even though the inside may well be totally opposite or head over heels.
Karl Lagerfeld is a typical example for a person born in a rooster year.

Dog

People born in the year of the dog really have their principles.  Honest and loyal, they have an instinct to protect their environment and sticking to the rules is one of the most important characteristics of the dog; who liking tidiness and regularities is always a little bit sceptical about new things and new ways.
Winston Churchill and king Carl Gustav of Sweden were born in a dog year.

Pig

The ability of the pig to make the best of every situation is very well known in the Chinese world. Pigs are very often practical and their home, family and friends get a good portion of their attention. They love having small parties at home rather than going out to other places all the time. Pigs are very caring and hard working people.
The Dalai Lama was born in the year of the pig.