Snake (zodiac)

The Snake () 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 .[1]

According to one legend, there is a reason for the order of the 12 animals in the 12-year cycle. The story goes that a race was held to cross a great river, and the order of the animals in the cycle was based upon their order in finishing the race. In this story, the Snake compensated for not being the best swimmer by hitching a hidden ride on the Horse's hoof, and when the Horse was just about to cross the finish line, jumping out, scaring the Horse, and thus edging it out for sixth place.

The same 12 animals are also used to symbolize the cycle of hours in the day, each being associated with a two-hour time period. The "hour" of the Snake is 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., the time when the Sun warms up the Earth, and Snakes are said to slither out of their holes. The "month" of the Snake is 5 May to 5 June.

The reason the animal signs are referred to as zodiacal is that one's personality is said to be influenced by the animal signs ruling the time of birth, together with elemental aspects of the animal signs within the sexagenary cycle. Similarly, the year governed by a particular animal sign is supposed to be characterized by it, with the effects particularly strong for people who were born in any year governed by the same animal sign.

In Chinese symbology, Snakes are regarded as intelligent, but with a tendency to be somewhat unscrupulous.[2]

Years and the Five Elements

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

Start dateEnd dateHeavenly branch
4 February 190524 January 1906Wood Snake
23 January 191710 February 1918Fire Snake
10 February 192929 January 1930Earth Snake
27 January 194114 February 1942Metal Snake
14 February 19532 February 1954Water Snake
2 February 196520 January 1966Wood Snake
18 February 19776 February 1978Fire Snake
6 February 198926 January 1990Earth Snake
24 January 200111 February 2002Metal Snake
10 February 201330 January 2014Water Snake
29 January 202516 February 2026Wood Snake
15 February 20373 February 2038Fire Snake
2 February 204922 January 2050Earth Snake
21 January 20618 February 2062Metal Snake
7 February 207326 January 2074Water Snake
26 January 208513 February 2086Wood Snake
12 February 209731 January 2098Fire Snake

Note that in Japan the new sign of the zodiac starts on 1 January, while in China it starts, according to the traditional Chinese calendar, at the new moon that falls between 21 January and 20 February, so that persons born in January or February may have two different signs in the two countries.


Sign Best Match/ Balance (2nd Trine Group) Average No Match/ Rival-Enemy-Obstacle (Opposite Sign)
SnakeSnake, Rooster, OxDragon, Monkey, Rat, Dog, Tiger, Horse, Rabbit, GoatPig

Cycle: (Trine Group) Snake needs Rooster, Rooster needs Ox, Ox needs Snake; (Opposite Sign) but her rival opposes the Pig.

Basic astrology elements

Earthly Branches:Si
The Five Elements:Fire
Yin Yang:Yin
Lunar Month:Fourth
Lucky Numbers:2, 8, 9; Avoid: 1, 6, 7
Lucky Flowers:orchid, cactus
Lucky Colors:red, light yellow, black; Avoid: white, golden, brown[3]

The Snake is the 6th of the 12 signs and belongs to the Second Trine, together with the Ox (2nd sign, 牛, Earthly Branch: 丑) and the Rooster (10th sign, 雞/鷄 [simplified Chinese: 鸡], Earthly Branch: 酉), with which it is most compatible.

Depictions of zodiacal Snakes either solo or in group context with the other eleven zodiacal creatures shows how they have been imagined in the calendrical context.

See also


  1. Snake Horoscope Information Archived 2013-02-17 at Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  2. Eberhard, sub "Snake (She)", p. 268.
  3. "Chinese Zodiac - Snake". Your Chinese Astrology. Retrieved 14 March 2018.


  • Eberhard, Wolfram (2003 [1986 (German version 1983)]), A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought. London, New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-00228-1
  • Vietnam Veterans for Factual History. Indochina in the Year of the Snake, 1965. p. 288. ISBN 9781929932658.
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