A giant lantern depicting a rooster is seen ahead of Spring Festival decorations at Yuyuan Garden, in Shanghai, China January 17, 2017. Reuters/Aly Song

Chinese New Year 2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster. Also known as the spring festival, the New Year will begin on January 28 this year. Per the Chinese astrology, the 12 zodiac signs represent animals and each year is dedicated to one of them. This year corresponds to Rooster.

The twelve animals that represent the Chinese Zodiac signs are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat or Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. While the past year was the Year of the Monkey, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. Similarly, 2018 will be the Year of the Dog.

Why these 12 animals?

It is said that when Buddha called all the animals on Earth, only 12 came. He then rewarded the animals each a year on the cycle and stated that children born in the particular year will gain the characteristics of the respective animal.

Furthermore, in order to rank the animals in the cycle of years, Buddha asked all of them to run in a race and reach across a river. Rat was ranked first and Pig came last.

Interestingly, Ox was the first to reach the finishing point technically. However, Rat was clever to climb on its back and finish the entire race along with him. As Ox was about to reach the finishing point, Rat jumped ahead and secured first position, according to China Family Adventure.

The five elements

There are five elements in the Chinese culture – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. All the elements have a 12-year cycle. The current cycle represents the element Fire. The element representing the year in which a person is born determines the lucky element of the person. Each element is associated with certain season, colour, direction as well as energy:

  • Wood: Spring, green, east, life (process of renewing life)
  • Fire: Summer, red, south, passion (enthusiasm)
  • Earth: last month of every season, yellow, centre, sympathetic (nurturing)
  • Metal: Autumn, white, west, guarded (private)
  • Water: Winter, black, north, Flexible (fluid)

The Year of the Fire Rooster

Chinese New Year 2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster. Since fire represents red colour, the year may also be known as the Year of the Red Rooster.

Roosters are confident, self-assured, perfectionists, proud and also a little eccentric. They are not only hard-working but also punctual. They are always eager to learn new things in life. Element Fire represents warmth, passion and brilliance.

Hence, Fire Roosters are “trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility,” according to The year 2017 will be a year of resolve as well as achievements for all. If some projects were being postponed from a very long time or if they were in mind, they will likely be accomplished this year.

However, one needs to stay focused as Fire Roosters also symbolise impatience (of getting all the tasks done). Hence, it is important in this Year of the Fire Rooster to stay focused and centric on one task at a time. Therefore, the year will be good but chaotic.

Read related: 2017 Year of the Rooster: 10 things to know about Chinese New Year