Guardians of Time: A Journey Through the Vietnamese Zodiac

Guardians of Time: A Journey Through the Vietnamese Zodiac

Vietnamese Zodiac is an ancient and popular practice based on a twelve-year cycle, corresponding to the twelve animal signs and stars. The Vietnamese zodiac sign is highly honored and holds profound meaning, playing a crucial role in Vietnamese culture.

It is not merely used to represent a person's birth year but also influences their personality, career, marriage, and fortune. What Vietnamese zodiac sign are you, and what does it say about your personality? Read on to explore the Vietnamese Zodiac and learn more about your sign in 2024!

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Written by Trang Nguyen (Local Expert) Updated on 21-02-2024
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The Myth Behind The Origins of Vietnamese Zodiac

Legend has it that it was the Jade Emperor who named every animal in the world. And among them, he wanted to choose a worthy animal, using its name to represent each year. Every animal knowing the news was extremely excited to compete with each other.

The Mouse, with his comprehensive faculty, riding the ox across a river, surpassed other competitors like the Tiger, and then became the one to come first. The Rabbit's agility won fourth place, while the Dragon's attempt to save a village delayed its arrival.

Consequently, The Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, and Chicken crossed the river at the same time, claiming their positions of 6th to 10th. The Dog, although inherently good at swimming, hadn’t bathed for a long time so it became thrilled to play with water, which placed it 11th. And the Pig, who is known for eating and napping, arrived last.

The Cat as a Vietnamese stamp
 In the Vietnamese zodiac, the cat replaces the rabbit used in the Chinese zodiac

The race's finish line determined the order of the Vietnamese Zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Chicken, Dog, and Pig. The Cat used to bully the Mouse many times, which led to the Mouse’s animosity. When the Emperor started the race, the Mouse saw an opportunity for vengeance. The Cat asked the Mouse to wake him up for the race because it wanted to take a nap; however, it was tricked. The Mouse decided to leave earlier. After realizing it had been betrayed, but it was too late, a deep hostility between the two animals ensued, which is why cats always hunt for mice.

Another version suggests the Rat caused the Cat to fall into the river while crossing on the back of the Ox, explaining the reason why cats are scared of water.

“The Great Race" by Toma Nguyen

The Year 2024: The Year of the Dragon

The year 2023 was that of the Cat, and 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon, starting from February 10, 2024 (Lunar New Year) to January 28, 2025 (Lunar New Year). The dragon symbol embodies power, prosperity, and royalty in Asian culture, and the same for Vietnamese culture. Considered a metaphor of strength and luck, the dragon holds significant importance in Vietnamese beliefs and symbolism. Every year, to celebrate the New Year represented by an animal, the country will decorate with symbols of that animal. For instance, in the year 2024, you will see the image of dragon everywhere. 

>>> If you want to explore the Tet celebrations in 2024 and valuable tips for travelers, check out: A Traveler’s Handbook for Tet Holiday in 2024

The year 2024


In-Depth Exploration of Vietnamese Signs

To understand what a Vietnamese sign is, it is important to know that it is represented by 12 animals symbolizing the 12 earthly branches (or called "Chi" in Vietnamese). They were created to categorize the years and the unique attributes of Vietnamese personalities. Here are the 12 earthly branches represented by animals: the rat, the ox, the tiger, the cat, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the goat, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and the pig.
  

12 Vietnamese Zodiac
12 Vietnamese Zodiac

In ancient times, people said that the sign not only determined the fate of individuals but also influenced agricultural success and the prosperity of the entire nation. Nowadays, zodiac signs still accompany the Vietnamese throughout their lives, affecting their personalities, ideas, behaviors, fortune, and love compatibilities for marriage.
Among the 12 zodiac animals, the dragon is considered to be the most powerful. In countries celebrating the Lunar New Year, such as China, Vietnam, Singapore, etc., this animal is associated with luck and happiness. That's why many people prefer giving birth during the Year of the Dragon. According to statistics, the birth rate is exceptionally high during the Dragon year.

Lots of Children were born in the Year of Dragon
Lots of children were born in the Year of the Dragon

To accurately predict a person's personality, fortune, and future, the Vietnamese consider the combination of many elements: the 12 zodiac animals, the 10 heavenly stems ("Can" in Vietnamese), the 2 yin-yang elements (good and evil), the 5 elements (metal, wood, fire, water, and earth), and finally, the date and time of a person's birth.
This may seem strange and sometimes complex for non-Asian individuals, especially the concept of the connection between the sign and a person's destiny. If you wish to dive deeper into this traditional aspect of Vietnamese culture, read our article in the following manner: first, take a look at our table below to find your Vietnamese horoscope that matches your birth year, and then read directly about your sign.

Your animal based on Vietnamese zodiac signs
Which animal are you? Let us know!

The Meaning of Your Vietnamese Sign

Now that you know your Vietnamese zodiac sign, explore below the meaning of your sign and how it can influence your personality:

1. Character of the Rat in Vietnamese Zodiac:

Rat: Where there's activity, there are rats. Rats have a strong ability to adapt and survive. Those born in the Year of the Rat are vigorous and flexible to adjust to changing factors, and conditions. Very intelligent, creative, and hardworking, these individuals set clear goals in their careers and lives. When in contact with cheerful and easy-going people, rats hype up everyone’s mood at parties. Rats get along well with the Monkey and the Dragon but may struggle to communicate with the Horse, the Cat, and the Rooster.

  • Rat's strengths: Adaptable, quick-witted, optimistic, considerate, versatile, and extroverted.

  • Rat's weaknesses: Stubborn, picky, lack of perseverance.
The Rat in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Rat in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

2. Character of the Ox in Vietnamese Zodiac

Ox: In agriculture, diligent oxen are indispensable companions for farmers. Ox individuals are diligent and persistent. At work, oxen tend to be slow at the beginning, but once the plan is set, they will overcome difficulties to perform the tasks well. Their incredible endurance and serious work make them highly appreciated by colleagues. However, these individuals are not very good at communicating and expressing their emotions. They are not the most romantic but are very loyal to their partner. The Ox gets along well with the Snake and the Rooster but may encounter challenges with the Dragon, the Dog, and the Goat.

  • Ox's strengths: Cautious, calm, diligent, persevering, and honest.
  • Ox's weaknesses: Too cautious, unsociable, not very good at communicating.
The Ox in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Ox in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

3. Character of the Tiger in Vietnamese Zodiac:

Tiger: The king of the forest, the tiger is wild, brave, and powerful. Individuals with this sign are natural leaders with a dominant temperament. They love dominating and controlling the situation. They have a high self-esteem, making them independent and sometimes unapproachable. Very active and ambitious, tigers are persistent in completing their work. They are not afraid of facing difficulties and never give up on their tasks to complete missions. They are loyal but can be impatient. They love to communicate with others. Tigers form strong connections with the Horse and the Dog, but they may have barriers in their relationships with the Monkey, the Pig, and the Snake.

  • Tiger's strengths: Loyal, brave, loyal.
  • Tiger's weaknesses: Impatient, arrogant, dominating.
The Tiger in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Tiger in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

4. Character of the Cat in Vietnamese Zodiac

Cat: Meek, tender, and silent, the cat is undoubtedly one of the most adorable animals. Like the cat, individuals with this sign have gentle and sentimental personalities but can sometimes be selfish. Cats are very sensitive and can be easily hurt. Usually, they stay away from conflict and prefer to close their eyes when there is a dispute. These individuals are loyal and devoted to their partners. As friends, cats are kind, polite, and honest. They have a keen sense of responsibility and professionalism at work. There will be no ups and downs in their lives. Cats get along well with the Pig and the Goat but have difficulty with the Rat, the Horse, and the Rooster.

  • Cat's strengths: Gentle, friendly, virtuous.
  • Cat's weaknesses: Indecisive, shy, selfish. 
The Cat in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Cat in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

5. Character of the Dragon in Vietnamese Zodiac:

Dragon: This is a mythical creature in Asian culture, considered imperial, lucky, and all-powerful. Individuals born in the Year of the Dragon are intelligent and ambitious. They are very enthusiastic about realizing their dreams and goals, and are also courageous. However, when they encounter difficulties, they can be discouraged, demotivated, and no longer wish to take initiatives. Dragons get along well with the Monkey and the Rat but find it hard to communicate with the Dog, the Ox, and the Goat.

  • Dragon's strengths: Energetic, confident, ambitious, romantic, intelligent.
  • Dragon's weaknesses: Unstable, lack of perseverance.
The Dragon in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Dragon in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

6. Character of the Snake in Vietnamese Zodiac:

Snake: People born in the Year of the Snake are very calm. They are indifferent to strangers but become passionate and energetic when with close friends. The Snake often sheds its skin, adapting and venturing into a completely new habitat. Naturally suspicious, the Snake tends to hesitate before entering into a relationship. They have their own pace and way of life, which can be misunderstood by other signs. Snakes get along well with the Ox and the Rooster but do not get along with the Tiger, the Monkey, and the Pig.

  • Snake's strengths: Graceful, eloquent, sense of humor, determined.
  • Snake's weaknesses: Isolated, jealous, skeptical.
The Snake in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Snake in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

7. Character of the Horse in Vietnamese Zodiac: 

Horse: Individuals born in the Year of the Horse are dedicated and easy-going. They love social activities and enjoy natural popularity among their peers. Active, cheerful, and talkative, horses make many friends. Their talents and unstoppable spirit allow them to create a good image and achieve great things from a young age. The wheel of fortune generally turns for horses, but they tend to spend without saving for life's uncertainties. Horses get along well with the Tiger and the Dog but are not cooperative with the Rat, the Cat, and the Rooster.

  • Horse's strengths: Warm, patient, stable, independent.
  • Horse's weaknesses: Extravagant, inflexible.
The The Horse in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Horse in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

8. Character of the Goat in Vietnamese Zodiac:

Goat: People born in the Year of the Goat are very graceful in public and gentle. Sometimes they tend to be sensitive, pessimistic, and may have a submissive personality. With upright and warm friends, goats are generous in helping them. In some circumstances, goats can become brilliant artists and even creative pioneers. For them, family is precious. Goats harmonize with the Cat and the Pig, yet they do not get along with the Dragon, the Dog, and the Ox.

  • Goat's strengths: Gentle, considerate, reliable, hardworking, and economical.
  • Goat's weaknesses: Indecisive, shy, pessimistic.
The Goat in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Goat in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

9. Character of the Monkey in Vietnamese Zodiac:

Monkey: The monkey is the animal most resembling humans. People born in the Year of the Monkey are intelligent, inventive, and courageous. They adapt well to situations and are responsive. Monkeys wholeheartedly devote themselves to work that interests them while being indifferent to things they dislike. They are sincere friends, outspoken, and always ready to help. They are curious and have a strong taste for adventure as they seek to live a free life filled with new discoveries and experiences. Monkeys form positive connections with the Rat and the Dragon, while having less compatibility with the Tiger, the Snake, and the Pig.

  • Monkey's strengths: Intelligent, enthusiastic, confident, and adaptable.
  • Monkey's weaknesses: Jealous, arrogant, impatient, lack of perseverance, opportunistic.
The Monkey in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Monkey in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

10. Character of the Rooster in Vietnamese Zodiac:

Rooster: Individuals born under this sign are flamboyant and won’t hesitate to express themselves when they feel like it. Roosters are dedicated workers but hate routine. Highly sociable, they hold strong opinions and influence others. Their warmth and kindness make them very popular. They particularly enjoy travel and adventure. Active and energetic in life, roosters are also known for their sense of humor. Roosters get along well with the snake, and ox but struggle to communicate with the rat, cat, and horse.

  • Strengths of the Rooster: Ambitious, responsive, confident, extroverted, independent
  • Weaknesses of the Rooster: Selfish, impatient, overly critical, and confident
The Rooster in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Rooster in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

11. The Dog Sign in Vietnamese Zodiac

Dog: Dogs are loyal friends to humans, and individuals born in the Year of the Dog share this loyalty. Dogs have a keen sense of justice. They enjoy helping others, sometimes forgetting to care for their own interests. They have clear minds but may not express themselves well, leading them to be considered introverted or even stubborn. Dogs get along well with the tiger, and horse but do not get along with the dragon, ox, and goat.

  • Strengths of the Dog: Courageous, loyal, responsible, reliable, intelligent, perceptive
  • Weaknesses of the Dog: Impatient, poor communicator, stubborn, emotional
The Dog in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Dog in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

12. Character of the Pig Sign in Vietnamese Zodiac

Pig: Some may think that pigs are stupid, but in reality, these animals are intelligent, just like individuals born in the Year of the Pig. In the workplace, they are active, cautious, calm, and always focused on their tasks. Loyal and warm, these individuals have many friends. When facing life's ups and downs, one of their numerous friends will always go to their aid. Pigs easily trust others, which can lead them to be taken in and disappointed. Pigs get along well with the cat, and goat but do not harmonize with the tiger, monkey, and snake.

  • Strengths of the Pig: Warm, sincere, honest, optimistic, generous
  • Weaknesses of the Pig: Shy, credulous, jealous 
The Pig in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs
The Pig in the 12 Vietnamese Zodiac Signs

How Does the Vietnamese Sign Influence Daily Life?

From ancient times to the present day, some Vietnamese people attach great importance to the compatibility of signs, especially when it comes to marriage or significant professional aspects such as opening businesses. They believe that perfect compatibility between the signs of two individuals is potent for a happy marriage and a successful collaboration. Conversely, when signs are not compatible, it is perceived as potentially harmful for the couple or professional partnership.

Compatibility and Incompatibility Chart between Zodiac Animals (source: Lich Ngay Tot)
Compatibility and Incompatibility Chart between Zodiac Animals (source: Lich Ngay Tot)

The 12 zodiac animals are grouped into 4 sets, forming compatibility triads. These triads promote great harmony among individuals born under compatible signs. They facilitate positive relationships, marriages, and friendships, and support success and health:

  • Fire trio: Horse - Dog - Tiger.
  • Wood trio: Cat - Goat - Pig.
  • Water trio: Rat - Dragon - Monkey.
  • Metal trio: Rooster - Ox - Snake.

In contrast to harmonious groups, the four conflicting signs of the zodiac have opposing personalities, which can create tensions and difficulties when they interact. The distribution of the 12 zodiac animals is divided into 3 contradictory groups:

  • Group 1: Tiger – Monkey – Snake – Pig.
  • Group 2: Dragon – Dog – Ox – Goat.
  • Group 3: Rat – Horse – Cat – Rooster.

Here is a traditional overview of Vietnamese signs. Currently, taking reference to the partner's sign is less common among young couples. They increasingly view this custom as outdated and not appropriate to modern society. However, the Vietnamese sign remains an essential element of culture in many aspects of daily life.
Remember that happiness depends on your personal choices, not superstitions. Regardless of your sign, we wish you a happy and healthy life!


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