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The Chinese Zodiac: Fruits Basket Style!

The curse of the Chinese zodiac which plagues the members of the Sohma family in Fruits Basket is based on the ancient Chinese cyclical calendar. On this page I've posted information about how the zodiac works and the origin of its animal signs. And of course, I've put individual facts about each of the unique zodiac animals ^_^ Enjoy!

(Note: Information for this page was taken from The Chinese Zodiac Page)

Background Information and Origins

The Chinese animal signs are a 12-year cycle used for dating the years. They represent a cyclical concept of time, rather than the Western linear concept of time. The Chinese Lunar Calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and is constructed in a different fashion than the Western solar calendar. In the Chinese calendar, the beginning of the year falls somewhere between late January and early February. The Chinese have adopted the Western calendar since 1911, but the lunar calendar is still used for festive occasions such as the Chinese New Year. Many Chinese calendars will print both the solar dates and the Chinese lunar dates.

In the United States, the years are dated from the birth of Jesus Christ, for example, 1977 means 1,977 years after the birth of Christ. This represents a linear perception of time, with time proceeding in a straight line from the past to the present and the future. In traditional China, dating methods were cyclical, cyclical meaning something that is repeated time after time according to a pattern. A popular folk method which reflected this cyclical method of recording years are the Twelve Animal Signs. Every year is assigned an animal name or "sign" according to a repeating cycle: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. Therefore, every twelve years the same animal name or "sign" would reappear.

A cultural sidelight of the animal signs in Chinese folklore is that horoscopes have developed around the animal signs, much like monthly horoscopes in the West have been developed for the different moon signs, Pisces, Aries, etc. For example, a Chinese horoscope may predict that a person born in the Year of the Horse would be, "cheerful, popular, and loves to compliment others." These horoscopes are amusing, but not regarded seriously by the Chinese people.

The animal signs also serve a useful social function for finding out people's ages. Instead of asking directly how old a person is, people often ask what is his or her animal sign. This would place that person's age within a cycle of 12 years, and with a bit of common sense, we can deduce the exact age. More often, though, people ask for animal signs not to compute a person's exact numerical age, but to simply know who is older among friends and acquaintances.

The Rat

1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996

Ambitious and sincere, people born in the Year of the Rat are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex. They work hard to achieve their goals, acquire possessions, and are likely to be perfectionists. They are basically thrifty with money. Rat people are easily angered and love to gossip. Their ambitions are big, and they are usually very successful. They are most compatible with people born in the years of the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox. Their opposite is the Horse.

If were born in the Year of the Rat, your Fruits Basket character is: Yuki!

The Ox

1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997

People born in the Year of the Ox are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. Bright and cheerful, they tend, however, to be eccentric, and bigoted, and they anger easily. They have fierce tempers and although they speak little, when they do they are quite eloquent. Ox people are mentally and physically alert. Generally easy-going, they can be remarkably stubborn, and they hate to fail or be opposed. They are most compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people. Their opposite is the Sheep.

If were born in the Year of the Ox, your Fruits Basket character is: Hatsuharu!

The Tiger

1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998

Tiger people are forthright, sensitive, given to deep thinking, and capable of great sympathy. They can be extremely short-tempered, however. Other people have great respect for them, but sometimes tiger people come into conflict with older people or those in authority. Also, Tiger people sometimes cannot make up their minds, which can result in a poor, hasty decision or a sound decision arrived at too late. They are suspicious of others, but they are courageous and powerful. Tigers are most compatible with Horses, Dragons, and Dogs. Their opposite is the Monkey.

If were born in the Year of the Tiger, your Fruits Basket character is: Kisa!

The Rabbit

1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999

People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, affectionate, talented, ambitious and are often seekers of tranquility. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious and they never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog. Their opposite is the Rooster.

If were born in the Year of the Rabbit, your Fruits Basket character is: Momiji!

The Dragon

1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000

People born in the Year of the Dragon are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered, stubborn and often lead complex lives. Robust and passionate, they are also honest, sensitive, brave, and they inspire confidence and trust. Dragon people are the most eccentric of any in the eastern zodiac. They neither borrow money nor make flowery speeches, but they tend to be soft-hearted which sometimes gives others an advantage over them. They are compatible with Rats, Snakes, Monkeys, and Roosters. Their opposite is the Dog.

If were born in the Year of the Dragon, your Fruits Basket character is: Hatori!

The Snake

1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001

People born in the Year of the Snake are deep, strong-willed, and intense. They say little and possess great wisdom. They never have to worry about money; they are financially fortunate. Snake people are often quite vain, selfish, and a bit stingy. Yet they have tremendous sympathy for others and try to help those less fortunate. Snake people tend to overdo, since they have doubts about other people's judgment and prefer to rely on themselves. They are determined in whatever they do and hate to fail. Although calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate. Snake people are usually good-looking and sometimes have marital problems because they are fickle. They are most compatible with the Ox and Rooster. Their opposite is the Boar.

If were born in the Year of the Snake, your Fruits Basket character is: Ayame!

The Horse

The Horse of the Fruits Basket zodiac, Rin Sohma, never made an appearance in the anime so I coudn't make a screencap of her. Instead, I drew my own idea of what she might look like ^_^

1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002

People born in the Year of the Horse are physically attractive, popular, and like the company of others. They are cheerful, skillful with money, and perceptive, although they sometimes talk too much. They are wise, talented, good with their hands, and sometimes have a weakness for members of the opposite sex. They are impatient and hot-blooded about everything except their daily work. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are very independent and rarely listen to advice. They are most compatible with Tigers, Dogs, and Sheep. Their opposite is the Rat.

If were born in the Year of the Horse, your Fruits Basket character is: Rin!

The Sheep

1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003

People born in the Year of Sheep enjoy being private people and are often aesthetic, elegant, and highly accomplished in the arts. They seem to be, at first glance, better off than those born in the zodiac's other years. But Sheep year people are often shy, pessimistic, and puzzled about life. They are usually deeply religious, yet timid by nature. Sometimes clumsy in speech, they are always passionate about what they do and what they believe in. Sheep people never have to worry about having the best in life, for their abilities make money for them and they are able to enjoy the creature comforts that they like. Sheep people are wise, gentle, and compassionate. They are compatible with Rabbits, Pigs, and Horses. Their opposite is the Ox.

If were born in the Year of the Sheep, your Fruits Basket character is: Hiro!

The Monkey

1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004

Persuasive and intelligent, people born in the Year of the Monkey are the erratic geniuses of the cycle. Clever, skillful, and flexible, they are remarkably inventive and original and can solve the most difficult problems with ease. There are few fields in which Monkey people wouldn't be successful but they have a disconcerting habit of being too agreeable. They want to do things now, and if they cannot get started immediately, they become discouraged and sometimes leave their projects. Although good at making decisions, they tend to look down on others. Having common sense, Monkey people have a deep desire for knowledge and have excellent memories. Monkey people are strong willed but their anger cools quickly. They are most compatible with the Dragon and Rat. Their opposite is the Tiger.

If were born in the Year of the Monkey, your Fruits Basket character is: Ritsu!

The Rooster

1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

The Rooster of the Fruits Basket zodiac, Kureno Sohma, never made an appearance in the anime so I coudn't make a screencap of him Instead, I drew my own idea of what he might look like ^_^

People born in the Year of the Rooster have a pioneering spirit. They are deep thinkers, seeking wisdom and truth, and are capable as well as talented. They like to be busy and are devoted beyond their capabilities and are deeply disappointed if they fail. People born in the Rooster Year are often a bit eccentric, and usually have rather difficult relationships with others. They always think they are right and usually are! They frequently are loners and though they give the outward impression of being adventurous, they are timid. Rooster people's emotions, like their fortunes, swing very high to very low. They can be selfish and too outspoken, but are always interesting and can be extremely brave. They are most compatible with the Ox, Snake, and Dragon. Their opposite is the Rabbit.

If were born in the Year of the Rooster, your Fruits Basket character is: Kureno!

The Dog

1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They work well with others, have a deep sense of loyalty, are honest, generous, and inspire other people's confidence because they know how to keep secrets. But Dog People are somewhat selfish, terribly stubborn, and eccentric. They care little for wealth, yet somehow always seem to have money. They can be cold emotionally and sometimes distant at parties. They can find fault with many things and are noted for their sharp tongues. However, Dog people make good leaders. They are compatible with those born in the Years of the Horse, Tiger, and Rabbit. Their opposite is the Dragon.

If were born in the Year of the Dog, your Fruits Basket character is: Shigure!

The Boar

1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

People born in the Year of the Boar are chivalrous, noble, and gallant. Whatever they do, they do with all their strength. For Boar Year people, there is no left or right and there is no retreat. They have tremendous fortitude and great honesty. They don't make many friends but they make them for life, and anyone having a Boar Year friend is fortunate, for they are extremely loyal. They don't talk much but have a great thirst for knowledge. They study a great deal and are generally well informed. Boar people are quick tempered, yet they hate arguments and quarreling. Also, they are kind to their loved ones. No matter how bad problems seem to be, Boar people try to work them out honestly, if sometimes, impulsively. They are most compatible with Rabbits and Sheep. Their opposite is the Snake.

If were born in the Year of the Boar, your Fruits Basket character is: Kagura!

The Cat?

Anyone who's seen Fruits Basket knows that the poor cat is not a "true" member of the zodiac. The reason for this goes back to an old Chinese folk tale in which the animals were assigned to the cycle of years. A long long time ago, the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals together to determine their order in the yearly cycle. When the Cat heard the news, he let his friend the Rat know about it and the two animals decided to go together the next day. However, the next day the Rat did not wake the Cat who, being a cat and loving to nap, slept through the morning. Therefore, the Cat did not make it to the assembly on time and did not get a year. This is why there is no year of the Cat and this is also why cats hate rats.

The Rat, on the other hand, made it there first and received the first year. He did not achieve this without trickery either. He knew that a small animal like him would not be able to compete with the others, so he begged the Ox to let him ride on its head. The Ox consented and they went together. Just when they were about to arrive, the Rat jumped off the Ox's head and got through the finish line first. This is why the year of the Rat is the first year in the cycle, and the year of the Ox is the second. The Boar, being lazy, came in last.

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