Eastern and Western astrology signs can be quite different but there are similarities. No matter what your culture, people look to the stars, check their horoscopes, and refer to their lucky number to see what the year holds for them.
East: There is no definite story about why or how the 12 animals were chosen to represent birth years. However, there is a common legend in some Asian countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year.
The story centers around a race around a river current between various animals. The first 12 animals to complete the race were chosen. The order of the animals is as follows:
These Chinese New Year animals are mostly the same in the Vietnamese Lunar New Year except for two. Instead of the ox, there is a water buffalo; instead of the rabbit, there is a cat. While most Asian communities are celebrating the Year of the Rabbit this year, the Vietnamese community is celebrating the Year of the Cat. One reason there is this slight altercation is a misinterpretation of the language. The Chinese astrological term for rabbit is mão (卯), but ancient Vietnamese culture misinterpreted the word as mèo, as in cat.
West: Western astrology is influenced by ancient Greeks and Babylon. It is defined as the philosophy of stars, but the meaning has changed since its origin around 1,800 years ago. Credited as the founder of astrology is astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy’s Tertrabiblos.
Tetrabiblos divided Earth’s orbits into 30-degree sectors and documented the distinct constellations, which are now known as the 12 zodiac signs. These are divided into water, fire, air, and earth.
According to the lunar calendar, the Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle, and each animal represents a new cycle. Every year the zodiac animal changes and represents a new group of people born in those particular years.
For example, 2022 represents the Year of the Rabbit and the Cat. However, those born in 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011 are considered lucky and have good fortune for the year as they were born into the year of the rabbit and cat.
In Western astrology, the zodiac sign is assigned at birth, and no yearly celebrations rotate a new sign for the rest of the year.
For example, the horoscope sign Aries is for those born from March 21st to April 19th. The years are not relevant in Western zodiacs and astrology, unlike Eastern zodiacs that heavily rely on birth years.
Personality Traits and Influences
A common zodiac trait between the East and the West is that each animal has personality traits and beliefs reflected in individuals. For example, in the East, the personality traits of rats include resourcefulness and quickness. In the West, Aries are known to be determined and have fiery personalities.
In both cultures, there are presumptions about the person based on their zodiac sign. Personality traits based on zodiac signs are mostly generalized and aren’t always accurate or factual.
In both cultures, zodiac signs can influence career choices, compatibility, marriages, and even fortune. Although they are not accurate, they can offer some guidelines for the future and provide security to some degree. Like reading horoscopes to get some sense of what the day would be like. Just like how during Lunar New Year, each group can go into the new year with optimism.