Know Your Signs: A Guide to the Differences and Similarities Between Chinese and Western Zodiac Signs

We all share this one world in which we live. But when it comes to cultural customs and beliefs, there are worlds of differences.

This is especially true in astrology. The Chinese and Western zodiac signs are so different, yet have many similarities. It’s difficult to discern which one is more accurate because both speak to us on a deeper level.

So what’s the take on the stars in Western vs Eastern astrology? Keep reading to find out their differences and similarities to learn more.

Chinese and Western Zodiac Similarities and Differences

You’re probably wondering: how can such different astrological divinations have anything in common? Well, for one thing, we all live under the same sun; it just rises and sets at different times. This certainly provides a different world view in itself.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how the astrology of the West compares to that of the East.

Both Have 12 Signs, But in a Different Time Frame

Both the Chinese and Western zodiac signs come in sets of 12.

In the west, those signs are divided up by the 12 months of the year. Designated by the moving constellations in the sky, each month correlates with the visible stars during that time. For example, during the month of January, the constellation of Capricorn is visible to us, thus naming January babies as Capricorns.

The Chinese zodiac signs are based on mythology. The myth explains that when God was constructing the calendar, he (or she) called upon the animals to participate in a race. The first 12 species of animals to finish that race was named for each Chinese zodiac sign.

The astrological time frame differs, as well as the signs. Where Western astrology is discerned by the month, the Chinese zodiac is divided by an entire year. This would mean that in the West, we attribute our personality traits to the monthly constellations while in the East, personality traits are grouped by the year.

They Both Have Symbols, but With Different Meaning

The Chinese zodiac signs with respect to the winners of the mythological race are the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

The Western zodiac signs with respect to the Spring Equinox (beginning in April) are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius,  Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

While the corresponding signs share similar traits, there are different things to take into account. For example, in Western zodiac divination, we take into account the Ascendant house, the moon, and the planets that aligned in terms of our birthday and personalities. In the Chinese zodiac, the balance of your yin and yang, your elements, and other closely related animals are taken into account.

In other words, while both divinations have symbols and certain things that define us, those things (including the calendars) are very different.

Their Calendars Revolve Around Night and Day

The Western zodiac calendar entirely depends on the orbit of Earth around the sun. According to this calendar, each month lasts between 28 and 31 days, but they all begin on a set date.

The Chinese zodiac is built upon the lunar calendar. In accordance with the lunar calendar, each month begins with a new moon, lasting approximately 29 days. This means that the Chinese New Year actually changes in regard to the lunar calendar.

In addition, the phases of the moon play a great deal in who you are as a person. For example, if someone is born under a New Moon, they are considered to be innovative creatives. Since the Western signs are considered sun signs under the solar calendar, planets come into effect here.

They Both Recognize the Elements, More or Less

Chinese astrology recognizes five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each element is confined by a two-year period and has to do with the motivating forces in a person’s life. Fire signs are symbolic of excitement, Earth is of a strong foundation, Metal is of order, Water is of emotional bonds, and Wood is of exploration.

In Western astrology, there only four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. These correspond to practicality, intellectualism, impulsiveness, and emotions, respectively.

There Are Lunar Phases and Lunar Modes

As mentioned before, the lunar phases play a large role in Chinese astrology. Those born under the New Moon are adventurous and innovative, those under the Waxing Moon are hard-working and depend on merit, those under the Full Moon are considered to be diplomatic and in need of order, and those under the Waning Moon are introspective and desire peace.

In Western astrology, there are three sign qualities, designated by the lunar modes. Each lunar mode is assigned to four different zodiac signs. There is the Cardinal, who seek acceptance by becoming leaders; the Fixed, who achieve significance by their hard work; the Mutable, who depend on deep connections to fit in.

What’s Your Sign?

Is Eastern astrology more accurate than Western astrology? The truth is, as you dig deeper into the Chinese and Western zodiac signs, you’ll find that a new world will open up to you. What separates us astrologically is merely a cultural view of the world inspired by years of tradition.

It’s more than likely you can venture into both divinations to find out more about who you are and what your destiny may be. Speaking of destiny, if you’d like to learn more about where you’ve been and what’s in the stars for you, we can help.

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