The Austin Chronicle

The 12 Signs of the Chinese Zodiac

Rollo Banks' Lunar New Year Chronicle covers

By S. Emerson Moffat, February 12, 2021, Arts

*The Lunar New Year varies between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, so those born early in the year may actually come in under the previous year's sign.

Year of the Rat

1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020*


Best Case: Smart, quick-witted, likeable, optimistic, observant, independent, energetic, creative

Worst Case: Stingy, stubborn, fault-finding, petty, fearful, lacking humility

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Best Case: Scurrying bon vivant spreads joy wherever he goes. Viva la Remy!

Worst Case: Hoards cheese dip, nips party guests. Where's that trap again?

Famous Rats

Best Case: Rosa Parks

Worst Case: Richard Nixon

Year of the Ox

1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021*


Best Case: Honest, hardworking, earnest, modest, logical, kind, reliable, trustworthy

Worst Case: Stubborn, workaholic, rigid rule follower

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Best Case: Divine bovine pulls long hours searching for cure to mad cow disease. Strong candidate for Nobel Prize.

Worst Case: Workaholic tendencies make it hard to find a harness mate. That medal won't keep you warm at night, Babe.

Famous Oxen

Best case: Barack Obama

Worst Case: Saddam Hussein

Year of the Tiger

1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010*


Best Case: Brave, confident, charming, benevolent, indomitable

Worst Case: Impetuous, irritable, stubborn, hard to control

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Best Case: Tony's big-hearted actions inspire world peace. Cue the purrs.

Worst Case: Global hissy fit triggers World War III. Bad kitty.

Famous Tigers

Best Case: Stevie Wonder

Worst Case: Ayatollah Khomeini

Year of the Rabbit

1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011*


Best Case: Gentle, elegant, generous, patient, responsible, self-disciplined

Worst Case: Timid, stubborn, melancholy, hesitant, vain, escapist

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Best Case: Kindly Thumper donates lucky rabbit's foot to aid the poor. Easter bunny chimes in with matching grant.

Worst Case: Sulks in closet, admiring own carrot collection. Not cool, Bugs.

Famous Rabbits

Best Case: Michelle Obama

Worst Case: John Dillinger

Year of the Dragon

1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012*


Best Case: Brave, tenacious, intelligent, confident, enthusiastic

Worst Case: Aggressive, arrogant, irritating

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Best Case: Fiery friend blows down barriers with courage and charisma. Toothless, we hardly knew ye.

Worst Case: Just plain blows. Snuff it, Smaug.

Famous Dragons

Best Case: Martin Luther King Jr.

Worst Case: Vladimir Putin

Year of the Snake

1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2002, 2013*


Best case: Calm, intelligent, beautiful, wise, private

Worst case: Indifferent, skeptical, possessive, obstinate, vain

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Best Case: Enigmatic beauty slithers into the hearts of millions with charm and wisdom. S-s-s-s-sublime.

Worst Case: Spends life coiled around the nearest mirror. Would you like an apple with that?

Famous Snakes

Best case: Greta Garbo

Worst case: Whitey Bulger

Year of the Horse

1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014*


Best Case: Loyal, enthusiastic, passionate, popular, elegant, enterprising, extroverted, funny

Worst Case: Hot-headed, ruthlessly ambitious, tendency to excess, lack of organizational skills

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Best Case: Lovable Mr. Ed leads adoring herd to peace and pros­perity. The neighs have it!

Worst Case: Stampedes his way to the hay, pummeling ponies in his path. Whoa, Trigger.

Famous Horses

Best case: Paul McCartney

Worst case: Genghis Khan

Year of the Goat

1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015*


Best Case: Elegant, charming, artistic, kindhearted, nature-lover

Worst Case: Timid, moody, indecisive, pessimistic, worry-wart

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Best Case: Writes and directs award­-winning drama about kindly chevre maker.

Worst Case: Incessant bleating drives friends berserk, forced to play lead in cabrito.

Famous Horses

Best Case: Michelangelo

Worst Case: George Wallace

Year of the Monkey

1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016*


Best Case: Clever, creative, intelligent, curious, magnetic, mischievous

Worst Case: Sly, restless, very naughty

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Best Case: Curious George produces groundbreaking comedy, audiences go bananas.

Worst Case: Becomes butt of own joke – bed time for Bonzo.

Famous Monkeys

Best Case: Leonardo da Vinci

Worst Case: Jared Kushner

Year of the Rooster

1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017*


Best Case: Observant, hardworking, resourceful, brave, talented, confident

Worst Case: Vain, boastful, attention-seeking

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Best Case: Multi-talented barnyard king has a lot to crow about – for real.

Worst Case: Non-stop bragging lands him in the stew pot. Coq au vin, anyone?

Famous Roosters

Best Case: Dolly Parton

Worst Case: Osama bin Laden

Year of the Dog

1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018*


Best Case: Loyal, honest, kind, prudent, sincere, selfless, trustworthy

Worst Case: Pessimistic, worried, critical, stubborn, insecure

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Best Case: Lassie saves Timmy from the old mine – tummy rubs all around.

Worst Case: Paranoid Scoobie sees dead people. Ruh-roh.

Famous Dogs

Best Case: Mother Teresa

Worst Case: Donald Trump

Year of the Pig

1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019*


Best Case: Generous, honest, kind, diligent, compassionate, responsible, adaptable, tolerant

Worst Case: Naïve, credulous, over-confident, gullible, lewd, coarse

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Best Case: Porky is everyone's sweetie and cooperative to a fault. Call him for a jumpstart at 3am and he'll bring the bagels.

Worst Case: Hapless dupe on the fast track to the Hormel plant. Th-th-th-that's all, folks.

Famous Pigs

Best Case: Magic Johnson

Worst Case: Mike Pence

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