Zodiac is a periodic numbering system used in countries with Asian cultures such as Vietnam, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and some other countries. It is applied to the sixty (60) cycle combination in the lunar calendar in general to determine the names of time (day, hour, year, month), as well as in astrology. In life, the zodiac system is simply called the 12 animals. Eastern people use the Moon calendar to know and believe that whoever is born in the year of an animal will have most of its good and bad characteristics. And if they use the animals’ representations, they will get a lot of luck in life. How about Vietnamese – is there any difference? Let’s discover!

Vietnamese Zodiac Animals and Astrology

Vietnamese Zodiac Animals

Origin of Vietnamese Zodiac Calendar and Animals System

Vietnamese Lunar Calendar

The first sign of the calendar found in Vietnam appears to have appeared on bronze drums from the Dong son age 2000 years ago, with 12-ray stars indicating 12 lunar months and 4 seasons.

Before China was unified by Emperor Qin, the calendar was not united between small states that also included Vietnam. In 208 Bc, the Au lac kingdom was defeated and invaded by the Qin army and the land of the Viet people was occupied by the Chinese. The calendar, the writing, the law, the monetary, etc. were unified under the emperor Qin Shui Hoang Di.

Therefore, during many Vietnamese dynasties, the lunar calendar was used similar to the Chinese one yet with few differences. For example, the zodiac is a Chinese rabbit and a Vietnamese cat.

Vietnam Tours 2020

The Lunar Year, Month and Day

According to the Asian lunar calendar, the rotation of the Moon to Earth only lasts 29.53 days. Therefore, a lunar year will have about 354 days (equivalent to 12 rotation periods). To Vietnamese people, there is the sequence to remember the years’ zodiac animals: Ty-mouse, Suu-buffalo, Dan-tiger, Mao-cat, Thin-dragon, Ty-snake, Ngo-horse, Mui-goat, Than-monkey, Dau-rooster, Tuat-dog, Hoi-pig.

The lunar month also has a coinciding sign which will be one of the 12 animals of the zodiac. They are respectively mouse, buffalo, tiger, cat, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

Even a lunar day can have an animal sign, and 24 hours are divided into 12 animals. For example, in the middle of the day: from 11 AM to 1 PM is the horse time; from 1 PM to 3 PM is the goat time, and so on.

Vietnamese Astrological Signs and Their Meanings

12 Zodiac Animals in Feng Shui

12 Zodiac Animals in Feng Shui

The Vietnamese calendar was based on a sexagesimal cycle (ganzhi), the combination of 12 terrestrial twigs and 10 celestial trunks. The 12 terrestrial branches were associated with 12 animals and the 12 signs of the zodiac. On the other hand, the 10 celestial trunks have been associated with the five elements concerning Yin and Yang: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. In fact, these elements will have a considerable influence in life, fate and character of a person.

For example, astrology also holds a large place in Feng Shui. There is indeed a natural “element” attributed to each year following the calendar. This will then give the trend of the year in question, and also influence the individuals who are born under this element. By applying the birth elements in Feng Shui, the circulation of energy will be optimized by the layout of the environment, which improves the quality of life.

Vietnamese Zodiac Animals and Their Role in Vietnamese Socioeconomic Life

The sign of the zodiac has an important role in the popular life of the Vietnamese to consult many life events such as marriage, building of houses, opening a shop and so on.

For example, when travelling to Ha Giang on a Vietnam tour, you will see that the locals here often use the lunar calendar for the market meeting and the sign of the zodiac is based on the market day. In particular, the market in Lung Phin takes place only on the day of monkey and tiger.

Locals purchasing fruits at Lung Phin market, Ha Giang

Locals purchasing fruits at Lung Phin market, Ha Giang

Besides, in Vietnam, marriages were usually arranged taking into account the astrological signs of couples and it is a fact that these marriages could easily last a lifetime.

Vietnamese Zodiac Animals and Their Influence on The Personality

Depending on your year of birth, discover your sign!

The Rat – The Smart One

Needless to say, the rat is very sociable and dynamic. This kind of animal has a great self-confidence on the appearance.

+: The rat gets along with the monkey and the dragon.

-: Do not get along with the horse, the rooster and the cat.

The Buffalo – The Born Leader One

This “age” represents diligence and patience. People of the buffalo year usually have a slow but steady progression. Also, they are imperturbable and steadfast but stubborn.

+: The buffalo gets along well with the snake and the rooster.

-: Do not get along with the goat, the dragon and the dog.

The Tiger – The Powerful One

Very sensitive, yet the tiger often worries and gets angry quickly. However, people of the tiger year are very indecisive when there are decisions need to be made. Despite being hot-tempered, they can adapt well to any circumstances.

+: The tiger gets along well with the horse and the dog.

-: Do not get along with the pig, the snake and the monkey.

The Cat – The Flexible One

People of the cat year achieve a lot of success in the work while remaining very modest and patient. They are soft-spoken, ambitious yet talented.

+: The cat gets along well with the goat and the pig.

-: Do not get along with the rat, the rooster and the horse.

The Dragon – The Holy One

Among 12 zodiac animals, the dragon symbolizes royal authority, power and prosperity. People of this age are very active and have great facilities to become rich.

+: The dragon gets along well with the rat and the monkey.

-: Do not get along with the goat, the buffalo and the dog.

The Snake – The Lucky One

Very wise and courageous, people of this age can easily succeed in the work. They are also sympathetic, determined yet intolerant.

+: The snake gets along well with the buffalo and the rooster.

-: Do not get along with the tiger, the monkey and the pig.

The Horse – The Nomadic One

As the name tells, the horse tends to move a lot. People of this age are very generous, loyal and kind. The horse is also very active, kind and talented in various fields.

+: The horse gets along well with the tiger and the dog.

-: Do not get along with the rat, the cat and the rooster.

The Goat – The Delightful One

People of the goat year are very sensitive, shy and hesitant. Sometimes pessimistic, yet very kind and amicable. Easy to adapt with others.

+: The goat gets along well with the cat and the pig.

-: Do not get along with the dragon, the dog and the buffalo.

The Monkey – The Cheerful One

Intelligent, initiative with a good memory, the monkey is competent but not very meticulous in his work. It has great facilities to adapt in a new environment. Just one weakness: the monkey is unstable and talkative.

+: The monkey gets along well with the rat and the dragon.

-: Do not get along with the pig, snake and especially the tiger.

The Rooster – The Self-Righteous One

Always busy and hardworking, the rooster enjoys working. People of the rooster age are assiduous since this sign symbolizing intellectual savant. They also like social activities and be a little dreamy.

+: The rooster gets along well with the buffalo and the snake.

-: Do not get along with the horse, the rat and the cat.

The Dog – The Loyal One

Year of the Dog indicates a prosperous future. Dogs are raised for house keeping, so the Year of the Dog is believed to be a very safe year. People of this age are honest, sincere, tolerant and responsible in the work as well.

+: The dog gets along with the tiger and the horse.

-: Do not get along with the buffalo and especially the dragon and the goat.

The Pig – The Hopeful One

According to Vietnamese culture, pigs symbolize wealth. People of the pig year are generous and brave. Despite being still quite stubborn and hot-tempered, they are very diligent and willing to listen.

+: The pig gets along well with the cat and the goat.

-: Do not get along at all with the monkey and especially the snake.

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

Bich Ngoc

As a true Vietnamese enthusiast of music, books and coffee, Bich Ngoc loves researching into those typical cultural characteristics of Vietnam as well as exploring further destinations in the country of thousand years of civilization.


  1. Great info loved it
    first time i heard about the Vietnamese Zodiac from a song by Al Stewart Years of the Cat.
    what animal is this year 2021? hope it s better than 2020

    keep the good work

  2. OMG, I honestly didn’t know about this amazing thing from Vietnamese culture be4! Those zodiac animals are very cute. I was born in 1994, which zodiac animal am I? Btw what did you guys call this 2020 year?

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. According to the zodiac system, your zodiac animal is the Dog – the loyal one. Also, we call this 2020 the Year of the Rat or “Canh Ty” in Vietnamese; which means the 37th combination in the East Asian numbering system of ganzhi.
      And yes, I’m going to update more and more interesting information about Vietnamese culture and other fields; so please stay tuned!

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