Vietnamese New Year animals: Unveiling traditional symbolism

Vietnamese New Year animals

Vietnam is a captivating destination with famous landmarks, a diverse culture, and friendly locals. Many visitors find the Vietnamese New Year animals intriguing, as they not only symbolize time but also play a significant role in the traditional Vietnamese culture. In this article, we will explore the distinctive characteristics of each zodiac sign and uncover the cultural richness of Vietnam through the stories of these animals.

1. The origin and order of the Vietnamese New Year animals

Throughout history, while the Western world adopted the zodiac with 12 signs, Eastern cultures, particularly Vietnam, embraced 12 animals as a crucial timekeeping system. The question of their origin remains a subject of diverse perspectives.

Many attribute the origin of the 12 zodiac animals to Chinese traditions. However, an intriguing perspective emerges from a study of the ancient Vietnamese language by researcher Nguyen Cung Thong, who suggests that Vietnam may be the birthplace of the 12 zodiac animals. With over 2,000 years of cultural interplay and a lack of conclusive evidence, uncovering the true origin of the 12 zodiac animals presents a considerable challenge.

While the origin of the Vietnamese New Year zodiac remains unclear, the order of animals in the 12 zodiac signs is notably consistent across various Asian countries. They include the Mouse, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.

Vietnamese New Year animals

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2. The cultural significance of the Vietnamese New Year animals

Each animal in the Vietnamese zodiac system is given a distinct name. They are Tý (Mouse), Sửu (Ox), Dần (Tiger), Mão (Cat), Thìn (Dragon), Tỵ (Snake), Ngọ (Horse), Mùi (Goat), Thân (Monkey), Dậu (Rooster), Tuất (Dog), and Hợi (Pig). These Vietnamese New Year animals play a role in predicting the future, assessing personality traits, and evaluating relationship compatibility. 

Each Vietnamese zodiac year appears in a 12-year cycle, creating a recurring pattern. Each year corresponds to a specific zodiac animal. Based on the year of birth according to the lunar calendar, Vietnamese astrology utilizes the associated animal to provide insights into individuals and their lives. They influence various aspects of life, including the names of children and the optimal times for significant activities.

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3. Insights into each of the Vietnamese New Year animals

Gaining an understanding of each Vietnamese New Year animal will offer valuable insights into diverse aspects of life and individual characteristics.

3.1. Mouse – an animal for resourcefulness

The Mouse is characterized by its resourcefulness. Despite their proactive and dynamic nature, they often encounter many obstacles in life. Those born in the Year of the Mouse are often sensitive to financial matters, as the presence of a mouse often implies an abundance of rice in the granary.

Vietnamese New Year animals

3.2. Ox – a symbol of strength and determination

The Ox represents hard work and patience. It also serves as a symbol of spring and agriculture. Those born in the Year of the Ox often exhibit enduring strength and strong leadership, making them well-suited for scientific pursuits. They are calm, kind, and highly determined but may also be quite stubborn.

3.3. Tiger – representing bravery and power

The Tiger is one of the holy Vietnamese animals, where it is considered the king of the forest. People born in the Year of the Tiger are brave, smart, and risk-seeking. They are expected to do extraordinary things and become extremely successful in life. However, as strength often draws unwanted attention, some may face challenges due to social biases. 

3.4. Cat – an emblem of independence and adaptability

In Vietnam, the Cat is revered in the zodiac, while China and other nations celebrate the Rabbit. This difference is due to the crucial role of cats in catching mice to protect the harvest in Vietnam’s rice culture. Those born in the Year of the Cat are often articulate, talented, ambitious, and successful academically. They may clash with those born in the Year of the Mouse.

Vietnamese New Year animals

3.5. Dragon – a mythical creature of power and luck

In the legends of the East, the dragon stands as a symbol of royal authority, signifying the prosperity of the nation. Those born in the Year of the Dragon are characterized by honesty and dynamism, yet they can also be hot-tempered and stubborn. They embody symbols of power and wealth.

3.6. Snake – a symbol of wisdom and intuition

In Vietnamese culture, the Snake is considered a sacred creature. Those born in the Year of the Snake are wise but reserved in speech. Symbolizing the succession of generations, individuals of this sign are characterized by calmness, gentleness, depth, and occasional bursts of anger. They are also resolute and persistent.

3.7. Horse – signifying freedom and vitality

People born in the Year of the Horse are often gentle, easy-going, and open-minded, although they can be quite stubborn. They are also often straightforward and quite temperamental. The speed of a horse is reminiscent of the sun shining daily. Therefore, this sign is often associated with good health.

Vietnamese New Year animals

3.8. Goat – a Vietnamese New Year animal of kindness

Individuals born in the Year of the Goat are typically serene and humble but reserved. They may speak awkwardly, making them less adept at sales activities, but their natural compassion and willingness to assist those in need are notable. Their inherent kindness often works to their advantage.

3.9. Monkey – an emblem of cleverness and playfulness

Monkeys are known for their lively, playful nature, and high level of intelligence. Individuals born in the Year of the Monkey are often exceptionally talented with distinctive personalities. They are typically cheerful, resourceful, curious, and full of innovative ideas. Their weaknesses lie in their unpredictable and inconsistent temperaments.

3.10. Rooster – an animal for confidence and resilience

The Year of the Rooster represents a phase of hardworking activity, as roosters are known for their busy schedules from dawn to dusk. Their distinctive comb is a symbol of remarkable intelligence and scholarly wisdom. Those born in the Year of the Rooster are recognized for their deep-thinking abilities. They often sustain themselves through diligent small business endeavors, working persistently like “a rooster digging the ground to find worms.”

Vietnamese New Year animals

3.11. Dog – a symbol of loyalty and protection

The Year of the Dog predicts a period of safety and prosperity. Globally, dogs are employed for guarding homes. Those born in the Year of the Dog are often honest, sincere, diligent in their work, and seek stability in life. Their lives typically reflect a strong sense of family unity, and the pursuit of security.

3.12. Pig – an emblem of diligence and prosperity

The Pig year represents prosperity and a leisurely life. Individuals born in the Year of the Pig are typically generous, gallant, kind, and courageous, though they may also display stubbornness and a quick temper. Nonetheless, they are hardworking and attentive listeners.

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4. The years in accordance with the Vietnamese New Year animals

The Vietnamese zodiac operates on a 12-year cycle. To avoid repetition in the naming of the year, ancient Vietnamese people utilized the system of Can – Chi (Heavenly Stems – Earthly Branches). The Heavenly Stems consist of ten elements: Canh, Tan, Nham, Quy, Giap, At, Binh, Dinh, Mau, and Ky. The Earthly Branches represent the 12 Vietnamese New Year animals. Together, they form the Sexagenary cycle, spanning 60 years.

Vietnamese New Year animals

Here is a list of the Vietnamese zodiac animals and the years they did or will occur:

Zodiac animal


Year of the Mouse

1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Year of the Ox

1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Year of the Tiger

1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

Year of the Cat

1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

Year of the Dragon

1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Year of the Snake

1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026

Year of the Horse

1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026

Year of the Goat

1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027

Year of the Monkey

1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028

Year of the Rooster

1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029

Year of the Dog

1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030

Year of the Pig

1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031


Vietnamese New Year animals

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The Vietnamese New Year animals hold great significance in Vietnamese astrology and folk religion. These animals represent Vietnamese people’s different characteristics and qualities. If you find yourself intrigued by Vietnam’s zodiac system and culture, don’t hold back. Pack your bag, clear your schedule, and immerse yourself in the beautiful nature and distinctive culture of this S-shaped country.

For a fulfilling Vietnam travel experience, you should consider exploring renowned tourist destinations including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long. These destinations will provide you with a better understanding of the landscapes, history, culture, and people in Vietnam. 

Visiting these stunning cities, choosing the right accommodation is essential for a truly unforgettable stay. For those seeking the ultimate comfort, Vinpearl stands out as a premium choice. Nestled in Vietnam’s most coveted locations, Vinpearl offers a world of exclusive hotels and resorts, promising an immersive retreat for those who seek refinement.

Vietnamese New Year animals

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