The Chinese Zodiac has been around since before 475 B.C. It's widespread popularity is evident in pottery artifacts dating back to the Tang Dynasty in China. Each animal in the Chinese Zodiac occurs every 12 years, rather than every 12 months as with the Western Zodiac Signs.
In China, it is believed that during the year of your own animal, or your ben ming nian/本命年 (as of February 10, 2013, we are now in the year of the Snake), you offend 'Tai Sui.' In Chinese mythology, Tai Sui is the god of age. Tai Sui is incredibly fickle, and simply by being born in the corresponding animal year, you offend him.
To ward off the bad luck and Tai Sui's curse during your animal year, it is advisable to wear something red at all times. Many women in China wear a red knotted silk cord around their waist underneath of their clothing. They put it on the first day of Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and do not remove it until the next lunar year. Men often wear red underwear all year round.
Jocelyn Eikenburg's blog, 'Speaking of China', gives some great ideas for gifts for people in their ben ming nian.
Monkeys are seen as charming, witty, and the life of the party. They often posses great capacity and attention for detail, which benefits those Monkeys involved in careers to do with design and media. While they know when to quit when the odds fall out of their favor, they are practically unsinkable.
Monkeys are known for having their finger on the pulse of the world and sussing out new trends before anyone else. However, they are very energetic and tend to be on the capricious side. So while they give great fashion advice, they are not always inclined to follow it themselves. Instead, they prefer to be comfortable and unique in their own style.
Monkeys would do well to find unique clothing in white (their power color) that speaks to both their active side as well as their flashy side. Choose unusual pieces of jewelry in different metals that goes along with their element. A charm bracelet reflecting their love of travel and a variety of hobbies would be perfect.
As the animal would suggest, Roosters must crow. Their pride is an asset, and it shouldn't surprise anyone that many Roosters enter careers in entertainment and business. They are shrewd, confidant and sharp, which allows them to excel in demanding positions.
If you happen to be a Rooster, look for clothing that shines in your element, metal. Sparkly dresses and tops should be right up your Zodiac animal's alley. Luxurious white pearls set with precious metals combine both your color and element. Roosters need to crow and strut—and more often than not, they have every reason to do so.
When shopping to enhance your wardrobe, choose jewelry and clothing that express your fantastic confidence. As a perfectionist, choose clothing with clean lines and a tailored appearance that fits you perfectly.
If you are born in the year of the Dog, it's unlikely that your friends and family could ask for a more caring friendly person to have in their lives. While they find comfort in the familiar, they also have an adventurous side. As protectors, Dogs do especially well in professions like nursing and teaching.
For Dogs, their fashion should express warmth and comfort. Choose jewelry that speaks to your element of earth. Pieces in earth tones and a natural aesthetic will compliment your animal sign.
Clothing in yellow (as well as jewelry) expresses your power color. Select clothing that is warm and comfortable in natural fabric like cotton and linen.
While in Western culture, being called a pig is rarely a compliment, if you are born in the year of the Pig, it's likely that you are one of the most honorable people your friends and family have in their lives. Pigs tend to be extremely creative and while they are incredibly self-reliant, they need nurturing in that part of their life. Pigs make fantastic fundraisers and often find happiness in careers in social work.
While Pigs are very scrupulous, they do enjoy luxury and comfort...as long as it is built to last. If you were born in the year of the Pig, your color is black and your element is water. Black silk incorporates both your element and color. As long as you care for it properly, a black silk dress would be the perfect addition to your wardrobe.
Diamonds and sapphires—both reminiscent of water—are stones to last a lifetime. Follow your scrupulous side and take the time to find an eye catching piece of jewelry that you won't ever want to take off.
When you discover your Chinese Zodiac sign, you might just find out about another side of yourself that you ween't aware of before. You can have a great time indulging your animal side on your next shopping trip.