The Goat (Chinese: ; pinyin: yáng) is the eighth sign of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The sign is also[2] referred to as the Ram or Sheep sign, since the Chinese word yáng is more accurately translated as Caprinae, a taxonomic subfamily that includes both sheep and goats.[3]

The Year of the Goat is associated with the 8th Earthly Branch symbol, (wèi).[4]

Goat or Sheep

The Chinese word yáng refers both to goats and sheep, with shānyáng specifically goats and miányáng sheep.[8][7] In English, the sign (originally based on a horned animal) may be called either. The interpretation of sheep or goat depends on culture.[2] In Vietnamese, the sign is mùi, which is unambiguously goat.[8] In Japan, on the other hand, the sign is hitsuji, sheep;[8] while in Korea[9] and Mongolia the sign is also sheep or ram. Within China, there may be a regional distinction with the zodiacal yáng more likely to be thought of as a goat in the south, while tending to be thought of as a sheep in the north.[10]


The Chinese commonly regard sheep as an auspicious animal, and the year of the sheep, therefore, heralds a year of promise and prosperity.[8] "Yáng" (羊) is a component of another written Chinese character "xiang" (), which means auspiciousness, and the two were interchangeable in ancient Chinese, according to one source.[11] It is also a part of the character "shan" (), which counts kindness and benevolence as among its meanings.

Individuals born in this zodiac year have been supposed to share certain characteristics with other individuals also born in years of the same animal sign. Similarly, years sharing the same animal sign have been supposed to share certain characteristics, repeating over their 12/60 year cycle. The shared characteristics in this case are traits attributed to goats.

Due to the luni-solar nature of the traditional Chinese calendar system,[12] the "zodiacal" year does not align with the Western calendar: new years are determined by a system which results in each new year beginning on a new moon sometime between late January to mid-to-late February.[13] Goat aspects can also enter by other chronomantic factors or measures, such as hourly.

In Chinese astrology Goats are described as peace-loving and "kind" and "popular". With the addition of the wood element, the Goat characteristic is thought to love peace and to be helpful and trusting, but yet also to be "clinging" and of a nature resistant to change.

Years and the Five Elements

People born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the Goat", while also bearing the following elemental sign:

Start dateEnd dateHeavenly branch
17 February 19315 February 1932Metal Goat
5 February 194324 January 1944Water Goat
24 January 195511 February 1956Wood Goat
9 February 196729 January 1968Fire Goat
28 January 197915 February 1980Earth Goat
15 February 19913 February 1992Metal Goat
1 February 200321 January 2004Water Goat
19 February 20157 February 2016Wood Goat
6 February 202725 January 2028Fire Goat
24 January 203911 February 2040Earth Goat

Chinese Zodiac Goat

SignBest MatchAverageNo Match
GoatGoat, Pig, RabbitDog, Tiger, Horse, Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Snake, RoosterOx

Basic astrology elements

Earthly Branch of Birth Year:Wei
The Five Elements:Earth
Yin Yang:Yin
Lunar Month:Sixth
Lucky Numbers:2, 3, 4, 7, 9; Avoid: 6, 8
Lucky Flowers:carnation, primrose, flower
Lucky Colors:green, red, purple; Avoid: gold, brown

See also