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The Chinese Zodiac offers a huge variety of ideas for scrapbook pages, from the humorous to the dramatic. The Monkey, for example, would suggest a very playful theme, while the Dragon would be much more dramatic.

One way to incorporate the Chinese Zodiac into your scrapbooking is to ascertain which animal sign your subject belongs to – in western Astrology, you need to know the day and month to determine the sun sign, but with Chinese Astrology, you only need to know the year of birth (for more detailed horoscopes, of course, a Chinese astrologer also requires the full birthdate or time).

Check your birth year, or the birth year of your subject, with these dates:

Rat: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996

Ox: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997

Tiger: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998

Rabbit: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999

Dragon: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000

Snake: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001

Horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002

Goat: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003

Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004

Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

Pig: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

Traits of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs:

Rat: The rat is a charmer but not slow to make the most of an opportunity. Rats do well in real estate, PR and advertising. Rats are sociable and enjoy the good life. They have sharp wits and sharper tongues. The Rat’s element is water and the color black.

Ox (also Buffalo): The strong, conservative Ox is born to lead. Oxen don’t suffer fools gladly, are slow to change their opinions and do well in military careers or other careers where leadership is required. The Ox is loyal and patient and sooner or later, will make his or her mark in life. The Ox’s element is earth, the color is golden yellow.

Tiger: The tiger is a courageous and noble, but also highly sensitive and quick to take offence. Tigers are likely to leap in where less hotheaded animals would fear to tread, and they can be very hard to control. They need a career where they can be boss, or strike out on their own with no one to give them orders. The tiger’s element is wood, and the color green.

Rabbit: The kind, peace loving rabbit is the soul of tact and would never dream of deliberately hurting anyone. The rabbit would prefer a simple white lie to an outright truth which could ruin a moment or damage a friendship. Rabbits are considered very lucky and do well in careers that bring out their people skills, such as law, acting or diplomacy. The Rabbit’s element is Wood, and the color green.

Dragon: talented, artistic Dragons are the real show-offs of the Chinese Zodiac. They are always popular and easily influence those around them. Dragons usually find successful careers in the performing or creative arts, or politics. Their element is earth, their color gold.

Snake: Snakes are the most enticing creatures in the Chinese Zodiac – they have much in common with the sign of Scorpio in western astrology. Snakes are alluring and highly intelligent, and are often found in academic or scientific careers. But their great physical attraction also makes them renowned actors and entertainers. The Snake’s element is fire, the color is red.

Horse: The hard working, confident horse puts its shoulder to even the most difficult task without complaint. Horses are justifiably proud of their elegance and strength, and while they may tend to parade their egos, they also love company and make stimulating friends. The horse does well in sports, the military and politics. The element of the horse is fire, the color red.

Goat (or Ram): The goat is very agile and loves to climb, but tends to worry a lot. They can be charming company, but at other times they will tend to bring their friends down by complaining and imagining the worst. Goats can find success in the caring professions, where they can worry for profit, or avoid the ulcers altogether by dropping out. The goat’s element is earth, the color yellow.

Monkey: The clever, witty monkey is never short of friends. Always the life of the party, the monkey has a paw on the pulse of life and senses trends long before anyone else. So they find success in the media, advertising, and design. The monkey can also be very tricky and needs to guard against a tendency to take advantage of slower types. The Monkey’s element is metal, and the color white.

Rooster: No one crows louder than the proud rooster, but few have more to crow about. The rooster is a shrewd, sharp, confident operator, who dreams big and looks to the stars. Roosters strut proudly and so choose careers where they can show off and reach impossible goals, such as the entertainment industry, or a business idea that breaks barriers and travels world wide. The element of the rooster is metal, and the color is white.

Dog: The faithful dog will always be there for family and friends. The dog will take setbacks philosophically, and find comfort in familiar, homely things. But there is a streak of adventure in the dog’s soul that will see them running with the wind on occasion. The dog will also attack when it feels a loved one is threatened, so remember the wise advice and let sleeping dogs lie. Dogs do well in professions based on caring for others, such as teaching and nursing. The dog’s element is earth, the color is yellow.

Pig: The honorable and scrupulous pig is one of the easiest signs of the Chinese Zodiac to get along with. But they are easily shocked, and also easily gulled into schemes cooked by some of the less scrupulous signs. The Pig has a creative side which should be nurtured, and will often find fulfillment, if not success, in the arts. The element of the pig is water, the color black.

Choose cardstock for the colors, and embellishments for the elements. And remember, while someone may not relish being called a pig or a rat, these signs are highly regarded in Chinese astrology!

Look for embellishments in jewelry shops, where you can find silver and gold charms in all the animals of the zodiac, and in craft shops, where you can find a huge selection of fun things to make your own.

Gail Kavanagh 2008

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