Can you feel it in the air? Something like a warm, snuggly, snorting little mammal giving you a nudge with a wide, soft snout? That's right—it's officially the Year of the Pig!
And what exactly is this magical occasion of the porcine persuasion? ("Porcine" means relating to pigs ...) It's time to check out the Chinese zodiac, folks!
What animal are you?
The Chinese zodiac is a repeating 12-stage cycle that matches animals of certain characteristics to different years. It is a similar idea to the Western zodiac (which features signs like Taurus, Leo, and Virgo), though the characters in that are each assigned to a month-long period, not a year.
As the Chinese calendar is lunar-based—or follows cycles of the Moon—each Chinese New Year begins on a date somewhere between late January and mid-February each year. The zodiac animals are, in order:
Why twelve? The entire cycle is loosely based of the orbital period of Jupiter, which is 11.85 years. Variations of this 12-year zodiac are popular across Southeast Asia, including in Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia, and South Korea.
So that's the general gist of the Chinese zodiac. What does it mean to be a pig?
Dig the pig
Pigs in the Chinese zodiac are intelligent, calm, artistic, and well-mannered. This checks out for us, as pigs are pretty underrated for their smarts in real life. Numerous studies show that they are smarter than dogs and have brains that rival those of chimpanzees. They are also nurturing animals that build tight friendships. And, if threatened, a pig can actually be a very tough customer.
Smart, loyal, strong—sounds like a pig is a great animal to share a year with. And if you're turning twelve this year, then we're talking about you! Happy Year of the Pig!
The current Year of the Pig will last from February 5, 2019 to January 24, 2020. The most recent previous Years of the Pig were between February 18, 2007 and February 6, 2008, and between January 31, 1995 and February 18, 1996.