Year of the Snake: Chinese Zodiac Meaning and Years

Written by Kristin Hitchcock
Updated: July 16, 2023
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According to the myth of zodiac animals, the order of the zodiac was decided by how the animals arrived at the Jade Emperor’s party. In the myth, Snake and Dragon were great friends. However, the Emperor saw the Dragon first due to its much larger size. Therefore, the Snake is the sixth animal in the sequence, while the Dragon is the fifth.

The Snake is a part of the Earthly branch, alongside the Horse and Rabbit. While snakes have a negative connotation in the western view, this isn’t the case in China. The creator of the world in Chinese mythology had a snake body. Therefore, they have a significant role in Chinese culture.

Infographic of Year of the Snake
Those born in the year of the snake do well under pressure, allowing them to outperform others in stressful environments.

Dates of the Year of the Snake

Each year in Chinese culture is associated with a different zodiac animal. There are 12 in all, and the animals go in order. However, the Chinese year is based on the lunar calendar, which doesn’t align with the Gregorian calendar. The Chinese New Year is typically sometime in January or February, and the zodiac animal switches over at this time.

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1917January 23, 1917 – February 10, 1918
1929February 10, 1929 – January 29, 1930
1941January 27, 1941 – February 14, 1942
1953February 14, 1953 – February 3, 1954
1965February 2, 1965 – January 20, 1966
1977February 18, 1977 – February 6, 1978
1989February 6, 1989 – January 26, 1990
2001January 24, 2001 – February 11, 2002
2013February 10, 2013 – January 30, 2014
2025January 29, 2025 – February 16, 2026

Snake Characteristics and Personality

The Snake is sophisticated, engaging, and big-thinking. The Snake tends to see the larger picture, leading them to avoid minor, everyday problems. Instead, they want to “change the world.” They don’t appreciate small talk, so they may have trouble making friends. However, the friends they do have tend to be true.

They thrive in a chaotic environment. They have a strong foundation and do great under pressure, allowing them to outperform others in stressful environments.

The Snake tends to be extremely intelligent and wise. They learn quickly and know how to apply their knowledge. They’re also quite intuitive. Sometimes they seem to know the answer.

Their high intelligence leads to them discounting many of what others say. They often make plans without asking anyone else what they think (though they are usually right). Because they don’t talk to others about their goals, they’re often pretty private. Therefore, they may have a hard time connecting with others. It’s easy for people to think they don’t like them when the Snake isn’t open.

They prefer to work alone and do their best thinking in the wee hours of the morning when everyone else is sleeping. They can be a bit materialistic, though they have no patience for shopping. The invention of online shopping has led to a worsening problem with their materialism, as they can now shop without going out.

Elements of the Snake

Diadophis punctatus edwardsii

The most compatible sign with the Snake is the Monkey.

©Jay Ondreicka/

The Snake is further augmented with one of five different elements. These are assigned to each year in a series — just like the zodiac animals.

The Wood Snake tends to be more easygoing and open than other Snakes. They make more friends for this reason. However, they may be more prone to perfectionism, leading to extra stress. They may not share this stress openly, though. Sometimes, they may lean on their friends for help succeeding and managing this stress.

The Earth Snake can be more sensitive but tend to attract loyal friends. They don’t forget and forgive, either. Therefore, they tend to end their friendship once a friend wrongs them. Thus, the friends they do have left are very loyal and reliable. They’re pretty sensitive to critique and need to be treated gently.

Fire Snakes are a bit more erratic than other Snakes. They’re quick to anger and sometimes act before they think. They can make promising entrepreneurs, but they aren’t great developing groups. Therefore, they often need a partner to help them to do well in the world. They’re a great idea generator, but follow-through can be a challenge.

Water Snakes are more laidback. They’re very optimistic and artistic. They think deeply, allowing them to think about every detail before settling on a plan. They’re brave, but they have an extremely high confidence level. While this may seem significant, it can lead to them ignoring good advice.

Metal Snakes are decisive — more so than other snakes. They make decisions quickly and stick to them without regard for anyone else’s thoughts. They’re very strict with themselves but can learn to balance that with freedom and rest. Sometimes, due to their high intelligence, they can be arrogant.

Snake Relationship Compatibility

Some zodiac signs get along better with others. Sometimes, two characters complement each other, while they may be similar in other cases.

The most compatible sign with the Snake is the Monkey. Both of these signs have similar personalities, allowing them to move together. They often think alike and don’t feel bad about the other’s potentially annoying traits.

The Rooster and Snake are very different but can get along quite well. They’re opposites that work together, though much communication is needed.

The Ox and Snake can get along, too. Often, Oxen is a foundation for the Snake, while the Snake provides innovative ideas.

On the other hand, the Tiger and Snake don’t get along well. Often, they have a hard time understanding each other and don’t move at the same pace. They also don’t work well with Pigs. They may be decent work partners. However, they don’t trust each other much, which can lead to complications.

The Snake and Luck

Specific symptoms are lucky for the Snake, while others are unlucky. Knowing what things to avoid and which to go after may be helpful if you were born in the year of the Snake.

The colors black, red, and yellow are lucky, while white, gold, and brown are unlucky. The numbers two, eight, and nine are fortunate, and the numbers one, six, and seven are unlucky.

The Snake may also find orchids and cacti lucky. There aren’t any unlucky flowers or plants to avoid.

Snake Careers

The Snake does excellent in jobs that require thinking and decision-making. They’re also quite competitive, allowing them to do well in more high-stress environments. Working in executive-level positions works well for them, though their inability to form a solid team can get in the way. They have excellent leadership skills, but their lack of trust can be telling.

They have strong opinions and won’t always do things a certain way when asked. If they think they can do a job better another way, that’s precisely what they’ll do. Jobs that don’t allow them to stretch their mind can make them frustrated. Therefore, routine jobs aren’t the best option.

To truly succeed, Snakes must learn to listen to others. Lowering their guard and listening to advice can be challenging. However, it’s the only way they can ensure long-lasting success. While they are intelligent, Snakes don’t know everything.

Snake Health

Snakes may be very healthy, or they may not be beneficial. Sadly, this zodiac sign doesn’t hugely impact their base health, so it largely depends on their behaviors and genetics. They would probably be healthy if their parents were healthy. (However, the inverse is also true.)

They tend to be picky eaters. They may decide that they enjoy certain foods and not others, despite what anyone else says. Getting them to eat as children may be challenging, as they often cling to their decisions. In some cases, this can lead to health problems.

Furthermore, they also tend to ignore their symptoms. They may not seek the help they need to stay healthy, causing health problems to worsen.

Stress is a big problem for them and can lead to anxiety. While they are often excellent in stressful situations, they tend to shoulder too much, leading to chronic stress. The Snake must learn to trust others with tasks instead of trying to do everything themselves.

Snakes are often the last to seek the mental health services they need. Therefore, their friends and family must watch for signs of stress and politely intervene. If you’re a snake, remember there is nothing wrong with seeking help. It can make you stronger and more resilient in the long run.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alice-astro | CC BY-SA – License / Original

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About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

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