Year of the Tiger: Chinese Zodiac Meaning and Years

Written by Jennifer Haase
Updated: July 16, 2023
© Freer/
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The powerful tiger is one of the most driven and intelligent signs in the Chinese zodiac. According to Chinese mythology, people born in the Year of the Tiger are fierce in their quest for justice. But they’re also charming and protective people. So let’s discover more fascinating details about the tiger sign’s meaning, years, and personality traits. We’ll also discuss how tigers attract good luck, great health, and meaningful relationships.

Infographic of Year of the Tiger
Those born in the Year of the Tiger typically are brave, determined, and confident.

How Does the Chinese Zodiac Work?

The Chinese zodiac is an ancient system that assigns an animal to each year of a 12-year lunar calendar. This type of calendar is based on the monthly phases of the moon. In addition, each of the 12 animal signs comes with specific characteristics and best practices that influence their lives.

Chinese zodiac
The Chinese zodiac is an ancient 12-year system of time that is based on the lunar calendar.

©Lukas Kursk/

Chinese Zodiac: The Great Race

The Great Race is the most popular myth of how the Chinese zodiac first began. The story starts with the Jade Emperor, a mythical ruler of the heavens, devising a plan to measure time. His goal was to host a race where the first 12 animals to run across the finish line would represent 12 years of a lunar calendar. The zodiac cycle would then repeat every 12 years, using the same animals in order of their place in the race.

According to the myth of The Great Race, the 12 animals listed below are the ones that crossed the finish line first. The animals are in order of how they placed in that mythical race and then became the years of the Chinese zodiac:

  1. Year of the Rat
  2. Year of the Ox
  3. Year of the Tiger
  4. Year of the Rabbit
  5. Year of the Dragon
  6. Year of the Snake
  7. Year of the Horse
  8. Year of the Goat
  9. Year of the Monkey
  10. Year of the Rooster
  11. Year of the Dog
  12. Year of the Pig

Each animal was also assigned specific traits, charms, and rituals that could either make them lucky or unlucky.

In addition to the zodiac animals and their traits, the Chinese zodiac involves the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These elements influence each lunar zodiac year, as well.

tiger running in snow
The Year of the Tiger comes around again every 12 years in the lunar calendar.


Chinese Zodiac Tiger Years

The Year of the Tiger repeats every 12th lunar year in the Chinese zodiac. Here are some recent tiger year dates and more tiger sign years coming in the future.

Tiger YearsDates
1926February 13, 1926 — February 1, 1927
1938January 31, 1938 — February 18, 1039
1950February 17, 1950 — February 5, 1951
1962February 5, 1962 — January 24, 1963
1974January 23, 1974 — February 10, 1975
1986February 9, 1986 — January 28, 1987
1998January 28, 1998 — February 15, 1999
2010February 14, 2010 — February 2, 2011
2022February 1, 2022 — January 21, 2023
2034February 19, 2034 — February 7, 2035
2046February 6, 2046 — January 25, 2047

Year of the Tiger Meaning and Traits

The tiger was the third animal to cross the finish line in The Great Race of Chinese zodiac mythology. As a result, the Year of the Tiger represents tiger-like traits of power, courage, and independence.

Tiger Personality Traits

Tiger people also represent tiger-inspired characteristics of bravery, determination, and confidence. In addition, they are charismatic leaders with a strong sense of justice and authority. People born under this sign might also be competitive, ambitious, determined, and territorial.

tiger laying atop a rock
Personality characteristics for tiger signs include the tiger-like traits of courage, strength, and confidence.

© Ramalho

Year of the Tiger people might also have the following common personality traits:

  • Loyal
  • Enterprising
  • Innovative
  • Honest
  • Generous
  • Bold
  • Stubborn
  • Strong
  • Charming
  • Protective
  • Confident

These traits can help or hinder tiger signs in their relationships. Keep reading to learn more about tiger sign relationships below!

Tiger Sign Relationships

Year of the Tiger people have captivating personalities that are very attractive to other zodiac signs. However, they find the strongest compatibility with three of the zodiac animals.

Two Bengal tigers, Karnataka, India
The Chinese zodiac recommends specific sign pairings for tigers to promote healthy relationships.

©Paul Mannix / Creative Commons

Relationship Compatibility

Horse, dog, and pig zodiac signs are all compatible mates for tiger signs, according to Chinese astrology.

  • Horse Signs: Horses and tigers share a mutual understanding and admiration for each other’s energy and drive. Both signs have a sense of adventure and love to start new challenges together.
  • Dog Signs: Dogs form a deep bond with tigers based on mutual loyalty and trust. They also support each other’s ambitions.
  • Pig Signs: Tigers and pigs share an affectionate connection with lots of mutual respect. They’re both nurturing signs that focus on building loving relationships.

Relationship Incompatibility

Chinese astrology also suggests that people born in the Year of the Tiger might struggle in relationships with certain other zodiac signs. The two standout signs that might be incompatible with tiger people are monkey and snake. Pairing tigers with these signs could create challenging relationships based on individual zodiac traits.

  • Monkey Signs: Tiger personalities tend to be more serious compared to playful and mischievous monkey signs. This difference between them could lead to conflict.
  • Snake Signs: Tiger people might also clash with snake signs because snakes are more reserved and private. The tiger’s need for openness and transparency could lead to trust issues and communication breakdowns between these two signs.

However, it’s important to note that many things, including our past experiences, influence relationship dynamics. These zodiac traits are generalizations, and many couples have proved them wrong. With lots of healthy love and mutual effort, any zodiac sign can work toward building a harmonious relationship with the loyal and mighty tiger.

How Tiger Signs Attract Good Luck

Based on their animal sign, it’s no surprise that Year of the Tiger individuals are strong and magnetic. Those traits help them create a life full of positive outcomes. However, just like every other sign in the zodiac, tigers experience a mix of good luck and bad throughout their lifetime. So the Chinese zodiac has recommendations for what all signs can do to attract good luck and avoid hard times as much as possible.

Keep reading to discover some of the lucky and unlucky things for tiger signs, plus some actions they might take or avoid to have lucky lives.

Photo of a tiger figurine with Chinese coins. The symbol of Feng Shui. A positive talisman. The inscription on the coins means the wish of wealth and good luck.
People born in the Year of the Tiger can attract good luck with lucky colors and talismans.


Lucky Things and Actions for Year of the Tiger

The following things and actions might bring good luck to tiger signs:

  • Lucky Numbers: 1, 3, and 4, plus numbers that contain any combination of these numerals (like 34 or 14)
  • Lucky Colors: Orange, blue, gray
  • Lucky Gemstones: Sapphire and garnet
  • Lucky Direction: North, Southeast, and East
  • Lucky Flowers: Cineraria and the yellow lily
  • Lucky Days: 16th and 27th of any month of the lunar calendar

Lucky Actions or Rituals:

  • Displaying tiger-themed home decor like pictures and figurines
  • Wearing tiger-themed jewelry
  • Displaying or wearing the color red, particularly during important events or celebrations
  • Visiting sacred places associated with tigers or any place where tigers are revered and treated with respect
  • Practicing acts of bravery and seeking leadership roles in line with tiger’s personality strengths
  • Engaging in physical activities or sports that showcase strength and agility
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation to maintain the tiger’s keen focus and mental clarity.

Based on zodiac recommendations, these lucky things and actions could promote positive energy and attract good luck for people born in the Year of the Tiger. But are there things that might bring tiger people bad luck based on this ancient system? There sure are! See below for a list of unlucky things that tigers might want to avoid.

Unlucky Things and Actions for Year of the Tiger

Tiger signs should steer clear of the following unlucky things to avoid attracting bad luck:

  • Unlucky Colors: Brown
  • Unlucky Numbers: 6, 7, and 8
  • Unlucky Direction: Southwest
  • Unlucky Months: In the Chinese lunar calendar, the first, fourth, fifth, and eleventh months might be unlucky for tiger signs unless they practice luck-bringing rituals.

Unlucky Actions:

  • Dwelling in the past
  • Holding grudges
  • Being impulsive.

Now let’s check out how the five elements of the Chinese zodiac might affect tiger sign people, plus which years these elements have the strongest influence.

Tiger Sign Elements

The Chinese zodiac years are also assigned elements. So every tiger sign year has a new prominent element that influences their personalities and lives. For example, when the wood element is dominant during a tiger year, wood-influenced personality traits like confidence are also dominant.

Let’s examine the dominant tiger sign traits for each of the five elements, plus the recent tiger years when each element was dominant.

Tiger, Animals In The Wild, Forest, Water, Animal Head
The Chinese zodiac assigns one of the five elements to each year. For example, 2022 was a water tiger year.

© Prosicky

Tiger Personality Traits Based on the Five Elements

When a particular element is dominant during the Year of the Tiger, these traits might also be more prominent for people born under this sign.

  • Water Tiger Traits: Studious, focused, confident, envious, thoughtful
  • Wood Tiger Traits: Cooperative, easily frustrated, communicative, fair, collaborative
  • Fire Tiger Traits: Independent, free-spirited, stubborn, positive, optimistic
  • Earth Tiger Traits: Mindful, grounded, expressive, realistic, truthful.

The Five Dominant Elements for Recent Tiger Sign Years

In the Chinese zodiac, it takes 60 years (based on the lunar calendar) for an element to come back around to the same sign again.

Here’s a list of recent tiger years and their ruling elements:

  • Water Tiger Years: 1902, 1962, 2022
  • Wood Tiger Years: 1914, 1974
  • Fire Tiger Years: 1926, 1986
  • Earth Tiger Years: 1938, 1998
  • Gold Tiger Years: 1950, 2010.

Tiger Sign Celebrities

Are you curious which celebrities were born in the Year of the Tiger? If so, scan the following list of 12 famous tiger folks: past and present!

Bangladesh, Bengal Tiger, Tiger, West Bengal, Animal
People born in tiger years are natural leaders with standout personalities.


Year of the Tiger Celebrities:

  • Queen Elizabeth II: Fire Tiger born April 21, 1926
  • Stevie Wonder: Water Tiger born May 13, 1950
  • Demi Moore: Water Tiger born November 11, 1962
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: Wood Tiger born November 11, 1974
  • Michelle Yeoh: Water Tiger born August 6, 1962
  • Jimmy Fallon: Wood Tiger born September 19, 1974
  • Penelope Cruz: Wood Tiger born April 28, 1974
  • Shawn Mendes: Earth Tiger born August 8, 1998
  • Natalie Wood: Earth Tiger born July 20, 1938
  • Bill Murray: Gold Tiger born September 21, 1950
  • Lady Gaga: Fire Tiger born March 28, 1986
  • Drake: Fire Tiger born October 24, 1986.

Most of the above celebrities had or have entertainment careers. But do you know what additional career paths tiger signs will likely take or avoid? Keep reading to find out!

Year of the Tiger Jobs and Careers

According to the Chinese zodiac, tiger signs excel in fields that encourage their enterprising ideas, competitive nature, independence, and desire for leadership roles. So check out our list below of jobs and careers that align with these valuable traits. Then look at some of the job situations that might not provide Year of the Tiger people with career satisfaction, or at least not for long.

Largest cats - Siberian tiger
People with tiger sign personalities are often strong, energetic, and athletic.

©Jan Stria/

Compatible Career Choices for Year of the Tiger People

Tigers thrive in leadership roles and careers where they take part in ensuring justice. They’re also powerful athletes and commanding speakers. For those reasons, the following roles could be great career choices for Year of the Tiger people.

  • Business management
  • Entrepreneur ventures
  • Sales and marketing
  • Politics and government roles
  • Sports and other careers in athletics
  • Military careers
  • Public speaking and speech writing
  • Entertainment and the performing arts
  • Law enforcement and security
  • Travel-related jobs like leading adventure tours.

Careers That Might Not be Suitable for Year of the Tiger People

Tigers are dedicated people with a laser focus on the tasks at hand. However, a job without challenges, excitement, and risks might bore them to tears. With that thought in mind, here are some job conditions and career choices that might not be compatible with the tiger signs of the Chinese zodiac.

  • Repetitive jobs like data entry and factory work
  • Career paths that don’t offer high growth potential
  • Work environments that don’t support innovation
  • Non-leadership roles, especially when tigers have already earned the necessary credentials
  • Risky jobs that don’t also include great strategy, planning, and support behind them
  • Desk jobs with few opportunities for physical activity
  • Careers with a slow daily pace and slow advancement
  • Working for micromanaging supervisors
  • Careers that don’t encourage (and may even suppress) the tiger sign’s strong personality and individuality.

In addition to needing great careers that support their strengths, tiger sign people should also pay attention to what supports their health. See below for what the Chinese zodiac recommends for healthy tiger sign habits.

Tiger Sign Health and Self-Care

Though tigers signs are known for being strong and energetic, they should still prioritize their health and self-care. Otherwise, the tiger’s gallant pursuits could suffer if their energy levels tank from a lack of great nutrition and healthy habits.

Discover some healthy foods and habits that could support tiger signs below. But we recommend consulting with your doctor and nutritionist first for their knowledgeable advice about supporting your needs.

Sleepiest Animals – Tiger
Year of the Tiger people need plenty of sleep to maintain healthy physical strength and mental clarity.

©Linda George/

Healthy Foods for Year of the Tiger People

The following general food recommendations focus on tiger sign traits and how to support them. Consult with a nutritionist for the right foods for your body because you might have sensitivities to these and other foods.

  • Lean proteins: Strong and athletic tigers might maintain their energy levels by eating lean protein. These proteins could include chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, and beans (legumes) because they provide essential amino acids to support muscle building and physical prowess.
  • Whole grains: A tiger’s ambition and ability to focus might benefit from a diet that also includes whole grains. Barley, oats, quinoa, millet, brown rice, and whole wheat bread are examples of whole grain foods that could fuel the tiger’s drive and endurance throughout the day. However, many people have gluten allergies or sensitivities, so ask your doctor if they feel you should test for gluten intolerance.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Leaders like tigers need to stay at the top of their game (and avoid taking sick days), so immune system support from antioxidants is important. Organic vegetables and fruits could provide essential vitamins, fiber, and the antioxidants everybody needs to stay healthy.
  • Nuts and seeds: Unless tiger signs are allergic to them, nuts and seeds could provide healthy fats that support brain function and mental clarity. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and Brazil nuts, plus chia seeds and flaxseeds, added to a healthy balanced diet could enhance the tiger’s ability to think fast and stay focused.
  • Green tea: Tigers have a competitive spirit that could fizzle from an unhealthy metabolism. Adding antioxidant-rich and caffeinated green tea to the tiger sign diet might boost metabolism and maintain competitive energy.

Healthy Habits for Year of the Tiger People:

These habits might support tiger sign people in their pursuit of good health. However, consult your doctor first for their recommendations about what is healthiest for your body and lifestyle.

  • Regular exercise: Tigers are naturally athletic, so exercises like jogging, swimming, martial arts, or yoga could help them channel their energy, stay strong, and reduce stress.
  • Mindful eating: The focused tiger sign may need to practice mindful eating to help them stay present while they enjoy a meal. Taking the time to really notice how food tastes, smells, and feels in their bodies helps tiger signs focus on what they need to feel their best.
  • Stress management: The ambitious tiger sign could benefit from stress-reducing practices like meditation and enjoying more downtime to reduce anxiety and feel happier.
  • Rest and quality sleep: Tigers have an intense drive and need proper rest to rejuvenate. Prioritizing rest and quality sleep allows their bodies to recover, renew physical energy, and maintain their mental health.
  • Hydration: With all that passionate roaring, it’s no wonder tigers need to stay hydrated! All kidding aside, tiger signs might benefit from watching their water intake to ensure they get plenty throughout the day. This suggestion is because great hydration could support healthy joints, regulate moods and body temperature, and help tiger signs sleep better too.

Year of the Tiger People Lead With Their Strengths

People born during the tiger years of the Chinese zodiac represent many tiger-like traits, like strength, drive, and independence. Moreover, those born under this sign are destined to conquer challenges and achieve greatness. Therefore, by learning the meaning and years of the Year of the Tiger, people might be inspired to lead with their strengths and foster happy, healthy lives.

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About the Author

I've been a professional writer for over 12 years, specializing in nature themes, including plants and animals. My areas of interest include pets, sea animals, and flowers. Plus, I can't get enough of red pandas and hummingbirds! I also enjoy gardening, nutrition studies, and snuggling with my cats in my spare time.

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