Year of the Rooster

Photo from Harbin, China, courtesy of niece Nicole. She's a Water Monkey.
Photo from Harbin, China, courtesy of niece Nicole. She’s a Water Monkey.

I was born in the year of the rooster. It feels presumptuous to claim “this is my year,” when, by a rough calculation, I likely share this designation with 1/12th of the population of earth. Give or take a few one-thousandths. But it at least feels noteworthy, and worth a blog post, since a rooster year only rolls around every 1.2 decades.

My mother was also born in the year of the rooster. She died during a year of the horse, but I’m not sure if there’s meaning there. There is supposed to be significance to the “type” of sign you were born under, aligning with the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.

Mom was a “Water Rooster.” According to, that means she was “smart and agile, sensitive, keen on art and niceness.” That feels pretty accurate.

I am an “Earth Rooster,” so, supposedly, I’m “active, perceptive, like traveling and making friends.” I’d like to think that’s accurate. I’m also a Virgo, which is an Earth sign, so I guess I have a lot of earthiness going on. I do have a fondness for geology.

Many years ago, I frequented a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. (I was living there at the time, so it wasn’t like I was commuting thousands of miles to go to this restaurant. The sesame chicken was good, but not that good.) It used paper placemats with the signs of the Chinese zodiac on it. If you’ve been to a Chinese restaurant in the U.S. in the past twenty years, you’ve likely seen similar.

I would bristle every time I read my sign. It called roosters, or cocks, “selfish and eccentric.” I was okay with the eccentric part. But, selfish? Heavens, no! And certainly not my mother. How could a woman who always put her seven children ahead of her own interests be considered selfish?


In the intervening years, I’ve learned to take my placemat horoscopes with a grain of salt. Truth be told, I certainly have a greater degree of self-interest than my mother possessed, but I still don’t consider myself selfish.

And there are many positive traits of the rooster that I either hold, or aspire to. This, according to (again) “Rooster is almost the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start to work. In Chinese culture, another symbolic meaning chicken carries is exorcising evil spirits.”

Fidelity, yes; punctuality, I aspire to; and if waking up early to write can be considered a form of crowing, then that applies, too. And if my writing can do anything to exorcise evil spirits, I’ll be pretty happy with that.

2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster. According to, it means we’re moving past the tempestuous Year of the Fire Monkey, and “we’ll start to play fair again, realizing that ‘winning’ (and slinging mud) isn’t worth much if it comes at the price of our pride and personal relationships.”

That would be something to crow about.

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