Chinese New Year 2017: The Rooster


The coming Chinese New Year will take place on the 28th January and will celebrate the tenth Zodiac sign, the rooster. Specifically 2017 will be the year of the Fire Rooster; babies born this year as well as those born in 1957 have this sign.


Thirteen roosters, from Doshoku Sai-e (Colorful Realm of Living Beings) Edo Period. c.1757-66 (colour on silk), Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800) / The Imperial Household Agency, Tokyo, Japan / De Agostini Picture Library


Characteristics of the Rooster

Roosters are considered to be the most motivated animal in the Chinese zodiac and always put their careers first. The Fire Rooster is extremely proactive and strong-willed with excellent leadership and organisational skills. They are trustworthy and responsible and it is thought that they will go far in the workplace once they overcome their shyness. According to traditional beliefs people with the Fire Rooster sign would be well suited to becoming a journalist, soldier or surgeon.


Rooster and Moon II (colour woodcut), Barry Wilson (b.1961) / Private Collection


The Rooster is also believed to have a flamboyant and colourful personality, with a very active imagination. They have a good sense of humour and love a discussion or debate. They often have a strong social life and like to involve themselves with lots of activities. They can also be a bit volatile and stubborn at times.


Flamboyant Cockerel, 2002 (monoprint), Paul Riley / Private Collection


More about the Zodiac sign

The Rooster is the only bird included in the Chinese zodiac. However the Chinese term is more generic, as it can mean barnyard fowl of either sex. In Tibetan astrology, the rooster is replaced by a bird.

The colours linked to the rooster are golden, brown and yellow hues. The lucky flowers are gladiola, impatiens and cockscomb.


Black Friend, Red Comb, 2014, (photograph), Alice Gur-Arie / Private Collection


Famous Roosters

Famous figures and celebrities with the sign include:

Craig David, Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Daniel Day Lewis,
Britney Spears, Kelly Rowland, Catherine Zeta-Jones,
Michael Caine, Stephen Fry, Paris Hilton, Benjamin Franklin


May Blayney & Maude Adams in Chantecleer. 1911 (b/w photo) / Private Collection / Prismatic Pictures


Outside of Asia, London will be hosting the biggest festivities for Chinese New Year. These will mostly take place in Chinatown and the West End on the following day, the 29th January, with a colourful parade and performances bringing excitement to Trafalgar Square. Dressing up in red is thought to help bring good luck to your year, and if you want to celebrate Cantonese-style, order a whole chicken dish and fish dish, to symbolise happiness for the family and surpluses every year.

ARD2543091 Blue Cockerel sculpture on the Fourth Plinth with St Martins-in-the-Fields in the background, Trafalgar Square, London, UK (photo); ( architect - Katherina Fritsch); Julian Castle/Arcaid; EDITORIAL USE ONLY; out of copyright

Blue Cockerel sculpture on the Fourth Plinth with St Martins-in-the-Fields in the background (detail), Trafalgar Square, London, UK (photo), Julian Castle / Arcaid


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Plump Hen and Fluffy Cockerel (w/c on paper) (detail), Annabel Fairfax (Contemporary Artist) / Private Collection

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