Out with the Horse, in with the Goat: Celebrating Animals for Chinese New Year

Kung hei fat choy! We’re excited to ring in the Lunar New Year at na2ure, and the part we’re most excited about is the use of animal personalities to determine the characteristics of an entire year… and the people born in it.

2015 is the Year of the Green Wooden Goat. It can also be referred to as the year of the Sheep or Ram, since they’re all part of the same zodiac group (and because the Chinese language doesn’t actually distinguish between the animals). Chinese astrology uses a 12-cycle calendar where each year in that cycle is represented by a different animal -- Rat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig. Each animal has a distinct personality, and each year with that animal has an element -- wood, fire, water, earth, and metal -- and color connected to it, creating 60 possible signs. Add in the genders of the people born under it, and you get 120. With different personalities and characteristics to boot.

It may seem strange to celebrate a year devoted to an animal as ornery as the goat, but they’ve got lots of great qualities to be excited about:

  • Goats are social, curious, gentle, and intelligent
  • Goats get bored and lonely when isolated, so they need companionship to be healthy -- just like people
  • Goats are smarter than dogs; if they watch you open food or a gate latch, they will practice it behind your back and use it to their advantage
  • Goats have a herd hierarchy

Those attributes can be really influential… and it’s not just us saying so. According to the astrology expert in this Fortune article the energy of wood is beginning to flower, which bodes well for the economy and wood-related industries within it. Wood represents growth and change, and both of those traits bode particularly well for people making products out of paper (like us!), manufacturers of green products (also like us!), and educators (also also like us!).

We’re thrilled by that trifecta, and are eager to see how it all unfolds. But the real reason we’re so encouraged by a green goat is because we just eked through a horse year, and those are tumultuous (as ours was). Also this:

This is a fire horse. Of the 120 possible animals in the Chinese zodiac, female fire horse is the most feared of all… and it fits our very own Alex Wolf to a T.

Fire horses are strong-willed, kick against boundaries, and disregard tradition. They are unpredictable and destined for extremes. They race through life, travel often, and chase freedom.

And women born under this sign are thought to be significantly more dangerous than men.

Men with these traits are considered bold and visionary, destined for success. Women with these traits are… well, not. They are considered unpredictable and dangerous. They make less money. They have higher rates of divorce. It’s such a strong, superstitious influence that birth rates plummeted in Japan in the last year of the Fire Horse:


Obviously, we feel differently. Alex considers this disparate selection of traits her biggest advantage, as those visionary qualities helped her create a solution to teaching her daughter about plants and animals. She went to a girl’s school, and most of her class were fire horse women. All of them are bold and visionary, and have accomplished great things. They are also known as the “worst” class in the history of the school. And are still shushed at alumni lunches.

Again, this is rooted in superstition. But, it’s proven at least a little bit true for us. We’re eager to embrace all these qualities and run ahead with the ones that work for us -- and we encourage you to do the same. What’s your zodiac animal? How are you going to embrace the qualities of the goat? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter!

And remember: if you want to learn more about horses and goats, we have games for that.