What do you think of when you think about a rooster?  Outspoken, frank, open, proud and boastful are some descriptions that come to mind. Officially the year of the rooster begins on January 28, the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar.

The Chinese animal zodiac (“Shengxiao” in Chinese) is a 12-year repeating cycle. The rooster is 10th in the 12-animal zodiac and it is the only fowl on the list. In Chinese astrology, each zodiac year is not just associated with an animal sign, but also one of five elements – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. Combined, the zodiac sign and element shapes the fortunes of the year with element-sign combinations recurring every 60 years.

2017 is a Fire Rooster year. What can we expect?

According to folklore, Roosters had to work hard to become one of the zodiac animals. Being naturally aggressive, he was prone to fighting with others. One day, the king Rooster got the advice from the Horse, who had just received the honor of being included as one of the animal zodiac from the Jade Emperor: “You must bring real benefits to human beings, as I did. On typical days, I went to plough; during the war, I went to fight on the front. You have a wonderful voice, why not make full use of it?”

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The comb on the rooster was originally a red flower on the Jade Emperor’s clothes.

Inspired, the king Rooster began to wake up very early to crow the people awake. However, the Jade Emperor still refused to consider fowl for the zodiac. Upset, the king Rooster approached the Jade Emperor to argue his case. The Jade Emperor was swayed and picked a red flower from his clothes and put it on Rooster’s head, which Rooster proudly wore to see the Four Heavenly Kings. Recognizing that the flower was given to Rooster by the Jade Emperor, the Heavenly Kings made an exception and included him as one of animals in the zodiac.

Audacity and perseverance are two key qualities of Rooster. Since the Zhou Dynasty, rooster has been regarded as the time keeper. He’s always the first to wake up and crows tirelessly to wake people up. Paired with the element fire and you have an explosive combination heralding a year full of  opportunity. Who knows what opportunity the fire rooster year can bring: moving to a new house, a promotion, finding your significant other? You name it!

How can we profit from the Year of Rooster?

The sound of the character “鸡” (rooster)  in Chinese sounds similar to the word “吉” (auspicious). Also, as roosters are known for being the timekeepers harkening the arrival of dawn, they represent hope. There’s a saying in Chinese, “when roosters crow, the world becomes brighter.” In the year of Rooster, companies and businesses can take advantage of this association to promote new beginnings and a bright future.

However, it is important to not overlook the fact that rooster are arrogant creatures. Accordingly, you’ll see only proud roosters with chest out associated with the zodiac.  A zodiac rooster would never be depicted with his head lowered, scavenging for food. A head held up high represents energy and vitality.

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Allegravita 2017 Year of Rooster Greeting GIF

If you want to represent lunar year rooster, red and gold are the safest colors for the image, which represent prosperity and good luck. We don’t see other colors, such as blue or green as the holistic color for roosters quite often but you can adopt multiple colors, including black. Embedding brand logos into some parts of the rooster or using the brand color are also effective.

In the West, people are usually quite familiar with the animals of the Chinese zodiac and many brands have adopted roaster to boost the lunar New Year sales promotion. We see numerous advertisements with roosters, but they are all quite similar and the image is used too freely. Tradition has it that the phoenix started out her journey as a chicken and phoenix might be the most frequently-used symbol to represent nobility in traditional Chinese culture. So use the rooster symbol selectively as an extra-special touch – you don’t want him standing proudly there without getting any attention!