Thai 12 Year Animal Cycle

Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai

Doi Suthep – Important shrine for people born in the Year of the Goat

In Thailand, many people celebrate their birthday according to the 12 year cycle. This is similar to the Chinese system. This year it is is the Year of the Dog. Every twelve years people will have a special celebration either for a birthday or the anniversary on an important event. A few years ago, one of my ex-students invited me to his grandfather’s birthday. At the party, he told me to guess the age of his grandfather. He was surprised that I correctly guessed that his grandfather was 72 years old. This was easy to work out. I knew his grandfather wouldn’t invite me to just any birthday celebration as the older generation generally don’t celebrate birthdays. So, I deduced it must have been one of his 12 year cycles. I made an educated guess that this was his 6th cycle making him 72 years old. His Majesty the King recently had a grand celebration in 1999 for his 6th cycle.

Here are the years of the cycle with the animals associated with each year:

1. Year of the Rat – Bee Chuat
2. Year of the Ox (Bull) – Bee Chalu
3. Year of the Tiger – Bee Kahn
4. Year of the Rabbit (Hare) – Bee Toh
5. Year of the Dragon (Big snake) – Bee Marong
6. Year of the Snake – Bee Maseng
7. Year of the Horse – Bee Mamia
8. Year of the Goat – Bee Mamae
9. Year of the Monkey – Bee Wog
10. Year of the Rooster – Bee Raga
11. Year of the Dog – Bee Jor
12. Year of the Pig – Bee Goon

Spread around Thailand there are twelve temples which are considered important pilgrimage sites for each of the twelve years. On their 12th anniversary birthdays, people will go to the temple corresponding to the year of their birth in order to make extra special merit. I was born in the Year of the Goat, so that means I should go to Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai on my birthday in 2015. Earlier this year I made an effort to visit many of these important temples for our sister site at Over the coming days I will be telling you all about these sacred temples and shrines.

If you don’t know the animal sign for the year you were born, then click here.

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