Chinese zodiac

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The Shēngxiào (生肖), better known in English as the Chinese Zodiac, is a scheme that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year mathematical cycle. It has wide currency in several East Asian countries such as China and Korea and Japan.

Identifying this scheme using the term "zodiac" reflects several similarities to the Western zodiac: both have time cycles divided into 12 parts, each labels at least the majority of those parts with names of animals, and each is widely associated with a culture of attributing influence of a person's relationship to the cycle upon their personality and/or events in their life. Nevertheless, there are major differences: the "Chinese" 12-part cycle corresponds to years rather than months. The Chinese Zodiac is represented by 12 animals, whereas some of the signs in the Western zodiac are not animals, despite the implication of the Greek etymology of "zodiac". The animals of the Chinese Zodiac are not associated with constellations, let alone those spanned by the ecliptic plane.

Contents

Personalities

The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and there are many stories about the origins of the Chinese Zodiac which explain why this is so (see below). The following are the twelve zodiac signs (each with its associated Earthly branch) in order and their characteristics.Theodora Lau, The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, pp. 2–8, 30–5, 60–4, 88–94, 118–24, 148–53, 178–84, 208–13, 238–44, 270–78, 306–12, 338–44, Souvenir Press, New York, 2005

  1. Rat () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water ,Earth): Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, intellectual, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, and shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, envious, mendacious, venal, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, and scheming.
  2. Ox () (Water buffalo in Vietnam) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water): Dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, and tenacious. Can be stubborn, dogmatic, hot-tempered, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, and demanding.
  3. Tiger () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, and generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, and moody.
  4. Rabbit or () (Cat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amicable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, lucky, and flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, and stubborn.
  5. Dragon / () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, and loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, and brash.
  6. Snake () (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, and purposeful. Can be a loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, and cold.
  7. Horse / () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, and open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, and stubborn.
  8. Goat (aka Ram or Sheep) – () (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, observant, artistic, intellectual, ingenious, innovative, creative, mothering, peaceful, and generous. Can be indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, sensitive, shy, and weak-willed.
  9. Monkey () (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, and factual. Can be egotistical, vain, arrogant, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious, and stubborn.
  10. Rooster / () (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, and responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, proud, opinionated, and gives into empty bravado.
  11. Dog / () (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, and easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, and quarrelsome.
  12. Pig / () (Boar in Japan and Elephant in Northern Thailand) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water): Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, and intelligent. Can be naïve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, and materialistic.

In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs and many western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called inner animals), by day (called true animals) and hours (called secret animals).

While a person might appear to be a Dragon because they were born in the year of the Dragon, they might also be a Snake internally, an Ox truly and Goat secretively. In total, this makes for 103,680 possible combinations (60 year cycle (5 elements × 12 animals) × 12 months × 12 days × 12 periods of the day) that a person might be. These are all considered critical for the proper use of Chinese astrology .

Chinese calendar

Years

Sexagenary cycle

Within the Four Pillars, the year is the pillar representing information about the person's family background and society or relationship with their grandparents. The person's age can also be easily deduced from the sign of the person, the current sign of the year and the person's perceived age (teens,mid 20's, 40's and so on). For example, a person who is a tiger is either 12, 24, 36 or 48 years old in 2010, the year of the tiger. In 2011, the year of the rabbit, that person is one year older.

The following table shows the 60-year cycle matched up to the Western calendar for the years 1924–2043 (see Sexagenary cycle article for years 1804–2043). The sexagenary cycle begins at lichun 'about February 4' according to some astrological sources.[1],You can also use a Chinese Zodiac Calculator find your own Chinese Zodiac sign[2] .

 Year Associated
Element
Heavenly
Stem
Earthly
Branch
Associated
Animal
Year
1924–1983 1984–2043
1Feb  5, 1924 – Jan 23, 1925 Yang Wood 鼠 RatFeb  2, 1984 – Feb 19, 1985
2Jan 24, 1925 – Feb 12, 1926 Yin Wood 牛 OxFeb 20, 1985 – Feb  8, 1986
3Feb 13, 1926 – Feb  1, 1927 Yang Fire 虎 TigerFeb  9, 1986 – Jan 28, 1987
4Feb  2, 1927 – Jan 22, 1928 Yin Fire 兔 RabbitJan 29, 1987 – Feb 16, 1988
5Jan 23, 1928 – Feb  9, 1929 Yang Earth 龍 DragonFeb 17, 1988 – Feb  5, 1989
6Feb 10, 1929 – Jan 29, 1930 Yin Earth 蛇 SnakeFeb  6, 1989 – Jan 26, 1990
7Jan 30, 1930 – Feb 16, 1931 Yang Metal 馬 HorseJan 27, 1990 – Feb 14, 1991
8Feb 17, 1931 – Feb  5, 1932 Yin Metal 羊 Goat Feb 15, 1991 – Feb  3, 1992
9Feb  6, 1932 – Jan 25, 1933 Yang Water 猴 MonkeyFeb  4, 1992 – Jan 22, 1993
10Jan 26, 1933 – Feb 13, 1934 Yin Water 鷄 RoosterJan 23, 1993 – Feb  9, 1994
11Feb 14, 1934 – Feb  3, 1935 Yang Wood 狗 DogFeb 10, 1994 – Jan 30 1995
12Feb  4, 1935 – Jan 23, 1936 Yin Wood 猪 PigJan 31, 1995 – Feb 18, 1996
13Jan 24, 1936 – Feb 10 1937 Yang Fire 鼠 RatFeb 19, 1996 – Feb  6, 1997
14Feb 11, 1937 – Jan 30 1938 Yin Fire 牛 OxFeb  7, 1997 – Jan 27, 1998
15Jan 31, 1938 – Feb 18, 1939 Yang Earth 虎 TigerJan 28, 1998 – Feb 15, 1999
16Feb 19, 1939 – Feb  7, 1940 Yin Earth 兔 RabbitFeb 16, 1999 – Feb  4, 2000
17Feb  8, 1940 – Jan 26, 1941 Yang Metal 龍 DragonFeb  5, 2000 – Jan 23, 2001
18Jan 27, 1941 – Feb 14, 1942 Yin Metal 蛇 SnakeJan 24, 2001 – Feb 11, 2002
19Feb 15, 1942 – Feb  4, 1943 Yang Water 馬 HorseFeb 12, 2002 – Jan 31, 2003
20Feb  5, 1943 – Jan 24, 1944 Yin Water 羊 GoatFeb  1, 2003 – Jan 21, 2004
21Jan 25, 1944 – Feb 12, 1945 Yang Wood 猴 MonkeyJan 22, 2004 – Feb  8, 2005
22Feb 13, 1945 – Feb  1, 1946 Yin Wood 鷄 RoosterFeb  9, 2005 – Jan 28, 2006
23Feb  2, 1946 – Jan 21, 1947 Yang Fire 狗 DogJan 29, 2006 – Feb 17, 2007
24Jan 22, 1947 – Feb  9, 1948 Yin Fire 猪 PigFeb 18, 2007 – Feb  6, 2008
25Feb 10, 1948 – Jan 28, 1949 Yang Earth 鼠 RatFeb  7, 2008 – Jan 25, 2009
26Jan 29, 1949 – Feb 16, 1950 Yin Earth 牛 OxJan 26, 2009 – Feb 13, 2010
27Feb 17, 1950 – Feb  5, 1951 Yang Metal 虎 TigerFeb 14, 2010 – Feb  2, 2011
28Feb  6, 1951 – Jan 26, 1952 Yin Metal 兔 RabbitFeb  3, 2011 – Jan 22, 2012
29Jan 27, 1952 – Feb 13, 1953 Yang Water 龍 DragonJan 23, 2012 – Feb  9, 2013
30Feb 14, 1953 – Feb  2, 1954 Yin Water 蛇 SnakeFeb 10, 2013 – Jan 30 2014
31Feb  3, 1954 – Jan 23, 1955 Yang Wood 馬 HorseJan 31, 2014 – Feb 18, 2015
32Jan 24, 1955 – Feb 11, 1956 Yin Wood 羊 Goat Feb 19, 2015 – Feb  7, 2016
33Feb 12, 1956 – Jan 30 1957 Yang Fire 猴 MonkeyFeb  8, 2016 – Jan 27, 2017
34Jan 31, 1957 – Feb 17, 1958 Yin Fire 鷄 RoosterJan 28, 2017 – Feb 18, 2018
35Feb 18, 1958 – Feb  7, 1959 Yang Earth 狗 DogFeb 19, 2018 – Feb  4, 2019
36Feb  8, 1959 – Jan 27, 1960 Yin Earth 猪 PigFeb  5, 2019 – Jan 24, 2020
37Jan 28, 1960 – Feb 14, 1961 Yang Metal 鼠 RatJan 25, 2020 – Feb. 11, 2021
38Feb 15, 1961 – Feb  4, 1962 Yin Metal 牛 Ox Feb 12, 2021 – Jan 31, 2022
39Feb  5, 1962 – Jan 24, 1963 Yang Water 虎 Tiger Feb  1, 2022 – Jan 21, 2023
40Jan 25, 1963 – Feb 12, 1964 Yin Water 兔 Rabbit Jan 22, 2023 – Feb  9, 2024
41Feb 13, 1964 – Feb  1, 1965 Yang Wood 龍 Dragon Feb 10, 2024 – Jan 28, 2025
42Feb  2, 1965 – Jan 20 1966 Yin Wood 蛇 Snake Jan 29, 2025 – Feb 16, 2026
43Jan 21, 1966 – Feb  8, 1967 Yang Fire 馬 Horse Feb 17, 2026 – Feb  5, 2027
44Feb  9, 1967 – Jan 29, 1968 Yin Fire 羊 Goat Feb  6, 2027 – Jan 25, 2028
45Jan 30, 1968 – Feb 16, 1969 Yang Earth 猴 Monkey Jan 26, 2028 – Feb 12, 2029
46Feb 17, 1969 – Feb  5, 1970 Yin Earth 鷄 Rooster Feb 13, 2029 – Feb  2, 2030
47Feb  6, 1970 – Jan 26, 1971 Yang Metal 狗 Dog Feb  3, 2030 – Jan 22, 2031
48Jan 27, 1971 – Feb 14, 1972 Yin Metal 猪 Pig Jan 23, 2031 – Feb 10 2032
49Feb 15, 1972 – Feb  2, 1973 Yang Water 鼠 Rat Feb 11, 2032 – Jan 30 2033
50Feb  3, 1973 – Jan 22, 1974 Yin Water 牛 Ox Jan 31, 2033 – Feb 18, 2034
51Jan 23, 1974 – Feb 10 1975 Yang Wood 虎 Tiger Feb 19, 2034 – Feb  7, 2035
52Feb 11, 1975 – Jan 30 1976 Yin Wood 兔 Rabbit Feb  8, 2035 – Jan 27, 2036
53Jan 31, 1976 – Feb 17, 1977 Yang Fire 龍 Dragon Jan 28, 2036 – Feb 14, 2037
54Feb 18, 1977 – Feb  6, 1978 Yin Fire 蛇 Snake Feb 15, 2037 – Feb  3, 2038
55Feb  7, 1978 – Jan 27, 1979 Yang Earth 馬 Horse Feb  4, 2038 – Jan 23, 2039
56Jan 28, 1979 – Feb 15, 1980 Yin Earth 羊 Goat Jan 24, 2039 – Feb 11, 2040
57Feb 16, 1980 – Feb  4, 1981 Yang Metal 猴 Monkey Feb 12, 2040 – Jan 31, 2041
58Feb  5, 1981 – Jan 24, 1982 Yin Metal 鷄 Rooster Feb  1, 2041 – Jan 21, 2042
59Jan 25, 1982 – Feb 12, 1983 Yang Water 狗 Dog Jan 22, 2042 – Feb  9, 2043
60Feb 13, 1983 – Feb  1, 1984 Yin Water 猪 Pig Feb 10, 2043 – Jan 29, 2044

Months and solar terms

Solar term Within the Four Pillars, the month is the pillar representing information about the person's parents or childhood. Many Chinese astrologers consider the month pillar to be the most important one in determining the circumstances of one's adult life.

The 12 animals are also linked to traditional Chinese agricultural calendar, which runs alongside the better known lunar calendar. Instead of months, this calendar is divided into 24 two week segments known as Solar Terms. Each animal is linked to two of these solar terms for a period similar to the Western month. Unlike the 60 year lunar calendar, which can vary by as much as a month in relation to the Western calendar, the agricultural calendar varies by only one day, beginning on the Western February 3 or 4 every year. Again unlike the cycle of the lunar years, which begins with the Rat, the agricultural calendar begins with the Tiger as it is the first animal of spring.

As each sign is linked to a month of the solar year, it is thereby also linked to a season. Each of the elements is also linked to a season (see above), and the element that shares a season with a sign is known as that sign's fixed element. In other words, that element is believed to impart some of its characteristics to the sign concerned. The fixed element of each sign applies also to the year and hour signs, and not just the monthly sign. It is important to note that the fixed element is separate from the cycle of elements which interact with the signs in the 60 year cycle.

Season Lunar Month Fixed Element Solar Longitude Solar Term Western Date
Spring 1st – 寅(yin) Tiger Wood 314° 立春 lìchūn Feb 04 – Feb 18
329° 雨水 yǔshuǐ Feb 19 – Mar 05
2nd – 卯(mao) Rabbit Wood 344° 啓蟄 qǐzhé (驚蟄 jīngzhé) Mar 06 – Mar 20
春分 chūnfēn Mar 21 – Apr 04
3rd – 辰(chen) Dragon Earth 14° 清明 qīngmíng Apr 05 – Apr 19
29° 穀雨 gǔyǔ Apr 20 – May 4
Summer 4th – 巳(si) Snake Fire 44° 立夏 lìxià May 5 – May 20
59° 小滿 xiǎomǎn May 21 – June 5
5th – 午(wu) Horse Fire 74° 芒種 mángzhòng Jun 06 – Jun 20
89° 夏至 xiàzhì Jun 21 – Jul 06
6th – 未(wei) Goat Earth 104° 小暑 xiǎoshǔ Jul 07 – Jul 22
119° 大暑 dàshǔ Jul 23 – Aug 06
Autumn 7th – 申(shen) Monkey Metal 134° 立秋 lìqiū Aug 07 – Aug 22
149° 處暑 chùshǔ Aug 23 – Sep 07
8th–酉(you) Rooster Metal 164° 白露 báilù Sep 08 – Sep 22
181° 秋分 qiūfēn Sep 23 – Oct 07
9th–戌(xu) Dog Earth 194° 寒露 hánlù Oct 08 – Oct 22
211° 霜降 shuāngjiàng Oct 23 – Nov 06
Winter 10th – 亥(hai) Pig Water 224° 立冬 lìdōng Nov 07 – Nov 21
244° 小雪 xiǎoxuě Nov 22 – Dec 06
11th – 子(zi) Rat Water 251° 大雪 dàxuě Dec 07 – Dec 21
271° 冬至 dōngzhì Dec 22 – Jan 05
12th – 丑(chou) Ox Earth 284° 小寒 xiǎohán Jan 06 – Jan 19
301° 大寒 dàhán Jan 20 – Feb 3

Days

A different animal rules each day. Within the Four Pillars, the day is the pillar representing information about the person him/herself—his/her adult and married life.

Hours

The Chinese Zodiac is also used to label times of day, with each sign corresponding to a "large-hour" or shichen (時辰), which is a two-hour period (24 divided by 12 animals). It is therefore important to know the exact time of birth to determine it. The secret animal is thought to be a person's truest representation, since this animal is determined by the smallest denominator: a person's birth hour. As this sign is based on the position of the sun in the sky and not the time of your local clock, it is important to compensate for daylight saving time. However, some online systems already compensate for daylight saving time, and astrologers may compensate your time for you oblivious to the fact that you've compensated it yourself, leading to an inaccurate reading.

Within the Four Pillars, the hour is the pillar representing information about one's kids and contributions to the world or later life.

  • 23:00 – 01:00: 子 Rat
  • 01:00 – 03:00: 丑 Ox
  • 03:00 – 05:00: 寅 Tiger
  • 05:00 – 07:00: 卯 Rabbit
  • 07:00 – 09:00: 辰 Dragon
  • 09:00 – 11:00: 巳 Snake
  • 11:00 – 13:00: 午 Horse
  • 13:00 – 15:00: 未 Goat
  • 15:00 – 17:00: 申 Monkey
  • 17:00 – 19:00: 酉 Rooster
  • 19:00 – 21:00: 戌 Dog
  • 21:00 – 23:00: 亥 Pig

The times above are based on Beijing CST.

Compatibility

Chinese Zodiac is derived according to the ancient Five Elements Theory,Every Chinese Sign is composed by five elements, The relations between five elements are interpolation, interaction , over action and counter-action, which are believed to be the common law of the motions and changes of the creatures in the universe .Different people born under each animal sign have different personalities. It is possible to check details and compatibilities to gain guidance in life, for love or marriage,This Chinese Zodiac compatibility Grid is designed to help people find their Chinese Zodiac compatibilities.

Chinese Zodiac Compatibility Grid

Sign Best Match Match No Match
Rat Dragon,Monkey,Ox Rat,Tiger,Snake,Dog,Pig Goat,Horse,Rabbit,Rooster
Ox Rat,Snake,Rooster Ox,Tiger,Monkey,Pig Dragon,Horse,Goat,Dog,Rabbit
Tiger Horse,Dog Rat,Ox,Tiger,Rabbit,Dragon,Goat,Rooster,Pig Snake,Monkey
Rabbit Goat,Dog,Pig Tiger,Rabbit,Snake,Monkey Rat,Ox,Dragon,Rooster,Horse
Dragon Rat,Monkey,Rooster Tiger,Snake,Horse,Goat,Pig Dog,Ox,Dragon,Rabbit
Snake Ox,Rooster Rat,Rabbit,Dragon,Snake,Horse,Goat,Dog Tiger,Monkey,Pig
Horse Tiger,Goat,Dog Dragon,Snake,Monkey,Rooster,Pig Rat,Ox,Rabbit,Horse
Goat Rabbit,Horse,Pig Tiger,Dragon,Snake,Goat,Monkey,Rooster Rat,Ox,Dog
Monkey Rat,Dragon Ox,Rabbit,Horse,Goat,Monkey,Rooster,Dog, Tiger,Snake,Pig
Rooster Ox,Dragon,Snake Rat,Tiger,Horse,Goat,Monkey,Pig Rabbit,Rooster,Dog
Dog Tiger,Rabbit,Horse Rat,Snake,Monkey,Dog,Pig Ox,Dragon,Goat,Rooster
Pig Goat,Rabbit Rat,Ox,Tiger,Dragon,Horse,Rooster,Dog Snake,Pig,Monkey

Four Pillars

Template:Main The Four Pillars method can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (Template:Nobr AD 220), and is still much used in Feng Shui astrology and general analysis today. The Four Pillars or Columns chart is called such as the Chinese writing causes it to fall into columns. Each pillar or column contains a stem and a branch—and each column relates to the year, month, day and hour of birth. The first column refers to the year animal and element, the second to the month animal and element, the third to the day animal and element, and the last to the hour animal and element. Within the 'Four Pillars', the Year column is the information about your ancestor or early age. The Month column is the information about your parents or growing age. The Day column is the information about you (upper character) and your spouse (lower character) or adult age. The Hour column is the information about kids or late age.

Four Animal Trines

See: Astrological aspect#Trine

First Trine

The first trine consists of the Rat, Dragon, and Monkey. These three signs are intense and powerful individuals, capable of great good or great evil. They make great leaders, but the three may have different approaches. Frustrated when hampered, these signs are ruled by highly potent energy and unpredictability. At their worst, Rats are ruthlessly power-hungry, vindictive, and Machiavellian; Dragons are inflexible megalomaniacs and narcissists; and Monkeys are destructive manipulators and hedonists. They are intelligent, magnanimous, charismatic, charming, authoritative, confident, eloquent, and artistic. They can also be tyrannical, bombastic, prejudiced, deceitful, imperious, and ruthless.

Second Trine

The second trine consists of the Ox, Snake, and Rooster. These three souls conquer life through endurance, application, and slow accumulation of energy. Although each sign is fixed and rigid in opinions and views, they are geniuses in the art of meticulous planning. They are hardworking, discreet, modest, industrious, charitable, loyal, punctual, philosophical, patient, and good-hearted individuals with high moral standards. They can also be self-righteous, vain, critical, judgmental, myopic, narrow-minded, and petty. They are also natural leaders, but are better natured than the first trine.

Third Trine

The third trine consists of the Tiger, Horse, and Dog. These three signs seek a true lover, and are like-minded in their pursuit of humanitarian causes. Idealistic and impulsive, the Tiger, Horse and Dog follow the beat of their own drum. Defiant against injustice, these three signs wilt without large amounts of physical affection and loyal support for causes. They are productive, enthusiastic, independent, engaging, dynamic and honorable. They can also be rash, rebellious, quarrelsome, hot-headed, reckless, anxious, moody, disagreeable, and stubborn. Although these three signs are loyal, they can be very protective when lied to. The three signs do not enjoy being told what to do, but will listen when it is a person they love or trust whole-heartedly. These three animals can also be particular and will get aggressive when something true to them is broken.

Sources

  • Shelly H. Wu. (2005). Chinese Astrology. Publisher: The Career Press, Inc. ISBN 1-56414-796-7

Chinese Zodiac

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