Chinese New Year and the 12 Zodiac Animals
On January 28th with the passing of the New Moon, the year 4715 will begin according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. This marks the end of the year of the Fire Monkey and ushers in the year of the Fire Rooster. The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve signs and is determined by the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is based on the cycles of the moon, unlike our western or Gregorian calendar which is based on the solar cycle.
In Chinese astrology, there are 12 Chinese Zodiac signs. Because the moon's cycle repeats itself every 12 years, there are 12 animals in the Chinese Horoscope - one for each year of the lunar cycle. The 12 signs in the Western Zodiac in contrast, are assigned to each solar month.
The origins of the Chinese Zodiac go back thousands of years. According to the myths long ago, the Buddha called out to all the animals on earth but only twelve came: the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Goat or Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Pig.
To honor those who answered his call, the Buddha assigned each animal its own year in the cycle of time, causing all children born in that year to acquire traits of their assigned animal. To determine the order of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, the Buddha held a race. The first one to cross the river would be granted the first year, the second to come would be the second animal in the cycle, and so on.
The strong, hardworking Ox was in the lead but suddenly, the clever Rat, jumped on the Ox's back, who did not even feel the little thing getting a free ride. At the last second before reaching shore, the Rat jumped onto land, winning the race! The Ox came in second, the Tiger third, and so it went... the happy-go-lucky Pig took his time and came in last... and the Chinese Zodiac and its twelve signs were born.
To learn what animal you were born under, use the Zodiac calculators below. Then click on the animal under whose year you were born for more information about what this coming year holds for you!
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