Only twelve species came at his invitation and to reward them, the divine wise man offered to
name a year after each animal. From then on any person born in a year associated with that animal
would share that animal's qualities. Those Animals were:
the DOG and
This was symboloised by the ordering in which they came, the Rat was first, followed by the Ox, and so on.
Other traditions replace the Ox with the Buffalo, the Rabbit with the Cat or the Hare, the Goat with the Sheep or the Ram and
the Pig with the Boar.
Any Chinese year invariably begins with the second new-moon day after the winter solstice (or looking at it the other way, the Chinese year ends on the first new moon of the following year!).
The Chinese New Year's day, therefore, is movable — just as Easter Day, which is also tributary
of the moon — and takes place somewhere between 21 January and 20 February according to astronomic
Chinese years also evolve in cycles of ten years each. Every set of two consecutive years is governed
by a Chinese cosmic element. There are five elements in all:
It's your Chinese year of birth that determines your Chinese animal sign as well as your Chinese cosmic
element. If you were born between 30th January, 1968 and 16th February, 1969 — that is, in the course of a Monkey year,
which was at the same time a Earth year — your Chinese animal sign is Monkey, and your Chinese cosmic element is Earth.
In other words, you are known as a Earth Monkey. Likewise, anyone born in an Fire Snake year is known as an Fire Snake
or anyone born in a Water Dog year is known as a Water Dog and so on.
For more information about the history of Chinese New Year, the Signs and the Elements, please see the