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The Chinese Zodiac—Chinese Animal Signs

Saturday, January 28, 2017 is Chinese New Year and the start of the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac.

Rooster made of red and yellow flowers in the Flower City Square in Zhujiang New Town in Guangzhou, South East China.

Year of the Rooster starts in January 2017.

The year of the Rooster starts Saturday, January 28, 2017. This rooster in Zhujiang New Town in Guangzhou, South East China, was made from red and yellow flowers.


2017 in the Chinese Zodiac

The rooster is 1 of 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac (Shēngxiào, or 生肖), which is based on a 12-year cycle.

The Year of the Rooster begins on Chinese New Year, on January 28, 2017, when the Year of the Monkey ends.

People born in the Year of the Rooster are traditionally considered to be shrewd, honest, communicative, motivated, and punctual.

What Year Is What Animal?

The Zodiac starts with the Year of the Rat and cycles continuously through the 12 signs.

illustration of a smiling monkeyillustration of an oxillustration of a rabbitillustration of a tigerillustration of a ratillustration of a dragon

12 Animals and 5 Elements

Each of the 12 years in the Chinese Zodiac cycle is represented by an animal and is associated with 1 of 5 elemental signs: wood, earth, fire, water, and metal.

Zodiac and Human Connections

According to the Chinese Zodiac, your birth year tells you more than just your age. Not only is one's personality affected by the animal associated with their birth year, but the compatibility of their relationships also depends on their Zodiac.

Starts with Spring Festival

In China, the start of a new year is celebrated with a Spring Festival, the biggest holiday of the year. Traditionally, people give their house a big spring clean and hang couplets on their doors. Couplets are poetic lines about spring and prosperity written in gold or black on red paper.

Setting off firecrackers is hugely popular, and children get hongbao, little red gifts with money inside, from older family members.

The Chinese Calendar

The animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac are calculated in accordance with the Chinese calendar, which is lunisolar and is based on astronomical observances of the Sun's longitude and the Moon's phases.

This calendar is older than the Gregorian calendar, which is used by most countries today. In fact, the Chinese calendar's origins can be traced as far back as the 14th century BCE.

Leap years in the Chinese calendar happen approximately every 3 years when they add a leap month.

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