The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest
chronological record in history, dating from 2600BC,
when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle
of the zodiac. Like the Western calendar, The
Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, with the
start of the lunar year being based on the cycles of
the moon. Therefore, because of this cyclical
dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere
between late January and the middle of February.
This year it falls on February 12th. A complete
cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles
of 12 years each.
The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve
years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord
Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him
before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to
bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year
after each one in the order they arrived. The
Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which
a person is born has a profound influence on
personality, saying: "This is the animal that hides
in your heart."