What does the Wikipedia say about “Chinese Zodiac”?


The Shēngxiào (Chinese: 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 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.

生肖,或属相,是中國及东亚地区的一些民族用来代表年份的十二种动物,統稱為十二生肖,即鼠、牛、虎、兔、龍、蛇、馬、羊、猴、雞、狗、豬,它們依次與十二地支(子、丑、寅、卯、辰、巳、午、未、申、酉、戌、亥)相配,形成子鼠、丑牛、寅虎、卯兔、辰龙、巳蛇、午马、未羊、申猴、酉鸡、戌狗、亥猪。每個人都以其出生年的象徵動物作為生肖,所以中國民間常以生肖計算年齡。循環一次為一輪。
中國除了用生肖紀年外,還用與之相應的十二支紀月、紀日、紀時(時辰)。十二生肖(獸曆)也廣泛流行於亞洲諸民族及東歐和北非的某些國家之中。
生肖年的划分存在很大争议。一说以立春即二十四节气为准,一说以正月初一即农历年为准。

Read more about Zodiac Sign

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