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Chinese Astrology and ZodiacChinese Astrology and Zodiac

What is Chinese Astrology?
Like our own western Astrology, Chinese astrology uses twelve different signs or symbols to define twelve basic categories of a human being. Similarly to Western Astrology, the Chinese system uses a person's birth date as the basis of his sign so in some ways the two systems are alike. Chinese Astrology looks to philosophy, the calendar, the cosmos and the rhythms of nature for it's ideas and predictions about events and character. Chinese zodiacal signs are yearly, each Chinese sign has a different animal name and corresponds to a period equivalent to an entire Chinese Calendar year. In Chinese Astrology there are no intricate charts to draw up or elusive rising signs to calculate, but there is one tricky aspect to consider. The Chinese New Year falls on a different date every year. This holiday can occur as early as mid-January or not until late February.

The origins of the 12 animals of Chinese astrology are unclear. One legend holds that Buddha invited all the earth's animals to a gathering before his final departure, and these 12 were the only animals that showed up. As a token of his appreciation, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order in which they arrived. Another legend says the Jade Emperor held a race to determine the fastest animals. The Emperor had decided the first 12 animals to cross the chosen river would represent the 12 earthly branches that make up the cyclical order of years on the lunar calendar. The ox agreed to let a cat and a rat -- both poor swimmers -- ride on its back during the race across the river. The rat pushed the cat into the water and sat next to the ox's ear throughout the course of the race. Right before the ox was about to make it to land, the rat jumped ashore and won the race, leaving his carrier, the ox, to place second. The cat did not place in the first 12, and it is unclear what became of it.

The Chinese Calendar
The Chinese calendar year either contains twelve or thirteen moons unlike our Gregorian calendar year which always ends on 31st December and begins at midnight 1st January. The Chinese Calendar is a flexible entity, which never begins or ends on the same date twice in a row. The Chinese divide up time differently too. Our Gregorian Calendar is made up of centuries that cover one hundred years subdivided by ten into ten-year periods called decades. The Chinese have 'centuries' too, but they are only sixty Chinese years long. The sixty-year Chinese 'centuries' are sub-divided into five twelve-year periods. The Chinese are not in the twentieth century of their calendars, they are way ahead of us, not only because they started earlier and didn't base everything in their calendar on the Birth of Christ, but also because they have shorter, sixty year centuries. The Chinese entered their seventy-eighth century on February 2nd 1984. The next Chinese century will start in 2044.

Be sure to check out our Chinese Zodiac Birth Animal page to see which Chinese zodiac animal you are.

Be sure to check out KKDiscount.com's Chinese Zodiac Products. Talk about Chinese Zodiac in our friendly discussion forum!

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