The Lunar Calendar

The Chinese Calendar is based on the phases of the moon.  The lunar year is divided into 12 months which follow the new and full moons.  Years run in cycles of 60, there being 12 animal sign years and 5 elements (the elements are sometimes also divided into yin and yang , but this does not directly affect the cycle.)  The five elements are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth.  The following chart gives the animals in their traditional order:

Animal Sign Years
Rat 1996 1984 1972
Ox 1997 1985 1973
Tiger 1998 1986 1974
Rabbit 1999 1987 1975
Dragon 2000 1988 1976
Snake 2001 1989 1977
Horse 2002 1990 1978
Sheep 2003 1991 1979
Monkey 2004 1992 1980
Chicken 2005 1993 1981
Dog 2006 1994 1982
Pig 2007 1995 1983

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