Friday 31st January 2014 sees the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse.
The Chinese Zodiac, known as Shēngxiào, is based on a 12-year cycle and each year in that cycle is related to an animal sign. These animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal is associated with an “earthly branch” such as fire, water, metal or wood.
It’s believed that the animals in the Chinese zodiac calendar originated from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), during which they were used to count years in the same way as the modern Christian calendar.
Are you a horse?
Horses symbolize graciousness, dignity, momentum and firmness. In Chinese culture, people born in the Year of the Horse are regarded as intelligent, witty, elegant, eloquent speakers and charming. Their excellent communicaton skills and intolerance of failure usually sees them succeed in life.