Since Chinese New Year celebrations kicked off today
, people around the world are checking their Chinese Zodiac Sign. Different to those in Western astrology, Chinese Zodiac signs are tied to birth years and not months. However, anyone trying to determine their Chinese sign should be aware that people born in January or February might need to refer to the previous year of the Gregorian calendar, because the Chinese year begins and ends with the new year celebration that is held in late January or early February.
The twelve different animal signs that return every twelve years originate from a Chinese folk tale, according to ChineseNewYear.Net.
In it, the Jade Emperor was charged with picking twelve animals as palace guards. The rat was first in line getting to the palace, followed by the ox, and so on. Each of the signs represents a different character, like in Western astrology. The practice is around 3,000 years old, and therefore older than its Western counterpart, which clocks in at around 2,000 years old.