When we say that the year is 1985, we mean that the year is the 1,985th since the supposed date of Christ’s birth.
But the Chinese date their calendar from legendary events in the twenty-seventh century B.C. To the Chinese, our year 1981 was the year 4679!
The Chinese have not only numbers for their years, but names, too. Each year in a 12-year cycle is named after a different animal: the rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
The year 1981, for instance, was the year of the rooster. If you were born in 1970, you were born in the year of the dog; in 1968, the ‘ear of the monkey.
The Chinese New Year doesn’t fall on the same date as our New Year. The Chinese calendar is based on the movements of the moon instead of the sun.
Each year, the Chinese New Year falls on a different day from the year before. It falls sometime between January 21 and February 19.