The Japanese zodiac calendar, introduced from China in ancient times, is represented by 12 symbolic animals with a cycle of 12 years. They are evolved in the order of the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, cock, dog and the boar.

These zodiac signs were also used in people's daily life as denotation of directions (bearings), hours, and years.

The Buddhistic belief in Japan is that the original zodiac calendar system was created by Buddha who himself selected 12 animals due to their sincere homage to him.

Anyhow, today in Japan, both the Christian Era and Japanese Era systems are in  concurrent use. For example, AD 2001 is the 13th Year of Heisei, and in the zodiac calendar, it falls on the Year of the Snake.

Japanese people celebrate the beginning of the year by drawing often on New Year's greeting cards the appropriate animal of the year.

Each year of the cycle has its own particular animal symbol and character. So, people born in one of the cycle's year are said to have those characteristic traits peculiar to the year's animal. Those born in the year of the snake (born in---1941,1953,1965,1977,1989) speak very little and possess tremendous wisdom. Fortunate in money matters. Quite vain and foppish. They habitually overdo anything they do. They have extreme sympathy for others and will try to help them. They have doubts about other people's judgment and prefer to rely rather on their own accumulated wisdom. They are very determined in what they do. People born in the snake year are passionate and handsome if they are men and beauties if they are women.

Can you tell what year you were born in ?

May your coming fresh year days be happyc