To learn what Chinese year it is, find an online calculator for the Chinese zodiac, such as the one on TravelChinaGuide.com. Enter your birthday to find out what animal is your sign, and enter the present date to find out which year it is on the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese calendar follows a lunar schedule rather than the solar calendar followed by the majority of the world. This means that the precise date for the new year varies from one year to the next. Each year is dedicated to one animal on the Chinese zodiac.
The Chinese term for the zodiac is the Sheng Xiao. It cycles through every 12 years with the signs of the rat, tiger, ox, rabbit, snake and dragon. Other signs include the horse, sheep, rooster, monkey, pig and dog. Some believe that there is a link between the animals and the humans born under their sign. Specifically, the belief suggests that the effect is similar to astrology signs in the West. Astrologists post weaknesses, strengths, ideal matches and a fortune for the year for each of the 12 signs. Compatibility with others from different signs is also a major emphasis of this belief system. For example, those who fall under the rat sign are most compatible with the ox, rabbit and dragon signs.