What are the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac, Shēngxiào (Mandarin)
The Chinese New year follows the 12 cycles of the Chinese Zodiac, starting with the Rat and ends 12 years later with the year of the pig. The whole cycle repeats itself for the next 12-year zodiac cycle. They associate each animal against one of 5 earth natural elements; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
According to Chinese astrology, the animal of the year you are born in describes you as a person and also describes how others perceive you as a person. To make things more interesting though, there are also a different set of animals assigned for each month of the year, known as inner animals. There is a saying, Kaisui or Tai Sui where a conflict exists between your Zodiac year animal and your inner month animal.