The word “zodiac” comes from the Latin word zōdiacus, which originates from the Greek word ζoδιακός, or zōdiakos, meaning “circle of animals.” It refers to the circle of twelve 30-degree divisions of the sky measured along an imaginary line on the sky: the apparent path of the Sun over the course of the year. Called the ecliptic, this path is the projection of Earth’s orbit onto the celestial sphere. Along this line, eclipses occur, the moon and planets wander, and the western zodiac constellations lie. Although there are actually 13 constellations that lie in the Earth’s orbital plane, the western zodiac only has 12. Because the divisions are regular, they do not correspond exactly to the boundaries of the twelve constellations after which they are named.
Both the Chinese and western zodiacs have 12 signs, each of which is associated with attributes, personality traits, and predicting events. The similarities stop there, however. The western zodiac takes place over 12 months, while the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac occur over a period of 12 years. Although the western zodiac has non-animal signs, all Chinese zodiac signs designate animals.
Because it takes Jupiter 12 years to complete one orbit around the sun, it is thought that the Chinese zodiac takes after a “Jupiter Year.” Legend has it that Buddha, or in some versions the Jade Emperor of Heaven, once invited all the animals to a race, and the first twelve animals would be included in the Zodiac calendar. The Chinese zodiac remains popular in many East Asian countries including China, Vietnam, Burma, Korea, Japan and Thailand.
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. Which Chinese zodiac sign are you? Look for your birthdate on the zodiac wheel and find out!
VOVF USA wishes you a happy, healthy and successful Year of the Rooster!