Excerpts for Year of the Dragon : Tales from the Chinese Zodiac

For nearly 5,000 years, the Chinese culture has organized time in cycles of twelve years. This Eastern calendar is based upon the movement of the moon (as compared to the Western calendar which follows the sun's path). The zodiac circle symbolizes how animals, which have unique qualities, represent each year. Therefore, if you are born in a particular year, then you share the personality of that animal. Now people worldwide celebrate this fifteen-day festival in the early spring and enjoy the start of another Chinese New Year.