According to Chinese legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who should lead the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest: whoever was to reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the remaining animals would receive their years according to their arrival.
All the twelve animals gathered at the river and jumped without the knowledge of an ox, the rat jumped on his back. Since the meat is about to jump ashore, the rat jumped back beef, and won the race. The pig, which was very loose, finished last. That is why the rat is the first year cycle of animals, the ox second, and the last pig.
The Chinese animal signs a 12-year cycle used for dating the years. They represent a cyclical concept of time, rather than the Western linear concept of time. In the Chinese calendar falls is somewhere between late January and early February. The Chinese have adopted the Western calendar since 1911, but the lunar calendar is still used for festive occasions like Chinese New Year. Many Chinese calendar to print both the solar dates and the Chinese lunar dates.
Porthole cultural signs of the animals in Chinese folklore is that horoscopes are developed around the animal signs, like monthly horoscopes in the West have been developed for the different moon signs, Pisces, Aries , etc. For example, a Chinese horoscope may predict that a person born in the Year of the Horse are cheerful, popular, and loves to compliment others. These horoscopes are amusing, but not taken seriously by the Chinese people.