The Chinese zodiac is a twelve-year cycle and is based on twelve animals, called shén èr shēng xiào 十二生肖。
It is based on the lunar calendar so the first day of the Chinese new year is not the first day of January as the calendar that we use today.
The zodiac is considered to affect the fate of who are born of that year and most Chinese will take advice from the fortune-tellers to help them avoid the bad lucks of the year. Many people still consult the fortune-tellers to see if their future husband's zodiac or future wife's zodiac match with their or not.
Each animal represents one year and symbolizes some characteristics for the people who are born in that year.
Ox : methodical+ conscientious
Tiger: courageous + charming
Sheep: creative+ easygoing
Monkey: imaginative +curious