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Based on your year of birth, find out which sign you belong to:

The Rat: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

The Ox: 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

The Tiger: 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998

The Rabbit: 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999

The Dragon: 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000

The Snake: 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001

The Horse: 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002

The Sheep: 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003

The Monkey: 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004

The Rooster: 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

The Dog: 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

The Pig: 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

 Text: Monisha Dudaney
 Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

 Also see: Astrology Special: Your horoscope for 2009

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The Chinese put a great store in astrology. It virtually rules their lives. They lean heavily on the address of celestial bodies while deciding a wedding, planning a trip or starting a new venture.

Actually their astrology is based on just one one celestial system -- the cycle of the moon. And not the cycle of the sun, planets or stars.

Chinese New Year -- in 2009 it falls on January 26 -- is on a different date each year because the lunar calendar does not have any connection with the solar calendar. Gung hay fat choy is the traditional Chinese greeting for new year. It means: Best wishes and congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year.

The Chinese have identified 12 animals to express zodiacal time. The choice of these animals is based on a tale from Chinese mythology that has been given several interpretations.

One version is: The rat was assigned the job of inviting a variety of animals to a banquet to meet the Jade Emperor, who rules the heaven and the earth. At this special meal the animals would have a chance to be selected for the zodiac signs. The animals who showed up found a place in calendar. The cat apparently never found a spot because the rat fooled him into believing that the banquet was one day later; hence since that day the rat and the cat have been enemies for eternity.

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