Unlike western horoscope, the Chinese horoscope is based on lunar cycles and the Western Zodiac is divided into twelve signs takes twelve months to complete, the Chinese Zodiac is based on twelve animals of Chinese and takes twelve years to complete.
The twelve signs of Chinese astrology are based on a structure different from the Western Zodiac. Most people tend to stereotype Chinese astrology as a highly simplified system of a personality type that applies to everyone in a given year. However this astrology has a set of rules of interpretation and equally complex structure as the Western or Indian astrology.
To name the years of the Chinese horoscope, legend has it that: Buddha before leaving for the nirvana called all the animals on a date to take leave of them. He cites that only 12 animals arrived. As Buddha thanking his presence, allowed each of them, rule by turns one year. That is why the Chinese horoscope is made up of 12 years, each year is assigned an animal and as the animal that governs our birth year can get a powerful insight into our personality, our talents and abilities, our tastes and dislikes, our relationships and lifestyle.
The rotation cycle of the twelve animals was a popular method of naming the years in traditional China. The animals are rotated one by one in the established order and are repeated every twelve years.
In ancient China gave valuable to astrology, therefore, that an emperor passed a law banning the practice to the ordinary people. Only he could consult an astrologer who was surprised and practicing astrology is condemned to death. For the emperors astrology was so exact that whoever used it would be in a position to conspire against him.
In the past and even today, astrology has been used to predict the situation of countries, the result of wars, economic trends, among other things. But not only has been used to predict the situations of countries, but also very useful to learn more about the personality of the people as mentioned above.
There are websites like muytarot.com offering for free a detailed description of each of the signs or animals of the Chinese horoscope.