There is some speculation that the animal that’s celebrating its year this year is a sheep. Yang the Chinese word describing this year can be translated in Ram, Sheep or Goat. However, most experts on folklore believe that the animal is a Goat, not a Sheep, for the following reasons.

1. The Chinese animal calendar was invented by the Han Chinese, the largest ethnic grouping of Chinese people. Sheep were almost unheard of during the Han Dynasty but goats were tended by  the Han, so this year’s animal is more likely to be a goat.

2. There are 12 statues of the Chinese calendar at the Old Summer Palace. Each was made of bronze. The goat statue was decapitated somehow and its current representation, according to historical records, is the image of a goat.

The Goat is 8th in the Chinese zodiac. There are twelve animals in the zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.  There is therefore a twelve year cycle for an animal year to repeat.

Also, in the Chinese theory of the five elements, each zodiac sign is associated with one of these. They are metal, wood, water, fire and earth. This year’s element is wood so 2015 is the year of the Wood Goat. Because of the 5 elements and the 12 year zodiac sign your exact birth year happens when you are 60 years old and is deemed an auspicious occasion.