There are three ways to name a Chinese year:
- By an animal (like a mscot). 2008 is known as the Year of the Rat. 2009 is the Year of the Ox. There are 12 animal names; so by this system, year names are repeated every 12 years.
- By its Formal Name (Stem-Branch). 2008 is the year of Wu Zi. 2009 is the Year of Ji Chou. In the 'Stem-Branch' system, the years are counted in 60-year Cycles, so that the Name of the Year is repeated every 60 years. 2008 is the 9-th year in the current 60-year Cycle. 2009 is the 10-th year in the current 60-year Cycle. A "Cycle" is analogous to a "century" in the International Calendar system which is 100 years long. 2008 year is Year 4705 in the Chinese Calendar. [A few Chinese astrological/zodiac websites believe this year should be considered as Year 4706 for zodiac calculations.] 2009 is Year 4706 in the Chinese Calendar.
- The Chinese calls the New Year's Celebration the "Spring Festival."
- Each new year, people will decorate their homes with many New Year Graphics; the best of which are from the small town called Yangliuqing. Yanliuqing paintings were first produced between 1573 and 1620.