The lunar new year is celebrated in many Asian countries, and there are many shared traditions as well as ones unique to each country. The calendar is based on the Lunar (or Chinese) Zodiac. Similar to the Western zodiac, the Chinese zodiac has 12 different attributes, but each sign is given to a year, a month and an hour of the day, thereby creating the possibility of three different signs that lend attributes to a person's persona, based on when they were born. For instance, if you were born yesterday, February 15th, 2010, at 5 in the morning, you were born in the year of the Tiger, the month of the Tiger (your inner animal), and the hour of the Tiger (your secret animal). However, if you were born on, say, July 11, 1967, at 5:53 pm EDT (to use a completely arbitrary example, having nothing whatever to do with the day I was born...) you were born in the year of the Goat, in the month of the Goat (inner animal) and the hour of the Monkey (secret animal). The animal representing the year of your birth is the persona you portray to others, your external appearance. I'm not sure if I understand the meanings of the inner vs. the secret animal, except that the secret animal is the most personal, since it represents the relationship of the sun to you at the hour of your birth. Each of the animals also has an attribute of one of the five elements: Wood, Earth, Water, Metal, and Fire. These elements each contribute to the personality of the animal in some way.
The Year of the Tiger drawing measures about 8" square, and is available for sale in my Etsy Shop for a rather economical price.
Happy New Year all! Welcome to the Year of the Tiger!