Chinese New Year: Is it the Year of the Ram/Sheep or Goat?

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The Chinese Lunar New Year 4713 Began on Thursday, February 19th, 2015. The question still remains, is it the year of the sheep, the goat or the ram.

Being an Australian and part of a multicultural country are you aware of the Chinese Zodiac?
Similar to the 12 month calendar year that Australia is custom to a Chinese year is based on a rotating 12 year cycle, with each year being represented by one of the 12 animals within the Zodiac.

Based on google searches for “Chinese New Year” in Australia it is a close call between this year being considered the year of the of the sheep or the year of the goat.

Google Asia Pacific communications senior associate Joyce Hau said “What is it about sheep and goats that Australians love so much”. She stated that Australia had one of the highest search levels for “the year of the sheep”, which was followed by Canada, United States and United Kingdom. Meanwhile Australia topped the search levels for “the year of the goat” followed by United States and United Kingdom. The phrase “year of the ram” was most commonly used in India, Canada and the United States.

Hau stated that the confusion is understandable since the related Chinese character can be specified as either a “goat” or a “sheep”. Although in English the two words are quite distinct from each other and are rarely confused, the Chinese zodiac “sheep” is considered to be combined of all these animals with the preferred term by the Chinese being “goat”, this is because the Chinese symbol is more similar to a goat rather than a sheep.

The English word sheep better fits the Yang image in traditional Chinese culture, which is meek and even a bit weak. It’s believed that cultural differences should be taken into consideration in translation.