The Chinese calendar -which existed there already since around 2000 BC- was adopted by Japan from around the 6th century AD, together with Buddhism. The Zodiac has an influence on the character of mankind. Each of the 12 ‘animals’ has specific characteristics. Persons born during the Year of the Snake are said to be endowed with wisdom and with deep philosophical understanding. They are born thinkers who excel in finding solutions to complex problems. In matters of business they can be shrewd, biding their time in making a deal only to strike like lightning and make a killing when they judge the moment is right. Thus in life, the majority of Snakes are financially successful and generally lucky with money; their fortunes very much depend on their careful and considered judgment in financial affairs and on their intuitive feelings in business negotiations. These are clever, intelligent people who take time to formulate their ideas and opinions. Even when they are at their laziest, their minds are working overtime, laying their schemes and hatching their plots for the future.
During the last centurytill now, years of the Snake were in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989 and 2001. In 60 year cycles, the 12 zodiac animals are repeated 5 times, representing the 5 elements Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
Of course it is not that simple; 60 is merely the most common denominator of 10 x 12, the ten representing the 5 elements but in order to make it ten, the Japanese have adopted a big (elder) brother and small (younger) brother of each of the five stated elements. In all eastern languages, big brother and younger brother is one noun each, and not formed by a noun (brother) plus an adjective (younger or bigger [elder]) like in western languages. Actually, the year of the Snake starts, on February 10, 2013 and lasts till January 30, 2014.
As the 5th animal in the Eastern zodiac, the Snake indicates the hours between 9 am and 11 am. In our Horoscope, the Snake corresponds to the Taurus.
Best wishes to all for a splendid Year of the Snake, 2013!