(27 January 2017) According to the Chinese lunisolar calendar, the Year of the Rooster (or chicken) begins on the 28th January 2017. It falls on the day of the new moon halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. A variety of calendrical systems has traditionally been used in Thailand, one of them being the Chinese calendar, together with the Chinese zodiac system. The Thai people have adapted the Chinese zodiac symbols in accordance with their own purposes and ideas, still following the principle of the twelve-year lunar cycle with each year represented by an animal, except with the Chinese dragon replaced by a Buddhist nāga (serpent).
The completion of a twelve-year cycle was and is important for Thais as a reminder of their birth year and as a means to calculate their age. The zodiac is also often used for forecasting horoscopes, match making and fortune telling.
The BL’s Asian and African Studies blog tells the story accompanied by 19th century illustrations.