The western countries and the media are getting confused with the zodiac animal sign of upcoming Chinese Lunar Year: goat or sheep ?
中国农历以十二年为周期，每年以一种动物作为象征。十二生肖中的第八个生肖是“羊”，而这个字在没有修饰限定语的情况下可指山羊或者绵羊。The Chinese lunar calendar assigns an animal symbol to each year in every 12-year cycle. Yet the Chinese character for the eighth zodiac animal is “Y á ng羊”, which can refer to either of the two animals.
The oldest book which describes the 12 zodiac signs has been written by Wang Chong from the Eastern Han Dynasty. Neither Goat or Sheep but “Y á ng羊” is mentioned.
In Song Dynasty, Zhuxi mentioned Yang in one of his poems, which refers obviously to the delicious Sheep.
Images on China’s zodiac stamps and paper cuttings are often bearded goats. The replica of the Yang bronze statue that once formed part of a zodiac fountain in the looted Old Summer Palace also has a goat head.
中国民俗学家表示，羊年生肖的象征物既可能是绵羊，也可能是山羊，但山羊的可能性更大，因为在汉族地区山羊作为家畜更为常见。Chinese folklorists say the animal symbol can be either a sheep or a goat but more likely goat, given the latter’s popularity as a farm animal among Han Chinese.
What should we say? — The year of the“Y á ng”.