2012 is the year of the dragon in the Chinese lunar calendar. The Chinese Zodiac consists of a 12 year cycle, each year of which is named after a different animal which imparts distinct characteristics to its year.
The dragon is the only mythological animal amongst them. Why?
While, in the West, the dragon is not a good creature, the Chinese people pay a very special homage to the dragon which is regarded as a symbol of power and strength. In ancient China the emperor was hailed as a dragon, and many commonly-used Chinese idioms reflect dragon’s important and beloved role in Chinese people’s minds: “Wang zi cheng long. Long refers to dragon and the idiom means “hoping the child becomes a dragon.”
Out of this special fondness for dragons, Chinese incorporated it into the Chinese Zodiac.