The snake is one of twelve animals associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. According to an old legend, the animals raced across a river to determine their order in the cycle. The rat crossed by riding on the back of the ox, jumping ahead at the last minute to win the race. The tiger, rabbit, and dragon came in after the ox, followed by the snake in sixth place.
People born in the year of a particular animal are said to share characteristics with that animal. Individuals born during the Year of the Snake are said to be deeply philosophical, mysterious, and comfortable being alone.