The Chinese New Year is a festival to honor deities and ancestors and is typically celebrated in January or February (depending on the year).
The Chinese calendar is also associated with a 12 year cycle of the animal zodiac, with each year represented by one animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Chinese think that our animal zodiac plays a very important role in one’s destiny and personality. It is very common to see that for certain years (e.g. Dragon, Tiger, Sheep), the number of newborns are actually higher than in other years (e.g. Snake, Pig). This is simply because parents hope that their kids are as strong as tigers but less cunning than a snake.
This impact for international schools might not be as apparent with a wide variety of nationalities, than it would be with a local school, however there is a recent trend of more local Chinese parents putting their children in international schools especially in Hong Kong and China.
Considering the impact of the Chinese zodiac gives assignees coming into the region a better understanding as to why there might be longer waiting lists for certain school years.