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Chinese calendar

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 11 months ago

Chinese calendar


by Katlin Luu









The Chinese calendar has been used by over billions of people for many generations in not just China, but also in Japan, Vietnam, and Korea. Although today the Chinese people are using the Gregorian calendar for daily life activities, they still follow the dates of the Chinese calendar for special holidays, festivals, and other cultural purposes. It is a calendar that contains many histories and knowledge. It can be dated back for centuries. No one is really certain when the Chinese calendar was first placed into action, but rumors have it that Emperor Huangdi created it in 2637 B.C.E. That was a long long long time ago. The first evidences of the calendar was discovered inscribed upon bones and turtle shells during the Shang Dynasty. Over the years. the Chinese calendar was changed constantly for perfection and improvement, so these evidences were truly amazing to the Chinese. There were the Taichu calendar, a calendar using the Sexagenary cycles, and Shíxiàn calendar.


The Chinese Calendar's Contents and Astronomy Behind It



The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, which means it takes into account both the movements of the moon and the sun. Ancient Chinese astronomers observed the longitudes of the sun and the moon's phases wheen considering the creation of an efficient and organized calendar. In the end, they made a calendar that consisted of years that are similar with the tropical year and months that match up to the synodic months.


  • Day


The day which the Chinese called "Sun" was based upon the Sun's movements. Astronomers did not figure out yet that the Earth was rotating in one cycle around its axis to create the days. However, they did see that Sun moved across the sky from east to west. Therefore, they used this observation to create the "Sun".


Each day was split up into 12 invervals, each of them were two hours long, called double hours. The first interval started at 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the second interval would followed this pattern of two hours. Each double hour was named according to the earthly branches, which were the 12 animals of the zodiac.



  • Week


Three 10-day weeks divided into 6 periods of 5 days each.


  • Month


It is called "Moon" because it follows the phases of the moon. A whole month was from the new moon to the full moon. The beginning of the new moon after the winter solstice is the first day of the year. A month was about 29.5 days.



  • Year


It is called "Nian". There are 12 months in a year and they followed the sun's longitude. For each month, the sun's longitude was a multiple of 30 degrees. The equinoxes and solstices always occurred at a certain degree. For example, the vernal equinox is at 0 degrees.


The normal year in the Chinese calendar was about 355 days. Therefore when leap year came around, another month is added to make up for the 365 days that a year is suppose to have.



  • A Great year consisted of 12 yrs. (The years are named also named according to the zodiac animals.)
  • A Cycle was made up of 60 Great years.
  • An Epoch was equaled to 60 Cycles.




  • Solar term


These were markings made in the calendar throughout the year to tell the people which season was going to occur. There are 24 solar terms that are located 15 degrees apart from each other on the ecliptic. Because the calendar was based on these ecliptic longitudes, the farmers's burdens mitigated, they did not have to worry about their plants dying.





Works Cited


"Chinese Calendar." __Wikipedia__. 1 Oct 2008. Wikimedia Foundation. 5 Oct 2008. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_calendar#Solar_term>.



"Introduction to the Chinese Calendar." __China the Beautiful__. 1 Oct 2008. 5 Oct 2008. <http://www.chinapage.com/astronomy/calendar/calendar.html>.


"The Chinese Calendar."__ Calendars Through the Ages__. WebExhibits. 5 Oct 2008. <http://www.webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-chinese.html>.





"Chinese Sundials from Adler Planetarium." __The Mathematics of the Chinese Calendar__. 5 Oct 2008. <http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/calendar/chinese.html>.


__Wikipedia__. 15 March 2008. Wikimedia Foundation. 5 Oct 2008.




Astro.com.sg. 2006. Astro Scientific Centre

Pte Ltd. 5 Oct 2008. <http://www.astro.com.sg/articles/History_of_Early_Chinese_Astronomy_files/Hist-



"Phases of the Moon." __Curriki__. 5 Oct 2008.



Comments (3)

Anonymous said

at 12:50 pm on Oct 14, 2008

It was great that images were used to visualize the instruments. One of your images were very blurry and hard to see.

Anonymous said

at 12:45 pm on Oct 14, 2008

The information on this page is very detailed and very well organized. I think she covered all the necessary aspects of the assignment, and did it in a visually appealing way, with her professional looking layout, and excellent visual aids.

Anonymous said

at 12:30 pm on Oct 14, 2008

Katlin's webpage is very detailed. She has information that both covers her topic and explains the pictures on her page.

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