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Chinese lunar calendar

Page history last edited by Boris Ovetsky 13 years, 2 months ago

                                            Chinese Calendar 

                                               By: Wenbin Zhao





   Chinese calendar, one of the longest surviving calendar in the world, is still widely used by the public today. Not only is the calendar used in China like the name suggests, but it is also widely apply by other various Asian cultures. The calendar itself is based on exact astronomical observations of position of the sun and moon, so in reality it is a combine result of both solar and lunar calendar.

    Though, today most countries adapt Gregorian calendar, the importance and reliability of Chinese calendar is nonetheless the same. People of Asian culture uses the calendar for marking traditional East Asian holidays such as spring festival; for choosing the most auspicious wedding date for their offspring; it could also be used for determining the phases of the moon.

Structure of Chinese calendar:

1 year- 12 months, each month has either 29 or 30 days.

First day of each month beginning at midnight is the day of astronomical new moon.

To make the average length of the years equal to a tropical year, an intercalary month is added every two or three years. As a result leap year as 13 months compare to ordinary year of 12 months.

The sun always passes winter solstice during month 11.


Fun facts:

Through the history, different names have been given to each month to emphasize its importance. The following chart shows a strong connection of Chinese calendar versus agriculture.


First month  正月

apricot month 杏月

peach month 桃月

Plum month 梅月

Guava month 榴月

Lotus month 荷月

orchid month 蘭月

osmanthus month 桂月

chrysanthemum month 菊月

good month 良月

hiemal month 冬月

last month 臘月


Chinese calendar follows the phase of the moon, as a result they do not accurately follow the seasons of the solar year. To assist farmers to decide when to plan or to harvest crops, they divide up the calendar into 24 seasonal markers and are called jieqi. (similar to the chart above.)

Out of 9 major festivals, 7 are determined by the lunar calendar.


The Chinese animals sign are a 12 year- cycle used for dating the years.


Fun fact:

According to Chinese legend, the twelve animals quarreled one day as to who was to head the cycle of years. The gods were asked to decide and they held a contest: whoever was to reach the opposite bank of the river would be first, and the rest of the animals would receive their years according to their finish.

All the twelve animals gathered at the river bank and jumped in. Unknown to the ox, the rat had jumped upon his back. As the ox was about to jump ashore, the rat jumped off the ox's back, and won the race. The pig, who was very lazy, ended up last. That is why the rat is the first year of the animal cycle, the ox second, and the pig last.




Works cited page:

“Chinese Lunar Calendar” http://www1.chinaculture.org/library/2008-02/01/content_ 26219.htm

“Chinese Calendar” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_calendar

“Chinese Zodiac”http://www.chinatownconnection.com/chinese_zodiac.htm   






Comments (5)

Anonymous said

at 12:50 pm on Oct 14, 2008

Detailed and thorough! Appealing pictures and interesting information!

Anonymous said

at 12:41 pm on Oct 14, 2008

This page is excellent. I particularly like the colorful pictures and the uniform structure of the page. It is also very informative and the addition of fun facts makes it enjoyable to read.

Anonymous said

at 12:38 pm on Oct 14, 2008

This page is informative, and the fun facts are a nice touch.

Anonymous said

at 12:34 pm on Oct 14, 2008

The web page provide a well introduction of the chinese calendar. information is well gather and well put. virtual aide helps better understand the topic.

Anonymous said

at 12:28 pm on Oct 14, 2008

Wenbin has very detailed information for his topic. The photos used are relevant to his topic.

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