Chinese Calendar

(redirected from Chinese year)
Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to Chinese year: Chinese zodiac

Chinese Calendar

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In 1912, China officially adopted the Gregorian calendar. But the old soli-lunar system (Nong Li) is still relevant. There are at least two Chinese calendars (solar and lunar), but they both deal with the fundamental notion of heavenly stems and earthly branches. The solar calendar is used in Feng Shui and in the Four Pillars of the Destiny (Ba Zi astrology or Zi Ping). The lunar calendar is mainly used in the other branch of the Chinese astrology, the Zi Wei Dou Shu.

The Chinese calendar is based on the sexagesimal cycle: there are 60 possible combinations (binomials) of stems and branches. This periodicity of 60 years corresponds to a new alignment of the Earth with the Moon, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter. The first observation dates back to 2637 b.c.e., which became the first year of the first cycle of 60 years. A period of 180 years is called a grand cycle and corresponds to three cycles of 60 years (called inferior cycle, median cycle, and superior cycle) and thus to nine periods of 20 years. The current grand cycle, the 26th one, started on February 4, 1864, and will last until February 3, 2044. The period of 1984 through February 2004 is the seventh period of the current grand cycle.

The solar new year begins at the precise time when the Sun goes over the 15 th degree of Aquarius, Beijing time. This corresponds to February 4 (sometimes February 5). This date is called Li Chun and marks the beginning of Chinese spring. Each solar month begins around the 4th or the 8th of the corresponding western month:

The first Chinese month = February (second Western month)

The second Chinese month = March (third Western month)

The eleventh Chinese month = December (twelfth Western month)

The twelfth Chinese month = January (first Western month)

The lunar new year is set on the winter solstice and can fall on any day between January 21 and February 20. A lunar year comprises 12 moons of 29 days (short moon) or 30 days (long moon), and regularly, a 13 th moon must be inserted to make up the gap. (A lunar calendar consists of moons, while a solar calendar consists of solar months.)

—Michele Delemme

References in periodicals archive ?
Girls perform the Fairy's Flower Dance at Newcastle |Mayfair to celebrate Chinese Year of the Dragon, 1988
The Chinese Year of the Sheep (or Goat, depending on your taste) began yesterday, and according to Old Moore's Almanack, 2015 will be very much to the advantage of those born in a previous sheep year.
HEARTLANDS Academy students have spent the week in oriental style celebrating the Chinese Year of the Goat.
Part of the "Tales from the Chinese Zodiac" series of exuberantly illustrated picturebooks, The Year of the Sheep celebrates 2015, the Chinese Year of the Sheep, with an adventurous, original story about a young sheep who delights in exploring the outdoors.
Chinese Year of the Horse activities at Coalport China Museum, Ironbridge There will be Oriental-themed family workshops and activities celebrating the Chinese Year of the Horse.
Head of celebrations and festivals Yousif Alhamdan said that the event was in line with the bilateral cooperation on the educational and cultural levels, adding that it coincides with the Chinese Year of the Horse.
A Ri-Rily good cause CELEBRATE the Chinese Year of the Horse with The Cambridge Satchel Company.
STAFF at the BBC were kicking themselves last night after getting the Chinese year of the horse mixed up with vice girls.
In celebration of the 2014 Chinese New Year, Goggle marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Horse with a Google doodle on its search page.
BEIJING/ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khalid has said the Chinese year of the snake this year, marks a fresh beginning for the friendship between Pakistan and China.
For her part, Minister Dashti conveyed HH the Amir's greetings to Chinese leadership and people on the advent of the new Chinese year.
Born in 1977, Year of the Snake, Korean singer Psy gained global fame with his video hit Gangnam Style in 2012, and more money may come in the Chinese Year of the Snake if he continues to tour around the world, according to Wei-chung.