In China, we have a traditional Chinese calendar which is quite from the one commonly used around the world. It is particular termed the “Huang calendar”. If you are curious about the items stated in this calendar, what they mean and how the calendar is being read, then this article is right for you.
12 Zodiac Animals
According to the Chinese calendar, each year is represented with an animal, the 12 animals are in this order, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. The Chinese use these 12 animals to name the year and this system runs as a cycle. For example, the year 2016 is the year of the monkey and in the next 12 years, the year of the monkey will also be celebrated. In the month of February, China is going to celebrate the year of Monkey and it is also the time for the Spring Festival, the most vital day around the year in Chinese customs.
The day, month and year
In the Chinese calendar, the days begin at midnight and end in the next midnight. The time is usually measured by the unit of the shi (2 hours)-ke (15 minutes). The months begin on the day of the new moon, and end on the day before the next new moon. There are 29 or 30 days in a month, but the month length varies between 29 and 30 days. The month with 30 days is called the long month while the month with 29 days is called the short month. Usually, there are 12 or 13 months in a year. The years with 12 months are common years which have 353, 354 or 355 days. The years with 13 months are leap years which have 383, 384 or 385 days.
24 Solar Terms
The solar year is divided into 24 solar terms each corresponding to 15° along the ecliptic. Every solar term matches a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon. It is used to calculate intercalary months which are repeated depending on the position of the sun at the time. In the ancient time, people always refer to it to calculate the appropriate time for farming. However, it is less practical in the aspect of indicating the timing in farming. People are more likely to use it as a sign of the coming of a new season, weather or prepare certain dishes on some special days. Here is a list of the 24 solar terms according to Wikipedia.
Dos and Don’ts
Every single day is labeled with certain things that are suitable to do or should be avoided. For example, if people want to pick up a lucky date to host a wedding, to move to a new house or to hold a prayer ceremony, they will refer to the calendar to see which days are best for those activities and which days are bad to carry out these activities. Over the years, the origination of this arrangement( do’s and don’ts) on the calendar can hardly be traced and no one actually cares anymore, they just follow the rules and refer to the calendar to choose that special day whenever they plan to carry out or participate in a special activity.
There are some traditional festivals in which the dates are fixed based on the traditional calendar. In the event of celebration of some of these festivals, people do not have to go to work, it is a holiday. Some of the festivals that create room for holidays in China are the Spring Festival, the Qingming Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival. When you come to China don’t forget that you have days off on these special days.
Although the Chinese use the modern universal type of calendar more often in daily life, it is necessary have basic knowledge about the lunar calendar and how it operates. It is a very important part of the Chinese culture.
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