Chinese Calendar

The Chinese calendar, which is extensively used in Asian nations, is based on the oldest still-in-use method of time measurement, with an epoch of 2953 B.C. 

  • Part of the reason the Chinese calendar has remained intact for so long is because it was regarded holy until the middle of the twentieth century. 
  • Any modifications to the calendar were strictly regulated by imperial officials, and interfering with the time-keeping system was punishable by death. 
  • The official calendar was given to the emperor, governors, and other officials in an annual ceremony until the advent of Communism in China during the twentieth century. 
  • The Gregorian calendar has been in use for municipal purposes since 1912. 
  • The Chinese New Year occurs on the new moon closest to the point in the zodiac sign of Aquarius that is described in the West as the fifteenth degree. 
  • Each of the Chinese year's twelve months lasts twenty-nine or thirty days and is split into two halves, each lasting two weeks. 
  • The Chinese calendar, like other lunisolar calendars, has to be adjusted on a regular basis to maintain the lunar and solar cycles in sync, thus an intercalary month is added when required. 
  • Each of the twenty-four two-week periods has a name that corresponds to a festival that takes place at that time. 

These periods begin with the New Year, which occurs in late January or early February, and are referred to as: 

The Rain Water, 

the Excited Insects, 

the Vernal Equinox, 

the Clear and Bright, 

the Grain Rains, 

the Summer Begins, 

the Grain Fills, 

the Grain in Ear,

the Summer Solstice, 

the Slight Heat, 

the Great Heat, 

the Autumn Begins, 

the Heat Limit, 

the White Dew, 

the Autumnal Equinox, 

the Cold Dew, 

the Hoar Frost Descends, 

the Winter Begins, 

the Little Snow, 

the Heavy Snow, 

the Winter

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.