The calendar has a year, month and date frame. The key elements are the day,
synodic month and solar year. The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, similar to the
The concepts in the Chinese, Hindu, and Hebrew calendars:
- day, the time based on the earth's rotation. In the Chinese calendar, a day starts from the midnight; in the Hindu calendars, a day starts from sunrise; and in the Hebrew calendar, a day starts from sunset.
- month, the time is based on the obliquity of the moon path. In the Chinese calendar, a month starts from the dark moon; in the Hindu calendars, a month can start from the dark moon or the full moon; and in the Hebrew calendar, a month starts from the new moon. A month is about 29 17/32 days.
- phase, 1/30 month, 12° obliquity of the moon path. A unique concept of dating method in the Hindu calendar, a phase is about 63/64 day, which derived out the 64 divinatory symbols.
- date, the day number in a month. In the Chinese and Hebrew calendars, days are numbered in sequence from 1 to 29 or 30; and in the Hindu calendars, the days are numbered according to the number of the phase in the days. In the Hindu calendars, some dates may be vacant.
- year, the time based on the earth's revolution. In the Chinese calendar, a year starts from the vernal commence (or the winter solstice); in the Hindu and Hebrew calendar starts from the vernal equinox. A year is about 365 31/128 days.
- zodiac, 1/12 year, 30° ecliptic, a concept of monthing method in the Chinese and Hindu calendars, and the concept of the monthing method in the solar calendars, such as the Gregorian calendar and Persian calendar. A zodiac is about 30 7/16 days. The zodiac in the Chinese calendar is 45° away from the zodiac in the Babylon system.
- solar term, 1/24 year, 15° ecliptic, a unique concept of monthing method in the Chinese calendar. A solar term is about 15 7/32 days.
- calendric month, the month numbering in a year. In the Chinese and Hindu calendars, the months are numbered according to the zodiac number; and in the Hebrew calendar, months are numbered in sequence from 1 to 12/13 (Adar). In the Chinese, Hindu and Hebrew calendars, some months may be repeated.
- calendric year, the year for the calendric purpose (in culture or religion). In the Chinese calendar, the calendric year starts from the nearest day of the dark moon to the vernal commences; in the Hindu and Hebrew calendars, the calendric year is the month with the vernal equinox. A calendric year is 353/354/355 or 383/384/385 days.
7 Luminaries, Big Dipper, 3 Enclosures, 28 Mansions
The movements of the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are the key references for calendar calculations. These are known as the seven luminaries.
- The distance between Mercury and the sun is within 30°, which is the sun's height at chenshi, so Mercury is called the "chen star". (
- Venus occurs at dawn and dusk, so the Venus is called the "bright star" (
Chinese: 启明星) or "long star" (
- Mars looks like fire and occurs irregularly, so Mars is called the "fire star" (
Chinese: 荧惑星). Mars is in charge of punishment in Chinese culture. When Mars is close to Antares (
Chinese: 荧惑守心), it is a sign of bad luck and can forebode the death of the emperor or the ousting of the chancellor.
- The period of Jupiter's revolution is about 11.86 years, so Jupiter is called the "age star" (
traditional Chinese: 歲星;
simplified Chinese: 岁星), since 30° of Jupiter's revolution is about a year on Earth.
- The period of Saturn's revolution is about 28 years, so Saturn is called the "guard star" (
Chinese: 鎮星). This means that Saturn guards one of the 12 mansions every year.
The Big Dipper is regarded as the compass in the sky, and the handle's direction decides the season and solar month.
The stars are divided into 3 enclosures and 28 mansions according to the location in the sky. The mansions are named with 28 characters according to the shape.
- Central (3 enclosures): Purple Forbidden (
Chinese: 紫微), Supreme Palace (
Chinese: 太微), Heavenly Market (
- Eastern mansions: 角, 亢, 氐, 房, 心, 尾, 箕; Southern mansions: 井, 鬼, 柳, 星, 张, 翼, 轸; Western mansions: 奎, 娄, 胃, 昴, 毕, 参, 觜; Northern mansions: 斗, 牛, 女, 虚, 危, 室, 壁
The moon moves about 1 mansion per day. Therefore, the 28 mansions are used to count days too. In the Tang Dynasty, Yuan Tiangang (
Chinese: 袁天罡) matched the 28 mansions, 7 luminaries and animal signs, such as horn-wood-flood dragon (
Several coding systems are used for some special circumstances in order to avoid ambiguity, such as continuous day or year count.
heavenly stems is a
earthly branches is a
duodecimal system. The earthly branches are used to mark the shí and climate terms usually.
- There's a different pattern for
earthly branches, which is called as 12 characters of jian, chu and others (
pinyin: jianchu 12 zi). The 12 characters sequence from the first day with the same branch as the month (first Yinri of Zheng, first Maori of Ery, ...). The 12 characters must be used to count the days of the solar month.
stem-branches is a
sexagesimal system. The
heavenly stems and
earthly branches match together and form
stem-branches. The stem-branches are used to mark the continuous day and year.
- The stem-branches order may calculate with the stems order and branches order. sb=6s-5b (if less than 10, add 50)
- The unit digit of the stem-branches order is the stems order; the unit digit minus twice the tens digit is the branches order (if less than 2, add 10)
- The five phases are used to match the stems, branches, and stem-branches. And the Yin-yang are used to match the stems, branches, and stem-branches too, odd-yang, even-yin.
Coding system in Chinese calendar and time system
Explanatory Chart for Chinese time
In Modern China, people use the Western hour-minute-second system to divide time. In Ancient China, people used the shi-ke system to divide the time during the day and the geng-dian system to divide the time during the night.. For example:
- The Chinese standard time is 23:51:58, or 2:56 (Erg 5 point).
In the Chinese calendar, the day begins at midnight and ends at the next midnight, but people tend to regard the days as beginning at dawn.
- In Han Dynasty, a day is divided into 24 hours, and the 15 active o'clocks (6:00-20:00) are named as: dawn (晨明), daybreak (朏明), morning (旦明), earlier breakfast (蚤食), later breakfast (宴食), ante noon (隅中), noon (正中), short shadow (少还), drum time (铺时), long shadow (大还), higher setting (高舂), lower setting(下舂), sunset (县东), dusk (黄昏), rest time (定昏)
- A day is divided into 100 centidays by kes (the scales), or into 12 dual-hours by 12 shis, which are named with 12 earthly branches.
- In the earlier stage, the time expression is
sss initial, sss 1 ke,..., sss 8 ke, such as wush 3 ke (the third ke after wush)
- After Tang dynasty, the time expression is
a.sss initial, a.sss 1 ke,..., a.sss 4 ke, p.sss initial, p.sss 1 ke,..., p.sss 4 ke, such as a.wush 3 ke (the third ke of wush), p.yinsh 4 ke (the fourth ke after yinsh)
- For the calendar convenience, A day is divided into 6000 fens. 1 centiday = 60 fens, 1 fen = 14.4 seconds.
- A day is divided into 10 decidays by gengs (The midnight is sang, and each deciday is divided by 5 dians (points).
- The time expression is
ggg, ggg 1 point,..., ggg 5 point, such as sang 2 point (the second point after sang).
- Among a year, the night length is inconstant. At 35°N, it is about 60% at the winter solstice, and about 40% at the summer solstice. So, the night gengs starts from a time between dawn and yig, and end at a time between wug and morn
- At pre-Qin and Qin-Han, a day was divided into 16 parts from the cock time (3:00; 4:15 / sig 1 point 50 fen). The 16-parts system is established for calendar convenience, for:
- A season is about 91 days and 5 parts, and a solar month is about 30 days and 7 parts.
- A couple of months is about 59 days and a part.
The Chinese appear to have adopted the seven-day week from the Hellenistic system by the 4th century, although by which route is not entirely clear. It was again transmitted to China in the 8th century by Manichaeans, via the country of
Kang (a Central Asian polity near
[c] It is the most predominantly used system in modern China.
Other than the seven-day week system, in ancient China, the days were grouped into 10-day weeks with the stems, 12-day weeks with the branches, or 9/10-day weeks (
pinyin: xún) with the date in the month.
The ten-day week was used in antiquity (reportedly as early as in the Bronze Age
 In modern time, it is still used in counting special days including
Three Fu Days (Chinese: 三伏).
The law during the
Han dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) required officials of the empire to rest every five days, called mu (沐), while it was changed into 10 days in the
Tang dynasty (AD 618 – 907), called huan (澣/浣) or xún (旬).
Months were almost three weeks long (alternating 29 and 30 days to keep in line with the
lunation). As a practice, the months are divided into 3 xún. The first 10 days is the early xún (
Chinese: 上旬), the middle 10 days is the mid xún (
Chinese: 中旬), and the last 9 or 10 days is the late xún (Chinese: 下旬).
Markets in Japan followed the Chinese jun (旬) system; see
Japanese calendar. In Korea, it was called "Sun" (순,旬).
In winter, there is also a 9-day cycle counting start from the winter solstice, which would last for 9 cycles until 81 days later when it is deemed as the end of winter.
Month is the time between the dark moon. In the early days, the month length was estimated, and balanced. In general, 15-months-cycles and 17-months-cycles alternated for compliance with the synodic month.
- The 15-months-cycle is 30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30
- The 17-months-cycle is 30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30,29,30
In different ages, the calendar use different major cycle, which contains several 15-months-cycles and 17-months-cycle. The synodic month of
Taichu calendar is 2943/81 days, so the major cycle contains three 17-months-cycles and two 15-months-cycles.
In 7th century, the Wùyín Yuán Calendar of
Tang dynasty in 7th century, the month length was determined by the real synodic month for the first time, instead of the cycling method, which mean month lengths is determined by observation and prediction starting from
Tang dynasty, except a few brief period of time.
- A month with 30 days is called a long month (
Chinese: 大月), and a month with 29 days is called a short month (
- The days of the month are numbered beginning with 1, and in Chinese the day's number is always written with two characters,
- such as Chūyī (
Chinese: 初一) for 1, Shíwǔ (
Chinese: 十五) for 15, and Niànsān (
Chinese: 廿三) for 23.
- As a convention, the days of the month are numbered with the 60 stem-branches in the history books. For example: Tiansheng 1st year, Eryue, Dingsiri, Set the portrait of the Great Chris and Pope in the Hongqing Palace of the southern capital. - Volume ix: Biographic Sketches of Pope Ren, History of Song Dynasty.
Because astronomical observation is used to determine month length, date of the Chinese calendar corresponds to the moon phase.
- The first day of each month is the dark moon.
- In the 7th or 8th day of each month, the first quarter moon is visible in the afternoon and early evening.
- In the 15th or 16th day of each month, the full moon is visible all night.
- In the 22nd or 23rd day of each month, the last quarter moon is visible late at night and in the morning.
As the beginning of every month is determined by the time when the new moon occur, thus other countries who have adopted the calendar and use time standard that are different from China to calculate their own version of the calendar could result in deviation. For instance, the first new moon in the year 1968 in Gregorian calendar happened in UTC Jan 29 16:29, which would translate to Jan 29 23:29 in UTC+7 timezone (which is what
North Vietnam used to calculate their
Vietnamese calendar) while it would be Jan 30 00:15 based on the longitude of Beijing (as used by
South Vietnam at the time), causing the two countries celebrate
Tết holiday in different date that year and result in asynchronized attacks in
Solar year and solar term
solar year (
traditional Chinese: 歲;
simplified Chinese: 岁;
pinyin: Suì) is the time between
the winter solstices. The solar year is divided into 24 solar terms.
In ancient China, the solar year and solar terms were estimated and balanced, and the solar term is just the 1/24 of the solar year, about 157/32 days.
Starting from the 17th century, when the
Shixian Calendar of
Qing dynasty was adopted, the solar year was determined by the real tropical year instead. The solar terms correspond to intervals of 15° along the ecliptic.
Different version of traditional Chinese calendar might have different average year length. For instance, one solar year of Taichu calendar, which were implemented in
1st century BC, is 365385/1539 days, while one solar year of Shoushi calendar, which were implemented in 13th century, is 36597/400 days, which is the same as the Gregorian calendar.
Couples of solar terms are climate terms (solar months). The first of each couples is "pre-climate" (
traditional Chinese: 節氣;
simplified Chinese: 节气;
pinyin: Jiéqì), and the second of the each couple is "mid-climate" (
traditional Chinese: 中氣;
simplified Chinese: 中气;
The intercalary months (1862 to 2108)
- FTC 小寒 First Term of Cold Season
- STC 大寒 Second Term of Cold Season
- VC 立春 Vernal commence
- LTC 雨水 Last Term of Cold Season (惊蛰)
- FT R惊蛰 First Term of Rainy Season (雨水)
- VE 春分 Vernal Equinox
- STR 清明 Second Term of Rainy Season (谷雨)
- LTR 谷雨 Last Term of Rainy Season (清明)
- SC 立夏 Summer commence
- FTG 小满 First Term of Growing Season
- STG 芒种 Second Term of Growing Season
- SS 夏至 Summer Solstice
- FTH 小暑 First Term of Hot Season
- STH 大暑 Second Term of Hot Season
- AC 立秋 Autumn Commence
- LTH 处暑 Last Term of Hot Season
- FTD 白露 First Term of Dew Season
- AE 秋分 Autumn Equinox
- STD 寒露 Second Term of Dew Season
- LTD 霜降 Last Term of Dew Season
- WC 立冬 Winter Commence
- FTS 小雪 First Term of Snowy Season
- STS 大雪 Second Term of Snowy Season
- WS 冬至 Winter Solstice
In general, there are 11 or 12 complete months and 2 incomplete months, which contains the winter solstice, in a solar year. The 11 mid-climates except the winter solstice are in the 11 or 12 complete months. The first month without a mid-climate is the leap month.
The complete months except the intercalary month, queues up from 0 to 10, and the incomplete months follows this queue, to be 11. The intercalary follows the queue number before by rule.
The civil year starts from the first spring month (1), and ends at the last winter month (0/0i). The first and last month is called as Zhēngyuè (
Chinese: 正月, capital month) and Làyuè (
traditional Chinese: 臘月;
simplified Chinese: 腊月, sacrificial month), and the other month is called according to the queue number (except that the 0th month is Shi'eryue, if the Layue is a leap month).
There are 12 or 13 months in each year. The years with 12 months, or 353~355 days, are common years. The years with 13 months, or 383~385 days, are long years.
Years were numbered after the reign title in Ancient China, but the reign title was no longer used after the founding of PRC in 1949. People use the stem-branches to demarcate the years. For example, the year from February 8, 2016 to January 27, 2017 is a Bǐngshēnnían, 13 months or 384 days long.
To Encode the date in the Chinese calendar, the flag of the intercalary month should be considered. For example, Run Liuyue 6, Dingyounian: 408-6i-06 (Timestamp: 40806106)
In Tang Dynasty, the earthly branches are used to mark the months for about 150 days (Dec, 761~May, 762).
[e] At that time, the year starts from the month with Winter Solstice, and the month from Zhengyue to Layue are named as: Yinyue, Maoyue, Chenyue, Siyue, Wuyue, Weiyue, Shenyue Youyue, Xuyue, Haiyue, Ziyue, and Chouyue.
Estimate the Chinese date
- A month in the Chinese calendar is 29/30 days long, and a month in the Gregorian calendar is 30/31 days long. So, we may estimate the Chinese date if we know the bias between Layue 1st and January 1. In general, from Eryue/March, the Chinese date move 1 day backward, after a month; the Chinese date move a day forward after Zhengyue/February. Of course, if the bias is over 29 days, we should consider if there's an intercalary month before.
- The date of the solar term in the Gregorian calendar is more or less fixed. In general, the date of the solar term in the Chinese calendar swing (±15 days) around the fixed date. The node of the climate term is around the 1st of the corresponding month, and the mid of the climate is round the 15th of the corresponding month.
- A solar year is about 365 1/4 days, and 12 month is about 354 3/8 days. So the Chinese date move for about 11 days backward or 19 days forward.
- In general, if the Chinese New Year locate at January, there's an intercalary month in this year.
- The Chinese date is more or less fixed after 19 years (or 11 years occasionally) later. But, the dates near the intercalary month always are naughty. The dates in the winter of the nominal year of Merton cycle are naughty too, such as 2014+19n.
A typical graphical representation of the Chinese calendar is the vernal cattle diagram (
traditional Chinese: 春牛圖;
simplified Chinese: 春牛图), which help people calculate the date. In the vernal cattle diagram:
- The color of the cattle head marks the stem (five phases) of the year,
- If the cattle mouth is closed, it is a yin year; if the cattle mouth open, it is a yang year,
- The color of the cattle body marks the branch of the year.
- The color of the cattle tail marks the stem (five phases) of the vernal commence.
- If the cattle tail is on the left, vernal commence is a yang day; if the cattle tail is on the right, vernal commence is a yin day,
- The color of the cattle knee and shin marks the branch of the vernal commence.
- if the cowherd stand ahead the cattle, the vernal commence is 5+ days ahead the spring festival; if the cowherd stand behind the cattle, the vernal commence is 5+ days behind the spring festival; otherwise the bias between spring festival and vernal commence is within 5 days.
Age recognition in China
In China, age for official use is based on the Gregorian calendar. For traditional use, age is based on the Chinese calendar. For the first year from the birthday, the child is considered one year old. After each New Year's Eve, add one year. "Ring out the old age and ring in the new one (
traditional Chinese: 辭舊迎新;
simplified Chinese: 辞旧迎新;
pinyin: cíjiù yíngxīn)" is the literary express of New Year Ceremony. For example, if one's birthday is Làyuè 29th 2013, he is 2 years old at Zhēngyuè 1st 2014. On the other hand, people say months old instead of years old, if someone is too young. It is that the age sequence is "1 month old, 2 months old, ... 10 months old, 2 years old, 3 years old...".
After the actual age (
traditional Chinese: 實歲;
simplified Chinese: 实岁) was introduced into China, the Chinese traditional age was referred to as the nominal age (
traditional Chinese: 虛歲;
simplified Chinese: 虚岁). Divided the year into two halves by the birthday in the Chinese calendar,
[f] the nominal age is 2 older than the actual age in the first half, and the nominal age is 1 older than the actual age in the second half (
traditional Chinese: 前半年前虛兩歲，後半年虛一歲;
simplified Chinese: 前半年前虚两岁，后半年虚一岁).
Just as it is awkward to define the birthday of someone born on the 29th of February in the Gregorian calendar, special rules are used for birthdays or other anniversaries during the intercalary month or on the 30th day.
- If someone was born in an intercalary month (except intercalary Shi'eryue), his birthday is in the common month (the month before the intercalary month).
- If someone was born in Shi'eryue, and Layue is the intercalary Shi'eryue, his birthday is in Layue (the last month of a year).
- If someone was born at 30th day of a month, his birthday is the last day of the month, i.e. the 30th day if that exists, or the 29th day if it does not.
Year number system
- Era system
In the Ancient China, years were numbered from 1, beginning when a new emperor ascended the throne or the current emperor announced a new era name. The first reign title was Jiànyuán (
Chinese: 建元; literally: "era establishment", from 140 BCE), and the last reign title was Xuāntǒng (
traditional Chinese: 宣統;
simplified Chinese: 宣统, from 1908 CE). The era system was abolished in 1912 CE, after which the Current Era or
Republican era was used. The epoch of the Current Era is just the same as the era name of
Emperor Ping of Han, Yuánshí (
Chinese: 元始; literally: "era beginning").
- Stem-branches system
The 60 stem-branches were used to mark the date continually from Shang Dynasty. Before Han Dynasty, people knew the orbital period of Jupiter is about 4332 days, which is about 12*361 days. So, the orbital period of Jupiter was divided into 12 periods, which was used to number the year. The Jupiter was called as the star of age (
traditional Chinese: 嵗星;
simplified Chinese: 岁星;
pinyin: suìxīng), and the 1/12 Jupiter orbital period was called as the age (
traditional Chinese: 嵗;
simplified Chinese: 岁;
361 days is just 6 cycles of 60-stem-branches, so the stem-branches of the first day move forward one after each sui. The first day of each sui was called as the sui capital (
traditional Chinese: 太嵗;
simplified Chinese: 太岁;
And the stem-branches of the taisui was used to mark the year. Obviously, there're two taisui in some year for the sui is shorter than solar rear. About after each 86 year, a taisui was leaped. The leaped of the sui was called as beyond the star (
At the eastern Han Dynasty, the chaochen are abolished, and the 60 stem-branches are used to mark year continually without leap.
The Stem-branches year number system provided a solution for the defect of era system (unequal length of the reign titles)
- Continuous year numbering
Occasionally, nomenclature similar to that of the Christian era has been used, such as
- Anno Huángdì (
Chinese: 黄帝紀年), referring to the beginning of the reign of the
Yellow Emperor, 2698+AD=AH
- Anno Yáo (
Chinese: 唐尧紀年), referring to the beginning of the reign of
Emperor Yao, 2156+AD=AY
- Anno Gònghé (
Chinese: 共和紀年), referring to the beginning of the
Gonghe Regency, 841+AD=AG
- Anno Confucius (
Chinese: 孔子紀年), referring to the birth year of
- Anno Unity (
Chinese: 統一紀年), referring to the beginning of the reign of
Qin Shi Huang, 221+AD=AU
No reference date is universally accepted.
On January 2, 1912,
Sun Yat-sen declared a change to the official calendar and era. In his declaration, January 1, 1912 is called Shíyīyuè 13th, 4609 AH which assumes an epoch (1st year) of 2698 BCE. This declaration was adopted by many
overseas Chinese communities outside
Southeast Asia such as
San Francisco's Chinatown.
In the 17th century, the
Jesuits tried to determine what year should be considered the epoch of the Han calendar. In his Sinicae historiae decas prima (first published in
Munich in 1658),
Martino Martini (1614–1661) dated the ascension of the
Yellow Emperor to 2697 BC, but started the Chinese calendar with the reign of
Fuxi, which he claimed started in 2952 BCE.
Philippe Couplet's (1623–1693) Chronological table of Chinese monarchs (Tabula chronologica monarchiae sinicae; 1686) also gave the same date for the Yellow Emperor. The Jesuits' dates provoked great interest in Europe, where they were used for comparisons with Biblical chronology.
Modern Chinese chronology has generally accepted Martini's dates, except that it usually places the reign of the Yellow Emperor in 2698 BC and omits the Yellow Emperor's predecessors Fuxi and
Shennong, who are considered "too legendary to include".
Starting in 1903, radical publications started using the projected date of birth of the
Yellow Emperor as the first year of the Han calendar. Different newspapers and magazines proposed different dates.
Jiangsu, for example, counted 1905 as year 4396 (use an epoch of 2491 BCE), whereas the newspaper
Ming Pao (
traditional Chinese: 明報;
simplified Chinese: 明报) reckoned 1905 as 4603 (use an epoch of 2698 BCE).
Liu Shipei (劉師培; 1884–1919) created the Yellow Emperor Calendar, now often used to calculate the date, to show the unbroken continuity of the Han race and Han culture from earliest times. Liu's calendar started with the birth of the Yellow Emperor, which he determined to be 2711 BC. There is no evidence that this calendar was used before the 20th century. Liu calculated that the 1900 international expedition sent by the
Eight-Nation Alliance to suppress the
Boxer Rebellion entered
Beijing in the 4611th year of the Yellow Emperor.
- Calendric epoch
There is an epoch for each version of the Chinese calendar, which is called Lìyuán (
traditional Chinese: 曆元;
simplified Chinese: 历元). The epoch is the optimal origin of the calendar, and it is a Jiǎzǐrì, the first day of a lunar month, and the dark moon and solstice are just at the midnight (
Chinese: 日得甲子夜半朔旦冬至). And tracing back to a perfect day, such as that day with the magical star sign, there's a supreme epoch (
pinyin: shàngyuán). The continuous year based on the supreme epoch is shàngyuán jīnián (
traditional Chinese: 上元積年;
simplified Chinese: 上元积年). More and more factors were added into the supreme epoch, and the shàngyuán jīnián became a huge number. So, the supreme epoch and shàngyuán jīnián were neglected from the Shòushí calendar.
- Yuán-Huì-Yùn-Shì system
Shao Yong (
Chinese: 邵雍 1011–1077), a philosopher, cosmologist, poet, and historian who greatly influenced the development of
Neo-Confucianism in China, introduced a time system in his The Ultimate which Manages the World (
traditional Chinese: 皇極經世;
simplified Chinese: 皇极经世;
In his time system, 1 yuán (
Chinese: 元), which contains 12'9600 years, is a lifecycle of the world. Each yuán is divided into 12 huì (
traditional Chinese: 會;
simplified Chinese: 会). Each huì is divided into 30 yùn (
traditional Chinese: 運;
simplified Chinese: 运), and each yùn is divided into 12 shì (
Chinese: 世). So, each shì is equivalent to 30 years. The yuán-huì-yùn-shì corresponds with nián-yuè-rì-shí. So the yuán-huì-yùn-shì is called the major tend or the numbers of the heaven, and the nián-yuè-rì-shí is called the minor tend or the numbers of the earth.
The minor tend of the birth is adapted by people for predicting destiny or fate. The numbers of nián-yuè-rì-shí are encoded with stem-branches and show a form of Bāzì. The nián-yuè-rì-shí are called the
Four Pillars of Destiny. For example, the Bāzì of the
Qianlong Emperor is Xīnmǎo, Dīngyǒu, Gēngwǔ, Bǐngzǐ (辛卯、丁酉、庚午、丙子). Shào's Huángjíjīngshì recorded the history of the timing system from the first year of the 180th yùn or 2149th shì (HYSN 0630-0101, 2577 BC) and marked the year with the reign title from the Jiǎchénnián of the 2156th shì (HYSN 0630-0811, 2357 BC, Tángyáo 1,
traditional Chinese: 唐堯元年;
simplified Chinese: 唐尧元年). According to this timing system, 2014-1-31 is HYSN/YR 0712-1001/0101.
The table below shows the kinds of year number system along with correspondences to the Western (Gregorian) calendar. Alternatively, see
this larger table of the full 60-year cycle.
|Year in cycle
||Year of the...
1 As of the beginning of the year. AR=Anno the Republic of China
2 Timestamp according to Huángjíjīngshì, as a format of Huìyùn-Shìnián.
3 Huángdì era, using an epoch (year 1) of 2697 BC. Subtract 60 if using an epoch of 2637 BC. Add 1 if using an epoch of 2698 BC.
- The plum rains season is the rainy season during the late spring and early summer. The plum rains season starts on the first Bǐngrì after the Corn on Ear, and ends on the first Wèirì after the Moderate Heat.
Sanfu days are the three sections from the first Gēng-day after the summer solstice. The first section is 10 days long, and named the fore fu (
pinyin: chūfú). The second section is 10 or 20 days long, and named the mid fu (
pinyin: zhōngfú). The last section is 10 days long from the first Gēng-day after autumn commences, and named the last fu (
- The Shujiu cold days are the nine sections from the winter solstice. Each section is 9 days long. The shǔjǐu are the coldest days, and named with an ordinal number, such as Sìjǐu (
In the Sinosphere, the traditional festivals are calculated using the date or solar terms, and are considered auspicious.
Traditional festivals in the Sinosphere
||Original Define (Han Dynasty)
||Date of the following...
|Major traditional festivals on fixed date
||The third Xuri (戌) after the Winter Solstice
|the cleanup day before New Year's Week
New Year's Eve
|the last day of the year, Làyuè 29 or 30
||a statutory holiday
New Year's Day
|The first day of the year, Zhēngyuè 1
||a statutory holiday
||The first full moon of the year
||Also called as Yuanxiao (the night of the first full moon), an annual carnival in ancient China
||The first Siri (巳) of Sanyue
||a version of Qingmin Festival, The origin of Thailand water splashing festival
||a statutory holiday in Hong Kong SAR
Dragon Boat Festival
||The First Wuri (午) of Wuyue
||a statutory holiday
||Ingenuity Maiden's Day
||The full moon at the mid-year
||the worship of ancestors
||The full moon at the mid-autumn
||Reunion Day, a statutory holiday
||Regarded as Elder's Day in China
a statutory holiday in Hong Kong SAR
||The New Year's Day of Qin Calendar
||Issue Royal calendar (almanac) for the following year.
||The first full moon in Qin calendar
||the worship of worthy
|Major traditional festivals on solar term
|Beginning of Spring
||The day that Spring commences
about February 4
|The day of the Stimulation of Agriculture
Cold Food Festival
||the 105th day after the Winter Solstice
about April 4
|Sānyuè 7, 2017
|The fast before the worship of ancestors at Qingming Festival.
||The day of the solar term of Bright and Clear
about April 5
|Sānyuè 8, 2017
|The day of the worship of ancestors, a statutory holiday
||The day of the Winter Solstice
about December 21
|Shíyīyuè 5, 2017
|The node of the solar years
||the fifth Wùrì (戊) after Spring/Autumn Commences
|a version of Spring/Autumn equinox
|The traditional business festivals
||In the old days, merchants used to open their stores from Zhēngyuè 5, and host a prayer service on that day. God of Wealth's Day, which the prayer service is called God of Wealth is Welcome.
Touya & Weiya
|Èryuè 2 / Làyuè 16
||In the Ancient China, business owners hosted the Yaji rites (
pinyin: Yaji) at the 2nd and 16th day of each month from Eryue to Layue, to reward the local guardian god and their employees. The First/Last Thanksgiving rite is held on Èryue 2/Làyuè 16.