China’s Moon Calendars

May 13, 2010

This is the year of the Tiger.  I was born in the year of the Rooster. To discover your year, use the Chinese Zodiac Sign Calculator.  Just feed in your date of birth.

Chinese Zodiac - the twelve animals

China’s ancient calendar is based on a twelve-year lunar cycle. At one time, the Chinese calendar was confusing and complex. Buddhists have been given credit for simplifying it by replacing a complex system of numerical symbols with the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac.   

There are several Chinese calendars, which are still in use today. Each has its own purpose. Farmers in rural China use one. There’s even a Chinese gender calendar to help conceive a boy or girl.

In addition to the lunar, numerical, astronomical, gender and agricultural calendars, each day also has a name from one of twenty-eight constellations, with a ruling spirit for the day.

In charting the sky, the Chinese divided the heavens into 28 constellations located along the Equator and the ecliptic, each named after a star in the vicinity.

Learn about adding honor in one lunar leap


Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

Sign up for an RSS Feed for iLook China

An Insider’s View from Speak Without Interruption

March 30, 2010

In this post, instead of hearing form an outsider who has visited China and studied the culture for a decade while writing two novels about Robert Hart, the Godfather of China’s modernization, let’s see what Will Liu writes about China, his home.

Lunar New Year in China

“This Chinese New Year Season, something did surprise me. As a rule, every year…, I must make the trip to the hometown of my wife, where her father still lives…. What astonished me is that I could not find anybody smoke in the bus! Just last year and before, that was what tortured me most. You cannot avoid smoke, no matter on a bus or in a cab.”

Liu write about the differences he sees between cities.

Then in Part II, Liu writes, “Now, more and more people, especially young people celebrate Christmas Day. Nevertheless, we still take the Chinese New Year as our major … holiday, which we call the Spring Festival. Like the Christmas Season, we have a long Chinese New Year Season, typically the government approves a legal vacation of 3 days from New Year’s Eve till January the 2nd according to the Chinese lunar calendar.”

See another point-of-view from and expatriate, Tom Carter’s Teaching English in the Middle Kingdom