Notes on the Chinese Calendar.

Contents:
Since 1912, China has officially adopted the Gregorian calendar.
But the old solilunar system (Nong Li) is still relevant.
There are in fact two Chinese Calendars:
  the Solar Calendar, used in Feng Shui and in the "Four Pillars of the Destiny" (Ba Zi Astrology or Zi Ping).
  the Lunar Calendar, maily used in the other branch of the Chinese Astrology, the Zi Wei Dou Shu .
Both calendars are dealt with in our software Izi Wai that you can download and try:
download and try Izi Wai Software
The Solar Chinese Calendar
The Solar New Year begins at the precise time when the
Sun goes over the 15th degree of the Aquarius sign, Pekin
time.
This corresponds to February, 4th (sometimes 5th):
from 1960 till 2003, the only years beginning on the 5th
are: 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980.
That date is called "Li Chun" and
marks the beginning of the chinese spring.
Li Chun is one of the 24 chinese markers (Jie
Qi) that regulate the year.
There are 12 Jie marking the beginning of each
solar month and 12 Qi located in the middle of a
solar month.
Each solar month begins around the 4th or the 8th of
the corresponding western month:
 The 1st Chinese Month = February (2nd Western
Month),
 The 2nd Chinese Month = March (3rd Western
Month),
 ...,
 The 11th Chinese Month = December (12th Western
Month),
 The 12th Chinese Month = January (1st Western
Month).
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The Lunar Chinese Calendar
The Lunar New Year is set on the winter solstice and can fall on any day between January, 21st and February 20th.
A lunar year comprises twelve moons of 29 days (short moon) or 30 days (long moon), and regularly, a thirteenth moon must be inserted to make up on the gap.
For a cycle of 19 lunar years, there are seven years with a thirteenth moon.
Examples:
 The 26th of May 1998 is the first day of the fifth Moon of the Year WuYin (Tiger of Mau in Vietnamese).
This Moon ends 29 days later, the 23rd of June 1998. The 24th of June should thus be the first day of the sixth Moon.
But here we have to deal with a thirteenth Moon: its fifteen first days belong to the Moon #5 and the other belong to the following Moon (which officially begins the 23rd of July).
 Another example: in the Lunar Chinese Calendar, February 4th 1999 still belongs to the 1998 year (WuYin) and not to the JiMao year: it is the
19th day of the 12th Moon (the 1999 Lunar Year JiMao only begins on February, 16th 1999).
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Examples of New Year

Lunar 
Solar 
1990 
27 January 
4 February 
1991 
15 February 
4 February 
1992 
4 February 
4 February 
1993 
23 January 
4 February 
1994 
12 January 
4 February 
1995 
31 Janvier 
4 February 
1996 
19 February 
4 February 
1997 
7 February 
4 February 
1998 
28 January 
4 February 
1999 
16 February 
4 February 
2000 
5 February 
4 February 
2001 
24 January 
4 February 
2002 
12 February 
4 February 
Remark:
In a Lunar calendar context, we say 'Moons'.
In a Solar calendar context, we say 'Solar Months'.
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The Eight Words or Four Pillars
In both calendars, the Year, the Month (Solar or Lunar), the Day and the Hour are a combination of two chinese words:
  a Heavenly Stem (there are 10 of them, also called 'roots': Di Zhi),
  a Earthly Branch (there are 12 branches, which are the famous animals of the Chinese Zodiac).
For instance, February 4th, 1999 is the 1st day of the solar year 1999 (a JiMao year, a BingYin month, a DingHai Day).
But remember we have seen it belonged to the 12th Moon of the 1998 Year, in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
Remark:
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Conversion into Yin/Yang and into Elements
This can be converted into Yin/Yang and into elements:
For instance, let's have a look to the Stems we have already encountered:
  Geng is Yang Metal,
  Ding is Yin Fire,
  Bing is Yang Fire,
  Ji is Yin Earth.
And for the Branches:
  Zi is Yang Water,
  Hai is Yin Water (and some Wood),
  Yin is Yang Wood (and some Fire +
Earth),
  Mao is Yin Wood.
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Interpretation (Zi Ping)
It was defined and adjusted by the wellread Zi Ping, a long time ago.
The stem of the day (called the Master Day) is the main data: it represents the subject.
Whether it is weak or strong, whether it is supported or thwarted must be determined first.
Then the symbols of wealth, authority, power are looked for.
The signs of good or bad health, the relational potential with the parents, the spouse and the
children too...
The notions of Clashes and Harmonies, of favourable or
unfavourable periods, of lucky periods must be
particularly checked.
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Chinese Hour and Local Solar Hour
A Chinese Hour is a period of 120 minutes.
The first Chinese Hour, the Rat Hour, begins at 11pm, Local
Solar Hour (LSH). Here are the twelve
Chinese Hours:
Chinese Hour 
Animal 
Chinese Name 
Interval 
1^{st} Hour 
Rat 
Zi 
[11pm – 01 am[ 
2^{nd} Hour 
Buffalo 
Chou 
[01 am – 03 am[ 
3^{rd} Hour 
Tiger 
Yin 
[03 am – 05 am[ 
4^{th} Hour 
Rabbit 
Mao 
[05 am – 07 am[ 
5^{th} Hour 
Dragon 
Chen 
[07 am – 09 am[ 
6^{th} Hour 
Snake 
Si 
[09 am – 11 am[ 
7^{th }Hour 
Horse 
Wu 
[11 am – 01 pm[ 
8^{th }Hour 
Goat 
Wei 
[01 pm – 03 pm[ 
9^{th }Hour 
Monkey 
Shen 
[03 pm – 05 pm[ 
10^{th} Hour 
Rooster 
You 
[05 pm – 07 pm[ 
11^{th }Hour 
Dog 
Xu 
[07 pm – 09 pm[ 
12^{th }Hour 
Pig 
Hai 
[09 pm – 11 pm[ 
Calculation of the Local Solar Hour:
 Start from the legal hour.
For instance, let us examine the two following
Legal Hours:
10.25 am in Paris on the 25th of May 1999,
10.25 am in New York on the 25th of May 1999.
 Find the GMT hour (Universal Time).
Subtract the timelag towards Greenwich if
this takes place at the East of Greenwich.
Or add it if this takes place at the West
of Greenwich.
The timelag takes into account the time zone
(+1H for Paris, 5H for New York).
And also, if necessary, the lag due to the summer
hour (add one hour in each case, which leads to 2H for Paris and 4H for NewYork).
==> 8.25 am GMT for the first example (Paris).
 and 2.25 pm GMT for the second example (New
York).
 Add the longitude (measured in hours) .
Or subtract it if this takes place at the West of
Greenwich).
==> HSL = 8.25 am + 0.09 thus 8.34 am for Paris,
i.e. the 5th Chinese Hour [7H  9H]
==> HSL = 14.25pm – 4.55 thus 9.30 am for New
York, i.e. the 6th Chinese Hour [9H  11H]
==>The Chinese Hour is thus not
necessarily the hour that is quickly calculated, thinking
"10.25 am equals the 6th Chinese Hour".
This kind of calculation is automatically done by our
other software Izi Wai.
You can download and try it:
Download and try the Chinese Astrology Software Izi Wai
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The Tong Shu or the 10000year calendar (Wan Nian Li)
This calendar is a big almanac, going over an interval
of years. It gives a lot of information: the gregorian,
lunar and solar dates, but also the favourable days, the
stars used in Feng Shui, the direction where some
deities are positioned…
It is very popular among Chinese families, who consult
it for any important decision.
More info on the
chinese temporality:
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 BC 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 3 cycles of 60 years (called Inferior
cycle, Median cycle and Superior cycle) and thus to 9
periods of 20 years.
The current Grand cycle is the 26th one and has
started on February 4th, 1864. It will last until
February 3rd, 2044.
Since 2004 and until February 2024, we are in the 8th Period of the current
Grand cycle.
This means, among other things, that in Feng
Shui, the star associated with the number 8 is currently
predominant. From February 2024, and for 20 years, it
will be the 9 star.
"The sexagesimal notation, as an expression of
the cyclic nature of the time, played a large part in the
setting up of a divinatory algebra tied to the apparent
periodicity of the days, the months and the seasons. The
interpretation of the sexagesimal configurations peculiar
to a situation is the feature common to many chinese
divinatory techniques. "[Citation #1]
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The 60 Binomials.
N° 1 
JIAZi 
S1B1 
N°2 
YIChou 
S2B2 
N°3 
BINGYin 
S3B3 
N°4 
DINGMao 
S4B4 
N°5 
WUChen 
S5B5 
N°6 
JISi 
S6B6 
N°7 
GENGWu 
S7B7 
N°8 
XINWei 
S8B8 
N°9 
RENShen 
S9B9 
N°10 
GUIYou 
S10B10 
N°11 
JIAXu 
S1B11 
N°12 
YIHai 
S2B12 
N°13 
BINGZi 
S3B1 
N°14 
DINGChou 
S4B2 
N°15 
WUYin 
S5B3 
N°16 
JIMao 
S6B4 
N°17 
GENGChen 
S7B5 
N°18 
XINSi 
S8B6 
N°19 
RENWu 
S9B7 
N°20 
GUIWei 
S10B8 
N°21 
JIAShen 
S1B9 
N°22 
YIYou 
S2B10 
N°23 
BINGXu 
S3B11 
N°24 
DINGHai 
S4B12 
N°25 
WUZi 
S5B1 
N°26 
JIChou 
S6B2 
N°27 
GENGYin 
S7B3 
N°28 
XINMao 
S8B4 
N°29 
RENChen 
S9B5 
N°30 
GUISi 
S10B6 
N°31 
JIAWu 
S1B7 
N°32 
YIWei 
S2B8 
N°33 
BINGShen 
S3B9 
N°34 
DINGYou 
S4B10 
N°35 
WUXu 
S5B11 
N°36 
JIHai 
S6B12 
N°37 
GENGZi 
S7B1 
N°38 
XINChou 
S8B2 
N°39 
RENYin 
S9B3 
N°40 
GUIMao 
S10B4 
N°41 
JIAChen 
S1B5 
N°42 
YISi 
S2B6 
N°43 
BINGWu 
S3B7 
N°44 
DINGWei 
S4B8 
N°45 
WUShen 
S5B9 
N°46 
JIYou 
S6B10 
N°47 
GENGXu 
S7B11 
N°48 
XINHai 
S8B12 
N°49 
RENZi 
S9B1 
N°50 
GUIChou 
S10B2 
N°51 
JIAYin 
S1B3 
N°52 
YIMao 
S2B4 
N°53 
BINGChen 
S3B5 
N°54 
DINGSi 
S4B6 
N°55 
WUWu 
S5B7 
N°56 
JIWei 
S6B8 
N°57 
GENGShen 
S7B9 
N°58 
XINYou 
S8B10 
N°59 
RENXu 
S9B11 
N°60 
GUIHai 
S10B12 
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The 24 Jie Qi (Jalons of the Solar Calendar):
Li Chun 
4 or 5 February 
Spring begins 
Yu Shi 
18,19 or 20 February 
Rain Water > 
Jing Zhe 
5 or 6 March 
Insect awaken 
Chun Fen 
20 or 21 March 
Spring Equinox 
Qing Ming 
4 or 5 April 
Pure Brightness 
Gu Yu 
19, 20 or 21 Aprim 
Beneficial rains 
Li Xia 
6 or 7 May 
Summer begins 
Xiao Man 
20,21 or 22 May 
Small surplus 
Mang Zhong 
5, 6 or 7 June 
Grain in ears 
Xia Zhi 
21 or 22 June 
Summer Solstice 
Xiao Shu 
6, 7 ou 8 July 
Little Heat 
Da Shu 
22, 23 or 24 July 
Great Heat 
Li Qiu 
8 or 9 August 
Fall begins 
Chu Shu 
22, 23 or 24 August 
End of the Heats 
Bai Lu 
7, 8 or 9 September 
White Dews 
Qiu Fen 
22 or 23 September 
Fall Equinox 
Han Lu 
8 or 9 October 
Cold Dew 
Shuang Jiang 
23 or 24 October 
Frosting 
Li Dong 
7 or 8 November 
Winter begins 
Xiao Xue 
22 or 23 November 
Little Snow 
Da Xue 
6, 7 or 8 December 
Great Snow 
Dong Zhi 
21,22 or 23 December 
Winter Solstice 
Xiao Han 
5, 6 or 7 January 
Little Cold 
Da Han 
20 or 21 January 
Great Cold 
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[1] Marc Kalinowski
Dans "Cosmologie et Divination dans la Chine ancienne, ou le Compendium des 5 agents.
Le Wu Xing Da Yi, Vième siècle"
Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient Paris 1991
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