Ancient Wisdom: The Chinese Zodiac Calendar - A Immeasurable Treasure

The Chinese calendar, like the horoscope with which it is interrelated, is an important component of ancient Chinese traditional culture.

The Chinese have every reason to be proud of these immeasurable treasures, which have been used by everyone from simple peasants to emperors over the centuries and millennia. Although modern science is often quick to label them as myths and fables, the Chinese calendar is based on rational scientific theory.

There are three types of calendar systems: solar, lunar, and solar-lunar. According to The Epoch Times, the solar calendar refers to the Earth's rotation around the Sun for one year. The lunar calendar represents the lunar cycle - one month. The lunar year is shorter than the solar year by about 11 days.

The ancient Chinese calendar is a solar-lunar calendar. Months were identified according to the moon cycle - new moon to new moon, and years were determined according to the solar calendar. To match the months to the solar year, about every third year a leap or 13th month was added. The Chinese usually call their ancient calendar "lunar" or "agricultural".

The Chinese calendar is said to have been composed in the Xia Dynasty (c. 2070-1765 AD), based on observations of celestial bodies, planets and celestial meridians, the ecliptic, etc.
The Chinese Zodiac Calendar - A Immeasurable Treasure

Picture Credit: Jane Ku / Epoch Times

The Chinese Zodiac Calendar - The 12 Animals

The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar were chosen, according to legend, by the gods to represent the 12 cyclically repeating years. The 12 animals are as follows: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

The 12 animals, which represent the years in China, also served as a reminder to the ancient Chinese about the importance of good planning of time and life.

At the same time, knowledge about the 12 animals was closely linked to beliefs about the relationship between man and the universe.

The Celestial Link

An important aspect of the Chinese calendar is the 60-year cycle. It consists of a combination of 10 Tian-Gan (Heavenly Stems) with the 12 Di-Zhi (Earthly Branches). The heavenly stems are the five basic elements - wood, fire, earth, metal, and water - combined with the two basic principles of Chinese philosophy - Yin and Yang. The earthly branches are the signs of the zodiac.

According to ancient Chinese theology, the five elements - metal, wood, water, fire, and earth - are what the whole Universe is built of. Their properties and interaction define the characteristics of all things and phenomena. All matter tends to be in harmony with nature and the five elements condition the balance between all materials and energies.

Heavenly Stems

Element & Energy 

1

Jia

Wood - Yang

2

Yi

Wood - Yin

3

Bin

Fire - Yang

4

Ding

Fire - Yin

5

Wu

Earth - Yang

6

Ji

Earth - Yin

7

Geng

Metal - Yang

8

Xin

Metal - Yin

9

Ren

Water - Yang

10

Gui

Water - Yin


Earthly Branches

Element & Energy

Animal

Month

Time of Day

1

­Zi

Water - Yang

Rat

December

23-1

2

Chou

Earth - Yin

Ox

January

1-3

3

Yin

Wood - Yang

Tiger

February

3-5

4

Mao

Wood - Yin

Rabbit

March

5-7

5

Chen

Earth - Yang

Dragon

April

7-9

6

Si

Fire - Yin

Snake

May

9-11

7

Wu

Fire -Yang

Horse

June

11-13

8

Wei

Earth - Yin

Sheep

July

13-15

9

Shen

Metal Yang

Moneky

August

15-17

10

You

Metal Yin

Rooster

September

17-19

11

Xu

Earth - Yang

Dog

October

19-21

12

Hai

Water - Yin

Pig

November

21-23

 

How Does The This Work?

To understand how a cycle works, we associate the stems and branches according to their numbers.

Take the first heavenly stem and the first earthly branch - (1,1). This is the first calendar year of 60 years. Then comes the year (2,2), and so on up to (10,10). At this point, the 10 Heavenly Stems reach the end, so we take it from the beginning: the combination will be (1,11), and the next year - (2,12). This time the branches end and we'll start with the first branch, at the same time continuing the numbering of the stems - (3,1). And so 60 years pass, during which time we go through 6 cycles of heavenly stems and 5 cycles of earthly branches. The 61st year will again be (1,1), starting a new 60-year cycle.

The combination of heavenly stems and earthly branches, the animal, the characteristic element, and the Yin and Yang symbol form the "climate" of each year.

It is said that in the Yin year, people using the accumulated resources and strength, should concentrate on the realization of the initiated affairs. And in the Yang year it is recommended to start new businesses, move forward, and rise higher.

Using the Chinese calendar, we can calculate the effect of the elements at the time of a person's birth. The heavenly stems and earthly branches specific to the year in question will become the cosmic components of men.

Therefore, knowing the composition of the five elements, which define our life and taking into account the laws of interaction of these elements, the laws of change over time, the ancient Chinese predicted future events of human life or the destiny of the country, dynasty.

With the help of the Chinese calendar, the Chinese can determine the lucky day for expeditions, marriages, the coronation of the new emperor, etc.

The Chinese Zodiac Calendar - An Ancient Treasure

The Chinese calendar was also used in the military. The renowned army leader and prime minister of the Three Kingdoms period (220-280), Zhuge Liang, thanks to his excellent knowledge of astrology, horoscope and calendar science, and the laws of motion of the heavenly bodies anticipated the actions of the enemy commanders during the war and sometimes with a more modest number of soldiers was able to defeat the stronger opponent.

Chinese calendar science also assumes that the cosmos and man are closely interrelated. Depending on changes in the position of celestial bodies, changes in events on Earth also occur. Changing dynasties, the fall of kingdoms, prosperous periods, or prolonged wars all have their reasons.

According to a popular view in ancient China, when peace and virtue prevail in society, then the country will also prosper and be happy; but when people start to become more selfish, natural disasters may happen or war may start.

The Chinese calendar, combining the scientific and moral aspects, is a special page in the culture of this wonderful country.

Find Out Your Zodiac Sign According To The Chinese Zodiac

Chinese Zodiac Table

Rat

1900

1912

1924

1936

1948

1960

1972

1984

1996

2008

Ox

1901

1913

1925

1937

1949

1961

1973

1985

1997

2009

Tiger

1902

1914

1926

1938

1950

1962

1974

1986

1998

2010

Rabbit

1903

1915

1927

1939

1951

1963

1975

1987

1999

2011

Dragon

1904

1916

1928

1940

1952

1964

1976

1988

2000

2012

Snake

1905

1917

1929

1941

1953

1965

1977

1989

2001

2013

Horse

1906

1918

1930

1942

1954

1966

1978

1990

2002

2014

Sheep

1907

1919

1931

1943

1955

1967

1979

1991

2003

2015

Monkey

1908

1920

1932

1944

1956

1968

1980

1992

2004

2016

Rooster

1909

1921

1933

1945

1957

1969

1981

1993

2005

2017

Dog

1910

1922

1934

1946

1958

1970

1982

1994

2006

2018

Pig

1911

1923

1935

1947

1959

1971

1983

1995

2007

2019

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