Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Chinese Calendar I

Although this calendar is followed by Chinese all over the world, mysteries abound on the computation of this calendar. Like any knowledge developed by ancient civilizations, I consider even this calendar deserves merit to study it in details. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief description and its astronomical basis for those who are interested. When time permits, I will try to contribute more on this subject. I am sure, my understanding of this calendar will increase with such narration of my current understanding.

Tropical or Sidereal
Whenever we discuss about any calendar, we need to know whether the purpose of the calendar is to reckon time with respect to seasons or with respect to fixed stars. Like any other calendar which was developed to keep track of the seasons for agricultural purposes, this calendar is a tropical calendar and tries to synchronize with the season markers such as equinoxes and solstices. However, instead of this being a solar calendar which traces the beginning and end of the calendar to the beginning and end of the the tropical zodiac (where beginning of Aries is tagged to vernal equinox), this calendar is a synodic calendar, which is based on the movement of Sun as well as the Moon. It is worthy to mention that most part of India also follows synodic calendar while also keeping it synchronous with the seasons by adding or subtracting intercalary months.

However, part of India also follow Sidereal calendar which is marked by movement of Sun in the sidereal zodiac i.e., with respect to the fixed stars and for them the year starts with the movement of Sun into the sidereal Aries somewhere on April 14 (as of now).

Start of the Year
The year starts on the day Sun and Moon conjoins in Tropical Aquarius. Thus the first day of this calendar is the 1st day of the bright half (shukla paksha) as per the amanta calendar followed in certain parts of India. One should note here is that the exact moment of conjunction of Sun and Moon marks the end of New Moon and beginning of the bright half.

Although the time of conjunction of Sun and Moon is known to start the Chinese calendar, the date of celebration would need further consideration. Since in actual practice, we follow the civil calendar (Gregorian calendar) and the civil time (24hrs day), we need to know which day should be taken as per the Gregorian calendar for the celebration of the new year. As per this civil time the day on which the Moon conjoins the Sun (irrespective of the part of the day) is treated as the start of new year. Thus if the conjunction happens before 00:00 hrs, the current day is treated as th new year, else, the next day will be so treated.

Based on this principles, the CNY dates for various years are given below. I have considered timezone +08:00 East of GMT for the time of beginning of the year, i.e, the beginning of bright half (shukla pratipada). Based on the timezone, the date can vary.

Year# YEAR START DATE & TIME END DATE & TIME ANIMAL ELEMENT
4645 - 1948 : 10 Feb 1948 11:02:22 - 29 Jan 1949 10:42:43 : Rat : Earth
4646 - 1949 : 29 Jan 1949 10:42:43 - 17 Feb 1950 06:53:25 : Ox : Earth
4647 - 1950 : 17 Feb 1950 06:53:25 - 06 Feb 1951 15:54:11 : Tiger : Metal
4648 - 1951 : 06 Feb 1951 15:54:11 - 27 Jan 1952 06:26:46 : Rabbit : Metal
4649 - 1952 : 27 Jan 1952 06:26:46 - 14 Feb 1953 09:10:42 : Dragon : Water
4650 - 1953 : 14 Feb 1953 09:10:42 - 03 Feb 1954 23:55:52 : Snake : Water
4651 - 1954 : 03 Feb 1954 23:55:52 - 24 Jan 1955 09:07:09 : Horse : Wood
4652 - 1955 : 24 Jan 1955 09:07:09 - 12 Feb 1956 05:38:17 : Sheep : Wood
4653 - 1956 : 12 Feb 1956 05:38:17 - 31 Jan 1957 05:25:13 : Monkey : Fire
4654 - 1957 : 31 Jan 1957 05:25:13 - 20 Jan 1958 06:08:20 : Rooster: Fire
4655 - 1958 : 20 Jan 1958 06:08:20 - 08 Feb 1959 03:22:35 : Dog : Earth
4656 - 1959 : 08 Feb 1959 03:22:35 - 28 Jan 1960 14:15:36 : Pig : Earth
4657 - 1960 : 28 Jan 1960 14:15:36 - 15 Feb 1961 16:10:47 : Rat : Metal
4658 - 1961 : 15 Feb 1961 16:10:47 - 05 Feb 1962 08:10:21 : Ox : Metal
4659 - 1962 : 05 Feb 1962 08:10:21 - 25 Jan 1963 21:42:23 : Tiger : Water
4660 - 1963 : 25 Jan 1963 21:42:23 - 13 Feb 1964 21:01:41 : Rabbit : Water
4661 - 1964 : 13 Feb 1964 21:01:41 - 02 Feb 1965 00:36:06 : Dragon : Wood
4662 - 1965 : 02 Feb 1965 00:36:06 - 21 Jan 1966 23:46:44 : Snake : Wood
4663 - 1966 : 21 Jan 1966 23:46:44 - 09 Feb 1967 18:44:23 : Horse : Fire
4664 - 1967 : 09 Feb 1967 18:44:23 - 30 Jan 1968 00:29:41 : Sheep : Fire
4665 - 1968 : 30 Jan 1968 00:29:41 - 17 Feb 1969 00:25:31 : Monkey : Earth
4666 - 1969 : 17 Feb 1969 00:25:31 - 06 Feb 1970 15:13:17 : Rooster: Earth
4667 - 1970 : 06 Feb 1970 15:13:17 - 27 Jan 1971 06:55:35 : Dog : Metal
4668 - 1971 : 27 Jan 1971 06:55:35 - 15 Feb 1972 08:29:15 : Pig : Metal
4669 - 1972 : 15 Feb 1972 08:29:15 - 03 Feb 1973 17:23:22 : Rat : Water
4670 - 1973 : 03 Feb 1973 17:23:22 - 23 Jan 1974 19:02:29 : Ox : Water
4671 - 1974 : 23 Jan 1974 19:02:29 - 11 Feb 1975 13:17:27 : Tiger : Wood
4672 - 1975 : 11 Feb 1975 13:17:27 - 31 Jan 1976 14:20:43 : Rabbit : Wood
4673 - 1976 : 31 Jan 1976 14:20:43 - 18 Feb 1977 11:37:23 : Dragon : Fire
4674 - 1977 : 18 Feb 1977 11:37:23 - 07 Feb 1978 22:54:28 : Snake : Fire
4675 - 1978 : 07 Feb 1978 22:54:28 - 28 Jan 1979 14:19:59 : Horse : Earth
4676 - 1979 : 28 Jan 1979 14:19:59 - 16 Feb 1980 16:51:20 : Sheep : Earth
4677 - 1980 : 16 Feb 1980 16:51:20 - 05 Feb 1981 06:14:16 : Monkey : Metal
4678 - 1981 : 05 Feb 1981 06:14:16 - 25 Jan 1982 12:56:30 : Rooster: Metal
4679 - 1982 : 25 Jan 1982 12:56:30 - 13 Feb 1983 08:32:24 : Dog : Water
4680 - 1983 : 13 Feb 1983 08:32:24 - 02 Feb 1984 07:47:00 : Pig : Water
4681 - 1984 : 02 Feb 1984 07:47:00 - 21 Jan 1985 10:28:48 : Rat : Wood
4682 - 1985 : 21 Jan 1985 10:28:48 - 09 Feb 1986 08:55:49 : Ox : Wood
4683 - 1986 : 09 Feb 1986 08:55:49 - 29 Jan 1987 21:44:58 : Tiger : Fire
4684 - 1987 : 29 Jan 1987 21:44:58 - 17 Feb 1988 23:54:42 : Rabbit : Fire
4685 - 1988 : 17 Feb 1988 23:54:42 - 06 Feb 1989 15:37:25 : Dragon : Earth
4686 - 1989 : 06 Feb 1989 15:37:25 - 27 Jan 1990 03:20:33 : Snake : Earth
4687 - 1990 : 27 Jan 1990 03:20:33 - 15 Feb 1991 01:32:15 : Horse : Metal
4688 - 1991 : 15 Feb 1991 01:32:15 - 04 Feb 1992 03:00:14 : Sheep : Metal
4689 - 1992 : 04 Feb 1992 03:00:14 - 23 Jan 1993 02:27:27 : Monkey : Water
4690 - 1993 : 23 Jan 1993 02:27:27 - 10 Feb 1994 22:30:27 : Rooster: Water
4691 - 1994 : 10 Feb 1994 22:30:27 - 31 Jan 1995 06:48:13 : Dog : Wood
4692 - 1995 : 31 Jan 1995 06:48:13 - 19 Feb 1996 07:30:36 : Pig : Wood
4693 - 1996 : 19 Feb 1996 07:30:36 - 07 Feb 1997 23:06:42 : Rat : Fire
4694 - 1997 : 07 Feb 1997 23:06:42 - 28 Jan 1998 14:01:19 : Ox : Fire
4695 - 1998 : 28 Jan 1998 14:01:19 - 16 Feb 1999 14:39:12 : Tiger : Earth
4696 - 1999 : 16 Feb 1999 14:39:12 - 05 Feb 2000 21:03:50 : Rabbit : Earth
4697 - 2000 : 05 Feb 2000 21:03:50 - 24 Jan 2001 21:07:26 : Dragon : Metal
4698 - 2001 : 24 Jan 2001 21:07:26 - 12 Feb 2002 15:41:28 : Snake : Metal
4699 - 2002 : 12 Feb 2002 15:41:28 - 01 Feb 2003 18:48:54 : Horse : Water
4700 - 2003 : 01 Feb 2003 18:48:54 - 22 Jan 2004 05:05:21 : Sheep : Water
4701 - 2004 : 22 Jan 2004 05:05:21 - 09 Feb 2005 06:28:28 : Monkey : Wood
4702 - 2005 : 09 Feb 2005 06:28:28 - 29 Jan 2006 22:15:03 : Rooster: Wood
4703 - 2006 : 29 Jan 2006 22:15:03 - 18 Feb 2007 00:14:43 : Dog : Fire
4704 - 2007 : 18 Feb 2007 00:14:43 - 07 Feb 2008 11:45:00 : Pig : Fire
4705 - 2008 : 07 Feb 2008 11:45:00 - 26 Jan 2009 15:55:49 : Rat : Earth
4706 - 2009 : 26 Jan 2009 15:55:49 - 14 Feb 2010 10:51:50 : Ox : Earth
4707 - 2010 : 14 Feb 2010 10:51:50 - 03 Feb 2011 10:31:10 : Tiger : Metal
4708 - 2011 : 03 Feb 2011 10:31:10 - 23 Jan 2012 15:39:43 : Rabbit : Metal
4709 - 2012 : 23 Jan 2012 15:39:43 - 10 Feb 2013 15:20:30 : Dragon : Water
4710 - 2013 : 10 Feb 2013 15:20:30 - 31 Jan 2014 05:38:53 : Snake : Water
4711 - 2014 : 31 Jan 2014 05:38:53 - 20 Jan 2015 21:14:03 : Horse : Wood
4712 - 2015 : 20 Jan 2015 21:14:03 - 08 Feb 2016 22:39:17** : Sheep: Wood
4713 - 2016 : 08 Feb 2016 22:39:17 - 28 Jan 2017 08:07:27 : Monkey : Fire
4714 - 2017 : 28 Jan 2017 08:07:27 - 16 Feb 2018 05:05:38 : Rooster: Fire
4715 - 2018 : 16 Feb 2018 05:05:38 - 05 Feb 2019 05:04:01 : Dog : Earth
4716 - 2019 : 05 Feb 2019 05:04:01 - 25 Jan 2020 05:42:23 : Pig : Earth
4717 - 2020 : 25 Jan 2020 05:42:23 - 12 Feb 2021 03:06:00 : Rat : Metal
4718 - 2021 : 12 Feb 2021 03:06:00 - 01 Feb 2022 13:46:16 : Ox : Metal
4719 - 2022 : 01 Feb 2022 13:46:16 - 22 Jan 2023 04:53:28 : Tiger : Water
4720 - 2023 : 22 Jan 2023 04:53:28 - 10 Feb 2024 06:59:23 : Rabbit : Water
4721 - 2024 : 10 Feb 2024 06:59:23 - 29 Jan 2025 20:36:12 : Dragon : Wood
4722 - 2025 : 29 Jan 2025 20:36:12 - 17 Feb 2026 20:01:23 : Snake : Wood
4723 - 2026 : 17 Feb 2026 20:01:23 - 06 Feb 2027 23:56:23 : Horse : Fire
4724 - 2027 : 06 Feb 2027 23:56:23 - 26 Jan 2028 23:12:46 : Sheep : Fire
4725 - 2028 : 26 Jan 2028 23:12:46 - 13 Feb 2029 18:31:44 : Monkey : Earth
4726 - 2029 : 13 Feb 2029 18:31:44 - 03 Feb 2030 00:07:40 : Rooster: Earth
4727 - 2030 : 03 Feb 2030 00:07:40 - 23 Jan 2031 12:31:05 : Dog : Metal
4728 - 2031 : 23 Jan 2031 12:31:05 - 11 Feb 2032 14:24:18 : Pig : Metal
4729 - 2032 : 11 Feb 2032 14:24:18 - 31 Jan 2033 05:59:55 : Rat : Water
4730 - 2033 : 31 Jan 2033 05:59:55 - 20 Jan 2034 18:01:37 : Ox : Water
4731 - 2034 : 20 Jan 2034 18:01:37 - 08 Feb 2035 16:22:14 : Tiger : Wood
4732 - 2035 : 08 Feb 2035 16:22:14 - 28 Jan 2036 18:17:19 : Rabbit : Wood
4733 - 2036 : 28 Jan 2036 18:17:19 - 15 Feb 2037 12:54:12 : Dragon : Fire
4734 - 2037 : 15 Feb 2037 12:54:12 - 04 Feb 2038 13:52:14 : Snake : Fire
4735 - 2038 : 04 Feb 2038 13:52:14 - 24 Jan 2039 21:36:05 : Horse : Earth
4736 - 2039 : 24 Jan 2039 21:36:05 - 12 Feb 2040 22:24:22 : Sheep : Earth
4737 - 2040 : 12 Feb 2040 22:24:22 - 01 Feb 2041 13:42:48 : Monkey : Metal
4738 - 2041 : 01 Feb 2041 13:42:48 - 22 Jan 2042 04:41:59 : Rooster: Metal
4739 - 2042 : 22 Jan 2042 04:41:59 - 10 Feb 2043 05:07:38 : Dog : Water
4740 - 2043 : 10 Feb 2043 05:07:38 - 30 Jan 2044 12:04:28 : Pig : Water
4741 - 2044 : 30 Jan 2044 12:04:28 - 17 Feb 2045 07:51:06 : Rat : Wood
4742 - 2045 : 17 Feb 2045 07:51:06 - 06 Feb 2046 07:09:40 : Ox : Wood
4743 - 2046 : 06 Feb 2046 07:09:40 - 26 Jan 2047 09:43:39 : Tiger : Fire
4744 - 2047 : 26 Jan 2047 09:43:39 - 14 Feb 2048 08:31:21 : Rabbit : Fire
4745 - 2048 : 14 Feb 2048 08:31:21 - 02 Feb 2049 21:15:36 : Dragon : Earth
4746 - 2049 : 02 Feb 2049 21:15:36 - 23 Jan 2050 12:56:41 : Snake : Earth
4747 - 2050 : 23 Jan 2050 12:56:41 - 11 Feb 2051 14:41:18 : Horse : Metal
4748 - 2051 : 11 Feb 2051 14:41:18 - 01 Feb 2052 02:30:05 : Sheep : Metal
4749 - 2052 : 01 Feb 2052 02:30:05 - 19 Feb 2053 00:31:19 : Monkey : Water
4750 - 2053 : 19 Feb 2053 00:31:19 - 08 Feb 2054 02:13:50 : Rooster: Water
4751 - 2054 : 08 Feb 2054 02:13:50 - 28 Jan 2055 01:39:13 : Dog : Wood
4752 - 2055 : 28 Jan 2055 01:39:13 - 15 Feb 2056 21:59:40 : Pig : Wood
4753 - 2056 : 15 Feb 2056 21:59:40 - 04 Feb 2057 06:10:21 : Rat : Fire
4754 - 2057 : 04 Feb 2057 06:10:21 - 24 Jan 2058 20:14:05 : Ox : Fire
4755 - 2058 : 24 Jan 2058 20:14:05 - 12 Feb 2059 22:27:12 : Tiger : Earth
4756 - 2059 : 12 Feb 2059 22:27:12 - 02 Feb 2060 13:22:26 : Rabbit : Earth
4757 - 2060 : 02 Feb 2060 13:22:26 - 21 Jan 2061 23:16:12 : Dragon : Metal
4758 - 2061 : 21 Jan 2061 23:16:12 - 09 Feb 2062 20:10:38 : Snake : Metal
4759 - 2062 : 09 Feb 2062 20:10:38 - 29 Jan 2063 20:23:09 : Horse : Water
4760 - 2063 : 29 Jan 2063 20:23:09 - 17 Feb 2064 15:02:58 : Sheep : Water
4761 - 2064 : 17 Feb 2064 15:02:58 - 05 Feb 2065 18:02:11 : Monkey : Wood
4762 - 2065 : 05 Feb 2065 18:02:11 - 26 Jan 2066 04:14:09 : Rooster: Wood
4763 - 2066 : 26 Jan 2066 04:14:09 - 14 Feb 2067 05:57:26 : Dog : Fire
4764 - 2067 : 14 Feb 2067 05:57:26 - 03 Feb 2068 21:44:33 : Pig : Fire


** In these years, there are two conjunctions of Sun & Moon in Tropical Aquarius out of which the 2nd one should be taken as the beginning of the year. Based on this, the dates would require revision. (I will do it in my next revision of this article.)

OM TAT SAT

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