How the Chinese Lunar Calendarance

Observations as the basis of the calendar

The history of the Chinese lunar calendar begins as early as the second millennium BC. Back then, Chinese scientists found that the Moon had some influence on the Earth and its inhabitants. This influence, scientists have proved, causes tides and ebbs in rivers and oceans, alters people’s well-being. They noticed some cyclicity of processes and tried to fix it on the basis of observations.

In China, the calendar was considered a sacred document, and at the time it enjoyed the patronage of all the ruling emperors.

Of course, the first calendars in the usual sense can only be called conventionally. The first prototypes were made in the form of intersecting circles and overlaid sheets of rice paper, where the bottom layer was complemented by the upper layer, marking the new phase of the moon.

The kind of successive dates the calendar took during the transition of the second millennium to the first BC. It finally formed in the era of the Han dynasty – from the 2nd millennium BC to the 2nd millennium CE At this time, Chinese scholars reliably calculated that the year contains 365 and a quarter days. Moreover, they defined the beginning and end of the day, as well as connecting them in time intervals similar to modern weeks and months.

Device of the Chinese calendar

The history of the Chinese lunar calendar suggests that it consisted of lunar days, that is, the time running from sunrise to moonset, excluding one lunar day in a new moon.

The beginning of the month in the Chinese calendar falls on the new moon, and the middle of the month corresponds to the full moon.

According to the lunar calendar, there were twelve months per year, but unlike modern ones, they had no name but only numbering in order. According to the lunar calendar, the year is not divided into an equal number of months, and the number of days in it was 354. The number of days of the solar year was 365, so subsequently for several years to the calendar year were added by day, so that eventually the 13th month appeared and the lunar calendar corresponded to would be sunny.

Often, the Lunar Calendar was used to select and plan certain sacred or iconic dates.

In the process of becoming the Chinese calendar became one of the main embodiments of the fundamental idea of unity of the basic elements: Heaven, Earth, Man. Since 1911 – after the overthrow in China of the monarchy – the European chronicle began, which was conducted according to the Gregorian calendar. But the ancient Chinese calendar until today is present in the lives of the Chinese. Even a holiday like the New Year is celebrated on the lunar calendar. It falls from 21 January to 19 February in Gregorian translation.

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