Legends and myths play a huge role in Chinese culture and it is possible that the creation of the Chinese calendar is connected with them as well. The Chinese have every reason to be incredibly proud of such treasures, even if they are viewed as fairytales by modern studies.
There are 3 different types of calendars – solar, lunar and a combination of the two. The solar calendar measures the time it takes for Earth to make a complete a full circle around the sun.
A month in the lunar calendar is the time it takes the Moon to orbit Earth. The lunar year is 11 days shorter than the solar one.
The ancient Chinese calendar is both solar and lunar. The months are noted in accordance with the solar year. The leap month was created so that the months can correspond with the seasons. Chinese people usually refer to their ancient calendar as a “lunar calendar”. It also carries the name “agricultural calendar”.
The 12 animals that appear in the Chinese calendar are said to have been chosen by the Deity. Each one represents its own month in the span of 12 years and then the cycle repeats.
The twelve animals alternate in the following order: rat, bull, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
The Chinese Zodiac contains a doctrine which had been given to the ancient Chinese people, so they could manage their time and life better. Along with this study there is another one which taught the Chinese the secret of understanding human beings and their relationship with the Universe.
The Heavenly Connection
An important aspect of the Chinese calendar is the 60-year cycle. This is a combination of 10 “heavenly pillars” and 12 “earthly branches”.
According to ancient Chinese study in which the five elements – wood, fire, water, metal, and earth – appear as the “building blocks” of the Cosmos and elements of all matter. All matter strides for harmony and balance, and that is why the elements and vital energies must be well-balanced.
Heavenly pillars, elements, earthly branches, and animals
- 甲 Wood 1 子 Rat
- 乙 Wood 2 丑 Bull
- 丙 Fire 3 寅 Tiger
- 丁 Fire 4 卯 Rabbit
- 戊 Earth 5 辰 Dragon
- 己 Earth 6 巳 Snake
- 庚 Metal 7 午 Horse
- 辛 Metal 8 未 Goat
- 壬 Water 9 申 Monkey
- 癸 Water 10 酉 Rooster
- 戌 Dog
- 亥 Pig
The ancient Chinese calendar is a tool, thanks to which people were able to react appropriately to events in nature and the Cosmos for a safer and more successful life.
The combination of the heavenly pillars and earthly branches forms the name of each year. Every single hieroglyph represents a year, and after that the cycle begins once again.
In the Western society ancient Chinese gods were deemed sages. For example, the Taoist God, or sage, passed on this principle: The Universe consists of five elements – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth and those elements are present in all matter in this Universe. Yin-yang (negative-positive) is also present in all matter. And of course, this applies to the human body.
There a several ancient Chinese books which point out the contents of the 5 elements and the balance of yin-yang in every heavenly pillar and earthly branch, as well as the model of their alteration. For example, when a person is born, the contents of the 5 elements and the balance of yin-yang have already been established and it can be calculated.
The modern lunar calendar differs from the ancient one. Today, astrologers draw up matrimonial, financial, and love horoscopes from it.