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have a unique and ancient way of measuring time. Their calendar is
as old as their writing system. They began recording time as soon
as they could write, and they recorded time using a sun and moon model
that takes into account
the orbits of both of these heavenly bodies. The Chinese year has
354 days and 12 months that align perfectly with the cycle of the moon.
Roughly half of the months have 30 days, while the rest have 29 days.
Because the earth takes more than 354 days to complete its orbit
around the sun (about 365.25 days), the Chinese year doesn't perfectly
equal the earth's cycle. To make up for this loss, every two to three
years an extra month is added to the year.
calendar is rooted in Chinese astrology and philosophy. It draws
upon Lao Tzu and Confucius, two religious founders (of Taoism and Confusism,
respectively) who greatly influenced Chinese calendars through their thinking.
Chinese astrology has twelve signs, each corresponding to a single year.
An ancient legend tells that the Buddha once called out to all the animals
of the world to come take their place in the zodiac calendar.
The Boar, the
Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the
Ram, the Monkey, the Rooster, and the Dog all came for their place.
Buddha assigned a year to each of them. Every person is born
in the year of one of the 12 zodiac animals. The belief is that you
of the zodiac animal from the year in which you were born.
celebration on the Chinese calendar is the Chinese New Year, called Nian.
This is different from the Western new year because it is based upon the
Moon instead of the Sun. Nian takes place on a different day every
year, between January 1 and February 19. The huge celebration lasts
about 15 days. The Chinese also have a different way of measuring
years, which began with a former Chinese emporer.
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