Calendar of Ancient China | Chinese calendar

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Chinese calendars have been used in various forms for a very long time. Today, the common Gregorian calendar (the one used by most of the rest of the world) is used in China for daily business, however the Chinese calendar is still utilized to celebrate traditional Chinese holidays.


Many of the Chinese dynasties of Ancient China created the Chinese calendar. But the present calendar was established in 104 BC, under the administration of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. The Taichu calendar was the name of this timetable. The Chinese calendar still in use today is the same one.

Animal Years

According to the Chinese calendar, each year is given an animal name. An illustration would be the “year of the dragon” in 2012. The years cycle through 12 different species. The cycle repeats itself every twelve years. The Chinese thought that a person’s personality would adopt traits from the animal they were born as, according to the year they were born.

The animals and their meanings are listed below:


Years: 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Charming, cunning, humorous, and devoted personality

Getting along with: monkeys and dragons but not horses


Years: 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Hardworking, serious, patient, and reliable personality

Get along with: roosters and snakes but not sheep


Years: 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

aggressive, bold, ambitious, and fierce personality

Be friendly with: horses and dogs but not with monkeys


Years: 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Popularity, good fortune, kindness, and sensitivity

Compatibility: Sheep, pigs, but not roosters


Years: 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Wise, strong, enthusiastic, and charming personality

Get along with: rats and monkeys but not dogs


Years: 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Smart, envious, analytical, and kind personality

Not with pigs, but with roosters and oxen


Years: 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002

Travel-loving, gorgeous, impatient, and popular personality

Befriend lions and dogs, but stay away from rodents.

(Goat) Sheep

Years: 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003

Creative, modest, compassionate, and insecure personality

Get along with: pigs and bunnies but not oxen.


Years: 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004

Innovative, vivacious, successful, and cunning personality

You should get along with rats and dragons but not tigers.


Years: 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

Honest, orderly, pragmatic, and proud personality

Getting along with: oxen and snakes, but not rabbits


Years: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006

Personality: devoted, upstanding, perceptive, and moody

Not with dragons, but with tigers and horses

(A boar) pig

Years: 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007

Intelligent, truthful, meticulous, and honorable personality

Get along with: sheep and bunnies but not pigs

The Chinese Years’ Legend

A race, according to an old Chinese tale, chose the order of the animals in the calendar. The animals competed in a race across a river, and the outcome of the race defined their place in the cycle. The rat triumphed because it rode on the oxen’s back and leaped off at the finish line to win the race.

Five Elements

Additionally, there is a component for every year. Each year, five elements go through a cycle. They are earth, metal, fire, water, and wood.


The Chinese calendar is still used to determine when the major Chinese festivals are observed. Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, the Boat Dragon Festival, the Night of Sevens, the Ghost Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the Winter Solstice Festival are a few of these celebrations.

Facts about the Chinese Calendar that are Interesting

In the race for the Chinese calendar, the cat was the thirteenth animal. The rat pushed the cat into the water as it attempted to ride on the ox’s back like the rat, thus the cat was denied a spot on the calendar.

Every year, between January 21 and February 21, the Chinese New Year officially begins. The lunar-solar cycle controls it.

The 12 months of the calendar are lunar months, which means that they all start at midnight on the first day of a dark moon.

The calendar has a 60-year cycle when the 12 animals and 5 elements are united.

There are 29 or 30 days in each month. Periodically, a month is added to the year to align the calendar’s length with the solar year.

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