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The following article was published in our article directory on August 28, 2010.
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The Chinese Zodiac and the Chinese Astrology Calendar

Article Category: Culture

Author Name: James Tien

The solar and lunar calendars are both incorporated in the Chinese astrology calendar. However it is best to remember that it is not only China that uses this calendar but many Asian cultures. The western Gregorian calendar is the one that people in Asia use every day but the Chinese one is still used for many things.

There are a number of names that the Chinese astrology calendar is known by. The Yin calendar is one of the names and this will relate to the fact that there are lunar elements in the calendar. Another name would be the Xia calendar. This name is used because during the Xia dynasty it was known that the year started on the second new moon.

The way this calendar works is dictated by a number of rules. In fact all of these rules have been around and used since 104 BCE. One of these rules is that all the months in the year are lunar months so they will start on a dark moon. Additionally there are to be 12 months in each year with the exception of the intercalary month that comes about ever two or three years. In the 11th month the sun will have to pass the winter solstice.

Many people believe that this calendar has a 12 year cycle but this is not the case. In fact the complete cycle is 60 years of five 12 year cycles. The 12 years in the cycle are named after the Chinese zodiac animals. Legend dictates that this comes from when Lord Buddha summoned the animals to say goodbye when he left the Earth. Of all the animals only 12 came and they were rewarded with having years named after them. The sequence of the years relates to the order they appeared before him.

In the 60 year cycle there are actually two cycles which are working together. The first cycle is that of the 10 heavenly stems. These are in fact the 5 elements in their yin and yang form. The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water and will appear in that order.

The zodiac cycle is the second one that makes up the 60 year cycle. The 12 animals used for this cycle are the rat, tiger, ox, snake, dragon, rabbit, horse, monkey, boar, dog and rooster. However the Vietnamese substitute the rabbit with the cat.

The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are only a part of what makes the Chinese astrology calendar. There is a complex weaving of many other elements as well.

About the Author: James Tien is a Chinese culture writer. He recommends Absolutely Feng Shui for more information on Yin Yang Meaning and Feng Shui history.

Keywords: chinese astrology calendar

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