Chinese Calendar 2014

Chinese calendar is infamous. There are not many people out there that haven't at least heard of it before. It carries with it an aura of mystic. Some people even refer to the Chinese calendar in almost reverent, hushed tones. So what exactly is the deal when it comes to this time keeping device?

What Makes it Different:

The Chinese calendar is different from what is often referred to as the Gregorian or Western calendar. This is the calendar that you are probably most familiar with. Sometimes it is even referred to as the traditional calendar.

This phrase is misleading since the Chinese calendar is actually older and more traditional in its culture than the solar calendaris now widely used. The Chinese calendar keeps track of time using a lunisolar system. This method utilizes the orbit of the moon as well as the orbit of the sun to keep track of time.

Chinese Calendar 2013

1 Jan New Year's Day 12 Jun Dragon Boat Festival
2 Jan New Year's weekend 1 Jul CPC Founding Day
3 Jan New Year's weekend 11 Jul Maritime Day
9 Feb Spring Festival Golden Week holiday 1 Aug Army Day
10 Feb Chinese New Year 13 Aug Double Seven Festival
11 Feb Spring Festival Golden Week holiday 21 Aug Spirit Festival
12 Feb Spring Festival Golden Week holiday 10 Sep Teachers' Day
13 Feb Spring Festival Golden Week holiday 19 Sep Mid-Autumn Festival
14 Feb Spring Festival Golden Week holiday 1 Oct National Day
15 Feb Spring Festival Golden Week holiday 2 Oct National Day Golden Week holiday
24 Feb Lantern Festival 3 Oct National Day Golden Week holiday
8 Mar International Women's Day 4 Oct National Day Golden Week holiday
12 Mar Arbor Day 5 Oct National Day Golden Week holiday
13 Mar Zhonghe Festival 6 Oct National Day Golden Week holiday
4 Apr Qing Ming Jie 7 Oct National Day Golden Week holiday
1 May Labor Day / May Day 13 Oct Double Ninth Festival
4 May Youth Day 8 Nov Journalists' Day
1 Jun Children's Day    


This calendar is also referred to as:

  • the agricultural calendar
  • the Yin calendar
  • the old calendar
  • the Xia calendar

Since this calendar is partly based on the cycles of the moon, it has great need to be adjusted periodically. As the moon orbits around the earth, the earth is moving around the sun simultaneously. The end result of both bodies moving is that the moon moves at a variable rate. This means that there is great need for a Leap Year. In a calendar that uses the sun as its basis, every four years one day must be added to make things stay precise. In a lunar calendar, when Leap Year happens, an entire month must be added to keep things aligned properly.

How it is Used:

In China today, the Gregorian calendar is the standard calendar, but the Chinese calendar is still used to determine the day of the Chinese New Year, the Duan Wu festival, and the Mid-Autumn festival. This ancient calendar also helps people to determine the best day to get married or even to open a business. Astrology has even picked up using this particular calendar to help make predictions. This adds to the mystery behind this calendar.

Names of the Years:

This calendar utilizes a system which cycles around every 12 years. The names of animals are used to label the years, and the same 12 animals are continuously cycled.

The animals that are used are:

  • the tiger
  • the rabbit
  • the dragon
  • the snake
  • the horse
  • the ram
  • the monkey
  • the rooster
  • the dog
  • the pig
  • the rat
  • the ox

The custom of the people says that the people that are born in the year of a specific animal have the characteristics of that animal. Usually the positive characteristics are focused on rather than the negative ones. In China the Zodiac signs are even labeled according to the names of these animals. When it comes right down to it, the Chinese calendar is not all that mysterious. It simply looks at keep track of time in a different way.


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