Chinese Calendar 2016

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 2015 & 2016

Festival 2015 2016
New Year's Day January 1 - 3, 2015


January 1 - 3, 2016


Spring Festival February 19 to 25 February 8 to 14
Women's Day March 8 - half day March 8 - half day
Qingming Festival

April 4 to 6

April 2 to 4

May Day May 1 - 3, 2015 April 30 - May 2, 2016
Youth Day May 4 - half day May 4 - half day
Children's Day June 1, 2015 June 1, 2016
Dragon Boat Festival June 20 to 22. June 9 to 11
Army Day of the Chinese People's Liberation Army August 1 - half day August 1 - half day
Mid-Autumn Day September 25 to 27. September 15 to 17.
National Day October 1 - 7, 2015 October 1 - 7, 2016

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.