The Chinese Calendar
Lunar Calendar Vs Solar Calendar
Chinese New Year is celebrated the world over but the date of the Chinese New Year causes much confusion, particularly when trying to determine the zodiac animal for the year in which someone was born.
It is therefore important to understand the major difference between the Chinese New Year celebrated with festivals, fireworks and Lion Dances which is based on the Lunar Calendar, and the calendar that is used in Feng Shui and for constructing Chinese astrology charts, which is in fact, the Solar calendar.
The Lunar Calendar
Chinese New Year festivities are based on the Lunar calendar which is the time it takes for the moon to orbit the Earth. Because it takes approximately 27.3 days for the moon to do this, there are just over 12.3 lunar months in a year, not the fixed twelve months that we use day to day. For example, we may be in the 7th month of July, but according the the lunar calendar, it is actually month number 8.
Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice and as you have seen, because the moon phases do not follow our standard twelve month cycle, this date is flexible. Occassionally, an intercalary or "Leap Month" is inserted to bring the calendar in line with the seasons and is particularly important when using Zi Wei Dou Shu Purple Emperor astrology. However, Chinese New Year festivities will always fall somewhere between January 21st and February 21st.
Feng Shui and Chinese Astrology Calendar
When using Feng Shui and calculating a Four Pillars of Destiny or Ba Zi Chinese astrology chart, the Solar calendar is used, which is based upon the length of time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun. A solar "New Year" begins on or around the 4th February when the Sun reaches 15 degrees of Aquarius. It is when the Winter season and the old year ends, and Spring and the new year officially starts.
This is the point at which the energy of the Earth changes and we enter a new Chinese astrology zodiac animal. It is also when changes occur in our environment and personal life as the new zodiac animal affects the Feng Shui of our homes and businesses, as well as positevly or negatively affecting our Chinese astrology horoscopes.
Practically, this means that anyone born between 1st January and approximately 4th February was born in the "old" solar year and should use the previous year's Chinese astrology animal, whilst someone actually born on the 4th February would need to check to see exactly what time on that date the new year actually began. If you are in doubt about your Animal Sign, input your birth details into our Chinese Astrology Calculator and include your time of birth.