Saturday, February 04, 2006

Re-orient yourself - Happy New Year!

Nope - not a month late - it is actually the Chinese New Year. The old Chinese calendar is a Lunar (moon)-based calendar. So they celebrate new year based on the new moon. New Years Day was this last Sunday.

The lunar calendar is not 365 days long though. So they get "off" if they don't do something fancy. What they do is to add a month once in a while. Sounds like our leap year doesn't it? We have a solar calendar so it makes sense to add a day (the day IS a solar cycle). They have a lunar calendar so it makes sense to add a month (one cycle of the moon).

Unfortunately, I don't know the math of their leap years - I heard about it from a native chinese woman who I was not very good at understanding. There is a fairly clear description here from someone who seems to have spent some time getting it all straight in his head. But it is a bit much for my weekend-head to wrap around and so he loses me in terms like intercalation.

By the way it is the year 4704 - and a year of the Dog in this calendar !!

Sorry for the oriental jump - a non-linear jump out of the regular flow here. I hope no one minds too much.

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