Thursday, 07 February 2008

Happy New Year again, Again!


I managed to bugger up the New Year’s date last month. The eastern New Year actually starts in February, not January. Idiot! When I find the person who caused me to make this mistake there will be hell to play.

I’m sure you will not mind ignoring this tiny mistake and with that behind us, I would like to announce the start of the year of the Rat.

The New Year referred to in this post is that of the Chinese calendar. I prefer to call it the Eastern calendar, because china was not the only country using it. The Eastern calendar is a Lunisolar calendar with a sixty year cycle. It consists of two separate cycles interacting with each other.

The first cycle refers to the five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) and their Yin and yang parts. That gives Ten Heavenly Stems.

The second cycle, better known in the West as the Chinese Zodiac, is the cycle of the twelve Zodiac animals, also known as the Earthly Branches. These animals are the Rat (Mouse), Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep (Ram or Goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar.

Based on this, every year get named according to its animal. I have only every heard people refer to is without the Ten Heavenly Stems and even then out of interest. Look at it as how people in the West tend to know their star signs. Some people take is seriously, but for the most part people see it as noting more than entertainment.

It seems that people in the modern world use the Western Gregorian calendar for every day life and the Eastern calendar only for the calculation of festival dates and for astrological purposes.

Something that I fond interesting is that Koreans are all telling me that you Korean (Eastern) Age is calculated using the Gregorian start of the year and not the Eastern.

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