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Culture Notes:The Chinese lunar calendar

How is the date of Chinese New Year set? Dr Li discusses the Chinese lunar calendar in this article.

As you might be aware, the date of Chinese New Year is set according to the lunar calendar, “农历”, so if you pay some attention, you will easily notice that in the solar calendar, the date of Chinese New Year differs from year to year.

Now, let’s have a look at some Chinese lunar festivals. 春节, Spring Festival is definitely the most important festival in China. It is celebrated from the first day to the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. And during the Lantern Festival, 元宵节, we appreciate beautiful lanterns and eat sweet rice dumplings, Tangyuan in Chinese. This falls on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Then comes to the Dragon Boat Festival, 端午节, which takes place on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. It is a special festival for Chinse people who drive out evil spirits by hanging Asiatic wormwood in front of their doors. And also, during this festival, people have a dragon boat competition and eating rice dumplings which are different from the dumplings eaten on the Lantern Festival. Chinese people call them Zongzi. Then there is the mid-autumn Festival, 中秋节, which falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. It is an important festival celebrated through family reunion. On that day, the moon is at its fullest and brightest. The Chinese appreciate the full moon and eat moon cakes together.

The Chinese lunar calendar 农历 nóng lì.

Spring Festival 春节 Chūnjié
农历正月初一 nónglì zhēngyuè chūyī

The Lantern festival 元宵节 Yuánxiāojié
农历正月十五 nónglì zhēngyuè shíwǔ

The Dragon Boat Festival 端午节 Duānwǔjié
农历五月初五 nónglì wǔyuè chūwǔ

Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 Zhōngqiūjié
农历八月十五 nónglì bāyuè shíwǔ

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