Chinese calendar

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The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. It is not exclusive to China, but followed by many other Asian cultures. It is often referred to as the Chinese calendar because it was first perfected by the Chinese around 500 BCE.[1] In most of East Asia today, the Gregorian calendar is used for day-to-day activities, but the Chinese calendar is still used for marking traditional East Asian holidays such as the Chinese New Year (the Spring Festival (春節)), the Duan Wu festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival, and in astrology, such as choosing the most auspicious date for a wedding or the opening of a building. Because each month follows one cycle of the moon, it is also used to determine the phases of the moon.

In China, the traditional calendar is often referred to as "the Xia Calendar" (traditional Chinese: 夏曆; simplified Chinese: 夏历; pinyin: xiàlì), following a comment in the Shiji which states that under the Xia Dynasty, the year began on the second new moon after the winter solstice. (At times under some other dynasties in ancient China, the year might begin on the first or third new moon after the winter solstice.) It is also known as the "agricultural calendar" (traditional Chinese: 農曆; simplified Chinese: 农历; pinyin: nónglì) while the Gregorian calendar is known as the "common calendar" (traditional Chinese: 公曆; simplified Chinese: 公历; pinyin: gōnglì). Another name for the Chinese calendar is the "Yin Calendar" (traditional Chinese: 陰曆; simplified Chinese: 阴历; pinyin: yīnlì) in reference to the lunar aspect of the calendar, whereas the Gregorian calendar is the "Yang Calendar" (traditional Chinese: 陽曆; simplified Chinese: 阳历; pinyin: yánglì) in reference to its solar properties. The Chinese calendar was also called the "old calendar" (traditional Chinese: 舊曆; simplified Chinese: 旧历; pinyin: jiùlì) after the "new calendar" (traditional Chinese: 新曆; simplified Chinese: 新历; pinyin: xīnlì), i.e., the Gregorian calendar, was adopted as the official calendar. Since the time of Emperor Wu of Han, starting the new year on the second new moon after the winter solstice has been the norm for more than two thousand years.

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