Chinese Lunar Calendar: A Trip Through Time

The origins of marking and tracking time in ancient China dates back over 4,000 years. The Chinese Lunar calendar was conceived through ancient observation and exploration of the relationship between the sun, moon, stars, earth, and humans in this vast universe. It is also called the Lunisolar calendar, Yin calendar, Xia calendar or the old Chinese calendar, and is the second most well-known calendar in the world.

The official calendar of China is the Gregorian calendar. The Lunar calendar is largely used for celebrations and more traditional events.


During the Shang Dynasty, four solar terms evolved within the Lunar calendar—Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice—by observing the shadow at midday. By 104 BC, 24 solar terms emerged during the earth’s annual orbit around the sun. They relate to the sun’s position and mark important dates connecting seasons, climate and agriculture.

Between each of the solstices and equinoxes lies the beginning of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Every seventh or eighth day of November marks the start of Winter and the halfway point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. This year, the start of summer will begin on May 6 and end on May 20. This transitional period between seasons gives us an opportunity to prepare the body for the coming seasonal energy. The Lunar calendar can be used together with Qigong practice to embrace healing, balance and harmony.


In the Chinese zodiac, every lunar year is represented by an animal. This cyclical calendar repeats every 12 years: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. These animal signs each have their own distinct personalities based on culture and tradition. Each person is assigned an animal sign along with a corresponding element sign (Earth, Water, Fire, Metal, Wood) according to the month and year of their birth.

In 2024, we are celebrating the Year of the Wood Dragon. The celebration begins February 10, 2024. The Dragon is a powerful and auspicious creature who flies through the air and settles in the sea. Dragons are a symbol of extraordinary luck and good fortune.

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Use this wisdom to connect with the invisible power of Nature. Lighten up on your foods, find peaceful moments in each day, and stand in this powerful posture.