TN 31 (08-05)

GN 00307.416 Calendars Used in China

A. Introduction

Although the Gregorian calendar is now used in the PRC, it is important to know of the various calendars used in the past. Older documents or claimants may refer to dates using these designations.

B. Kinds of Calendars

1. Chinese Lunar Year

Under this calendar, the year begins on any date between January 20 and February 20 of the Gregorian year. It has 12-month years (354 or 355 days) and 13-month years (383 to 385 days). It is adjusted to the solar calendar over a 60-year cycle by adding an extra month 22 times.

Prior to 1911, years were numbered according to the years of an emperor's reign. (For example, KS 32-3-15 is the 32nd year of the reign of the Emperor Kwong Sui, or April 8, 1906). In 1911, the year designation was changed to that of the Chinese Republic (CR) but the same principle was used.

2. Gregorian Calendar

Upon establishment of the Chinese Republic (1911- 1912), the Chinese Government adopted a modified Gregorian calendar. Months were still numbered but corresponded to the Gregorian months. However, this was solely a government practice. The rural population continued to number months, days and years as it had in the past by the lunar calendar.

Since 1950, the Gregorian calendar has been used for both official and unofficial purposes.

3. Symbolic Cycle of the Lunar Calendar

Twelve animals make up the symbolic cycle of the Chinese lunar calendar. The series repeats itself in the same order indefinitely. The cycle for years 1912-1926 is:

CR 6


Year of the Serpent

CR 7


Year of the Horse

CR 8


Year of the Ram

CR 9


Year of the Monkey

CR 10


Year of the Rooster

CR 11


Year of the Dog

CR 12


Year of the Boar

CR 13


Year of the Rat

CR 14


Year of the Ox

CR 15


Year of the Tiger

CR 16


Year of the Hare

CR 17


Year of the Dragon

CR 18


Year of the Serpent

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GN 00307.416 - Calendars Used in China - 08/26/2005
Batch run: 01/27/2009