Chinese Calendar Signs in Astrology

The calendar and coins of Chinese astrology.
The calendar and coins of Chinese astrology.

Extremely important to many Chinese people the world over, this calendar is often used to choose the most auspicious time for a wedding, an opening of a business, or a similar event of equal importance. The Chinese calendar astrology is a fascinating way to divine the future.

About Chinese Calendar Astrology

The first thing needed to understand Chinese calendar astrology is the fact that it's based on both the solar and lunar calendars. This makes the Chinese calendar unique; a lunisolar calendar.

Intersection of Astrology and Culture

In fact, the Chinese calendar intersects important cultural events with astrology. For example, some of these traditional holidays include:

  • The Lunar New Year: The western world celebrates the New Year on December 31st, and it's just a one day event. Not so with the Chinese calendar. Their New Year is a massive celebration that takes place over the course of five days, and it is with the New Year that we truly see the intersection of time (the calendar) and astrology.

Most of us know that each Chinese New Year is said to be the year of a certain animal (chosen from their list of zodiac animals; a cyclic event). In addition, each animal is assigned an element. For example, 2008 is the year of the Earth Rat. Of course, it will be a different element and a different sign for each progressive year.

  • Duanwu Festival: This traditional Chinese festival is held on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese calendar. It's also known as the Dragon Boat Festival. Again, from this holiday; we are able to see a clear intersection of Chinese astrology (the dragon) and culture (the Duanwu Festival).
  • The Mid-Autumn Festival: Celebrating the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, the mid-Autumn festival parallels the Autumnal Equinox in the solar calendar. Even in western astrology, the Autumnal Equinox, as well as the Winter Solstice, has significant divining undertones.

The Rising Signs

Similar to western astrology which ascribes a rising sign to the hour of birth, is the Chinese rising sign. Before we delve into that, let's talk a little bit about the elements.

In western astrology, there are only four elements, but in Chinese astrology, there are five. How can you discern which element you are? It's easy. People born in years ending zero or one are said to be metal; for those born in years ending in a two or three, they're water. If you were born in a year ending in four or five, then you're considered wood, and still, those born in a year ending in six or seven are fire. Finally, those born in a year ending in eight or nine are earth.

Now that you're able to tell which element is associated with your year, we'll move on to the Chinese rising signs. Note that, while this is an accurate table, the times change depending on the seasons. Additionally, and for ease, the table is done in military time.

Chinese Rising Signs
Hour Corresponding Rising Sign
23:00-01:00 Rat
01:00-03:00 Ox
03:00-05:00 Tiger
05:00-07:00 Rabbit
07:00-09:00 Dragon
09:00-11:00 Snake
11:00-13:00 Horse
13:00-15:00 Sheep
15:00-17:00 Monkey
17:00-19:00 Rooster
19:00-21:00 Dog
21:00-23:00 Boar

Practical Applications

Many think of astrology, whether it's eastern or western methods, as a fun way to pass the time. While this is true, both methods indicate ways in which a culture views time; there are real world consequences.

Astrology in general can tell us a lot about a culture, and by extension, how different peoples see the world. For example, both the Chinese and Islamists have a lunar calendar. Western astrology obviously has a solar calendar. As such, we tend to revere the sun (it gives us our life force), but sometimes shun the night, by saying that it's scary or "dark".

For us, the moon is mystical, mysterious and hidden. It would be interesting to find out how others view the night. Are there any cultural reverberations from this difference in calendars? The point here is that the Chinese calendar astrology does have an impact. It's just one that needs to be investigated!

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Chinese Calendar Signs in Astrology