In China, the most important day of the year is the first day of the first lunar month, which is the Chinese New Year, and it usually starts at about the same time as the western month of February.
There is a very important term in Chinese culture, which is using the lunar calendar. The calendar that we use in the western world is based on the sun. And the passage of a year is measured by the time it takes the Earth to make a single orbit around the sun, which turns out to be 365 and a quarter days. In some parts of the world you often find two calendars in operation at the same time. Because big business is international and there is a need for as much uniformity as possible, the western sun-based calendar is the world’s” commercial clock”. The traditional calendar used in most Asian cultures is based on the moon. A year is measured by the time it takes the moon to make 12 orbits around the Earth. A single orbit is measured from new moon to new moon and takes 29 and one half days.
The moon-based calendar was developed to meet the needs of a farming society and was used for thousands of years to tell people what had to be done at a particular time in order to have a successful harvest. What you had to do often came as a specific set of instructions sent directly from the gods and timed according to the position of the moon. To this day, much of Asia’s religious and cultural life is based on what is happening with the moon. The Chinese lunar calendar is based on a twelve- year cycle with each year being devoted to a specific animal—The Dragon, the Snake, the Pig. And it’s thought that the animal of the year in which you were born will influence your life.
Chinese New Year falls at the very beginning of spring and involves the Chinese equivalent of spring-cleaning. Everything in the house gets a thorough cleansing. And the scrubbing, sponging, polishing and sweeping not only gets rid of the grease and grime...