The first thing to know about Chinese Lunar Calendar

The Chinese calendar combines lunar and solar system together. Most of people think that YEAR and DAY cycle use solar system and MONTH cycle uses lunar system.  Actually, DAY uses Stem-Branch 60-day cycle system. And the name of the MONTH uses solar system. The Chinese solar months are not like those months in the modern calendar. The Chinese calendar divides the year into 24 solar segments by the Sun positions on the tropical zodiac. It's similar with western Astrology. Each segment has its name for ancient farmers use. It's much easier to understand the whole picture by studying the following chart.

Solar Segment


Sun Longitude

Month Name

Start of Spring 315 1 - Tiger
Rain Water Pisces 330
Excited Insects 345 2 - Rabbit
Vernal Equinox Aries 0
Clear and Bright 15 3 - Dragon
Grain Rains Taurus 30
Start of Summer 45 4 - Snake
Grain Fills Gemini 60
Grain in Ear 75 5 - Horse
Summer solstice Cancer 90
Slight Heat 105 6 - Sheep
Great Heat Leo 120
Start of Autumn 135 7 - Monkey
Still Hot Virgo 150
White Dew 165 8 - Chicken
Autumnal Equinox Libra 180
Cold Dew 195 9 - Dog
Frost Descends Scorpio 210
Start of Winter 225 10 - Pig
Light Snow Sagittarius 240
Heavy Snow 255 11 - Rat
Winter Solstice Capricorn 270
Little Cold 285 12 - Cow
Severe Cold Aquarius 300

The solar months are divided by the sun longitudes. The first month, tiger month, begins from "Start of Spring" Segment or When the sun enters 315 degree on the tropical zodiac. The second month, rabbit month, begins from "Excited Insects" Segment or When sun enter 345 degree on the tropical zodiac. The beginning of a solar month is called Segment Point. In the middle of a solar month is called Center Point. For example, the segment of "Rain Water" and "Vernal Equinox" are Center Points. The astrology name of "Pisces" and "Aries" are Center Points.

The new moon day is the first day of a lunar month. The length of a lunar month is the length between two new moon days. The name of a lunar name is named by the Solar Center Point. For example, If a lunar month contains the "Rain Water" Center Point is the first month of lunar calendar,  as known as tiger month.

If a lunar month does not contain any Solar Center Point, we assign that month as a Leap Month. The name of the leap month is named as previous lunar month. The reason to assign a leap month is that we want the Moon cycle to match up the Sun cycle.

The book and software of the Chinese Fortune-Telling Calendar follow these three rules which ancient Chinese made it thousand years ago.

Most of people confuse about the solar months with lunar months. They think all Chinese Fortune-Telling system are using lunar months. Actually, the Fortune-Telling system called Eight (8) Characters only uses the solar month. The other popular system called Dipper uses solar month and lunar month together.

There is one explanation dialog of the Chinese lunar calendar in the software of the Chinese Fortune-Telling Calendar. That's a great tool to verify the accuracy of a Chinese Lunar calendar for any time zone or any longitude in the world.