Chinese Calendar 2023
The traditional Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar based on astronomical observations of the sun's longitude and the moon's phases. The Chinese calendar has 12 or 13 months per year. The date on the Chinese calendar is about 20 to 50 days behind the Gregorian calendar.
2023 is the year of the rabbit with 13 months in the Chinese lunar calendar.
How Does the Chinese Calendar Work
The Chinese calendar is based on both the moon's orbit around the earth and the earth's orbit around the sun.
A new month on the Chinese calendar begins when the moon moves in line with the earth and the sun. The first day of a lunar month is called "Chu Yi".
When the moon is full, it comes to the middle of the month, which is called "Shi Wu". A full moon circle is about 29.5 days. So a lunar month has 29 days or 30 days.
According to the days per lunar month, the Chinese lunar calendar is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year. To keep the Chinese lunar calendar in synch with solar cycles, an extra leap month is added every two or three lunar years.
So the Chinese calendar has 12 or 13 months per year. A common year has 12 months with 354 to 355 days, a leap year has 13 months, and an ordinary year has 383 to 385 days.
Chinese Calendar Years
The Chinese calendar does not count years in numbers. In ancient China, each year is assigned a name consisting of heavenly stems and earthly branches within each 60-year cycle.
The 10 heavenly stems are 甲 (Jia), 乙 (Yi), 丙 (Bing), 丁 (Ding), 戊 (Wu), 己 (Ji), 庚 (Geng), 辛 (Xin), 壬 (Ren), and 癸 (Gui).
The 12 earthly branches are 子 (Zi), 丑 (Chou), 寅 (Yin), 卯 (Mao), 辰 (Chen), 巳 (Si), 午 (Wu), 未 (Wei), 申 (Shen), 酉 (You), 戌 (Xu), and 亥 (Hai).
The heavenly stem and the earthly branch combine to form the year's name. When a new lunar year comes, the heavenly stem and earthly branch both move on to the next one to form the new year’s name.
For example, the year 2023 is 癸卯 (Gui Mao - heavenly stem 10 and earthly branch 4), and the year 2024 is 甲辰 (Jia Chen - heavenly stem 1 and earthly branch 5).
Chinese Calendar 2023
According to the Chinese calendar, 2023 is Gui Mao Year (癸卯年) with the zodiac sign of Rabbit. It is from January 22, 2023, to February 9, 2024, in the Gregorian calendar. The year 2023 has 384 days including a leap month in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Chinese Calendar Year 2023 - 2031
|Year||Chinese Calendar Year||Zodiac Sign||Date in Gregorian Calendar|
|2022||壬寅年 Ren Yin Year||Tiger||Feb. 01, 2022 – Jan. 21, 2023|
|2023||癸卯年 Gui Mao Year||Rabbit||Jan. 22, 2023 – Feb. 09, 2024|
|2024||甲辰年 Jia Chen Year||Dragon||Feb. 10, 2024 – Jan. 29, 2025|
|2025||已巳年 Yi Si Year||Snake||Jan. 29, 2025 – Feb. 16, 2026|
|2026||丙午年 Bing Wu Year||Horse||Feb. 17, 2026 – Feb. 05, 2027|
|2027||丁未年 Ding Wei Year||Goat||Feb. 06, 2027 – Feb. 25, 2028|
|2028||戊申年 Wu Shen Year||Monkey||Jan. 26, 2028 – Feb. 12, 2029|
|2029||己酉年 Ji You Year||Rooster||Feb. 13, 2029 – Feb. 02, 2030|
|2030||庚戌年 Geng Xu Year||Dog||Feb. 03, 2030 – Jan. 22, 2031|
|2031||辛亥年 Xin Hai Year||Pig||Jan. 23, 2031 - Feb. 10, 2032|
Chinese Calendar Months
In the Chinese calendar, the movement of the moon around the earth determines the length of a month. The beginning of a Chinese lunar month is when the new moon (the first phase of the moon) occurs. A Chinese lunar month is a cycle between new moons, which is about 29.5 days. So there are 29 days or 30 days in a Chinese lunar month.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar, there is no specified length of any particular lunar month. The length of a Chinese lunar month may be different from year to year. A particular lunar month could have 29 days in some years and 30 days in other years.
A 29-day month is called a short or a small month in Chinese. A 30-day month is called a long month or a big month.
In Chinese, leap months are written in rùn 闰, which means "intercalary".
The Chinese calendar uses the position of the earth relative to the sun to mark the year. A common year has 12 months which has 353 to 355 days, a leap year has 13 months which has 383 to 385 days.
As we know, the sun comes back to the same place every 365 days. The Chinese lunar calendar is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year.
To keep the Chinese lunar calendar in synch with solar cycles, the Chinese calendar adds an extra month every two or three lunar years, on average an extra month will be added in 7 years over a period of 19 years. The extra month added to the calendar is the leap month.
There is a leap month after the second lunar month in 2023. The lunar leap month in 2023 is from March 22 to April 19.
What Are the Uses of the Chinese Lunar Calendar
China officially used the Gregorian calendar in 1912. However, the lunar calendar still plays an important role in Chinese people's lives. Especially many traditional Chinese festivals are based on the Chinese calendar.
Traditional Chinese Festivals
All traditional Chinese festivals are celebrated according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The dates will vary from year to year in the Gregorian calendar.
For example, the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is the first day of the lunar year, which falls in late January or early February in the Gregorian calendar. The Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month in the Chinese calendar.
24 Solar Terms
The 24 solar terms are twenty-four periods in the Chinese lunar calendar that are based on the sun's position in the zodiac. Each month has two solar terms. Each solar term has about 15 days.
The 24 solar terms were created in ancient China to guide agricultural activities as they reflect the changes in climate and natural phenomena. They play important roles and have a great influence on Chinese people's lives, even today.
Read more on the 24 Solar Terms.
Guide Farming Activities
The Chinese calendar is also known as the Agricultural Calendar as it divides the year into four seasons and 24 solar terms for agriculture. The division has fully considered the variation of natural phenomena. For thousands of years, people use the Chinese calendar to figure out the best times to plant and harvest.
Choose a Good Date for Important Events
The Chinese lunar calendar is also used in astrology and fortune-telling. Chinese people use the lunar calendar to choose a lucky date for important activities such as weddings or moving into a new house.
Count the Years
In the Chinese calendar, heavenly stems and earthly branches are used to name and count years. 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches combine names for the years and repeat every 60 years. Each year is connected to a Chinese zodiac sign which repeats every 12 years.
Chinese Calendar History
The Chinese calendar can be dated back to the Xia Dynasty (21st century BC - 16th century BC). It has existed for more than 4,000 years.
It was developed and improved during the Spring and Autumn period (771–476). For thousands of years, the Chinese calendar plays an important role in people's lives.
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- China Public Holidays 2023 (Gregorian calendar)
- Chinese Lunar New Year 2023
- Year of the Rabbit 2023