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Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Hope the Ox year will bring you and your family a abundance of health and joy.

I just want to share a little on the Chinese calendar in this post to explain why the Chinese new year is always around Jan-Feb while Hari Raya always comes forward by two weeks on on the Gregorian Calendar even though they are both lunar calendars.

Now, strictly speaking the Chinese calendar is based on both lunar and solar movements. In a lunar calendar, a month is 29 days or 30 days, which is less than a sonar month. In the traditional Islamic calendar, a year is always 12 months so an Islamic year is shorter than a sonar year and the difference accumulates year by year.

In the Chinese calendar, a year may be 12 months or 13 months - a leap month is added when the difference becomes too large. There are approximately 7 leap months in every 19 years, or once every 2, 3 years.

The Chinese calendar is constructed so that the sense of timing of the year is in sync with agriculture cycle, which shows the importance of the sector, sense of balance and harmony was to ancient Chinese.

For interested readers, you can refer to this paper written by Dr Helmen Aslaksen, previously from NUS. I once attended a talk by him talking about the differences between the major calendars of the world and it was insightful.

Cheerios! Chee Wee

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