The Chinese Farmer’s Calendar
Modern-day China uses the Gregorian calendar, which the calendar we know and use – you know, January through to December. However, it is the traditional Chinese lunar calendar – or, the Farmer’s Calendar – which governs holidays, festivals and enables people to pick auspicious days for weddings, funerals, or any other important events in life.
How is the Chinese lunar calendar different?
The lunar calendar day is from midnight to midnight, and the first day of a new month begins on the new moon. Traditionally, a new year begins on the second new moon after winter solstice – however here in the southern hemisphere, it is the second new moon after summer solstice. This is the reason why Chinese New Year is not on the same date year after year!
The Farmer’s Calendar recognises 24 different seasons, as opposed to our 4 in the Gregorian calendar. Often they are given apt names, such as the Ice Month (dead of winter) or the Plum Rains Season (end of Spring), or there may be a month of festivals, such as the Ghost Month, which runs from August 19 – September 16 in 2020. In any case, the seasons run according to nature, which is important in Chinese medicine as it is difficult to maintain health if you do not live with respect to your environment.
How can we use the Farmer’s calendar to our health advantage?
In Chinese medicine, the Farmer’s calendar can help inform and form part of the basis of a treatment plan. For example, in 2020, autumn will begin on the 4th February according to the lunar calendar. So, in my book this is when I start preparing myself and my family for autumn colds and sniffles. For most people this is still the heat of summer, especially here in Perth…but this is actually the perfect time for immunity preparation! Also, the height of summer is when we begin preparing for winter diseases, think asthma or persistent lung problems.
How can we see this practically here in Perth?
You will be amazed at how our seasons and environment are not well represented by the Gregorian calendar! For example, it rained here in Perth on Wednesday 23rd October 2019 – everyone was a bit surprised! Not me – The Grain Rain season starts the 24th October, and mostly, each year, it rains on this day of the calendar (remember the date changes each year). You might notice it is out a day? I find here in Perth, Western Australia, that we are a day early for the Farmer’s Calendar.
Click here for a copy of the 2020 Farmer’s Almanac, complete with diet and lifestyle tips.