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Chinese New Year

Calendar Background

The Chinese calendar’s origins can be traced as far back as the 14th century BCE. The Shang oracle bones give evidence of a lunisolar calendar which has been much modified but persists to this day. It is believed that the Emperor Huangdi (Huang Ti or Huang Di) introduced the calendar between 3000 and 2600 BCE, or around 2637 BCE. It is also thought that his minister Ta Nao prepared the first calendar, called the Chia-tzu or Kan-chih system, which is translated as “the system of cyclical characters”.

Another phase was added to the calendar because the system was meant to be for popular use. Twelve animals were associated with each year during the Chou period. These 12 animals were commonly called the 12 zodiac animals in western society. They were believed to be merely popular symbols and did not have any great significance. However there have been various folktales linked the origin of the 12 animals.

China resisted the Gregorian calendar until 1912 but it was not widely used throughout the country until the Communist victory in 1949. This widespread change occurred on October 1, 1949, when Mao Zedong, who led the People’s Republic of China, ordered that the year should be in accord with the Gregorian calendar.

Click on the images below for some interesting newsletter articles and activity ideas to celebrate this exciting event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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