Chinese Lunar Calendar


A calendar is a system of arranging days according to astronomical events for regulating everyday life. The traditional Chinese calendar is known as the Lunar Calendar or Yinli, Nongli, Which is based on the cycle of the moon, which determines that each month is approximately 29½ days long, beginning with a new moon.

Lunar calendars (Yinli) are based on the moon’s orbit around the Earth. Solar calendars (Yangli) are another category of calendars that are based on the positions of the Sun through the seasons.

The Chinese Calendar integrates a lunar-solar calendar (Yin Yang Li) nowadays, as it embraces the movement of the moon as well as that of the Sun. It’s used to determine the dates of traditional Chinese festivals, like the Chinese lunar new Year and Mid-Autumn, and also used for Chinese zodiac astrology. Most Chinese still celebrate traditional festivals based on the lunar calendar nowadays.

Lunar Month

Approximately every three years (7 times in 19 years), a leap month is added to the Chinese calendar because the solar year is slightly longer than 12 lunar months. The difference accumulates to give a leap month.

MonthChinese Lunar MonthMonthChinese Lunar Month
1一月 / 正月 (Yi Yue / Zheng Yue)2二月 (Er Yue)
3三月 (San Yue)4四月 (Si Yue)
5五月 (Wu Yue)6六月 (Liu Yue)
7七月 (Qi Yue)8八月 (Ba Yue)
9九月 (Jiu Yue)10十月 (Shi Yue)
11十一月 / 冬月 (Shi Yi Yue / Dong Yue)12十二月 / 腊月 (Shi Er Yue / La Yue)

Zodiac Animals

The years progress in cycles of 12 and each year is represented by an animal and the characteristics of each animal and its way of life are used to identify different types of people. These 12 animals are :

Rat 🐀Ox 🐂
Tiger 🐅Rabbit 🐇
Dragon 🐲Snake 🐍
Horse 🐎Goat 🐐
Monkey 🐒Rooster 🐔
Dog 🐕Pig 🐖

Lunar Day

Chinese calendar uses regular two characters.

Days 1 to 10 of a month are written with the characters 初 (CHU, which means ‘beginning’ or ‘first’). For example, the 3rd of the month is 初三( CHU SAN).

Days 11 to 20 are written as regular two-character Chinese numerals, with the character 十(SHI, which means ‘10’). For example, 十二 (SHI ER) is the 12th day of the month.

Days 21 to 29 are written with the character 廿 (ER, which means ‘20’). For example, 廿一 (ER SHI YI) is the 21st day of the month.

For all please follow the below table:

DayChinese Lunar DayDescriptionDayChinese Lunar DayDescription
1初一 (Chu Yi)the 1st day of a month2初二 (Chu Er)the 2nd day of a month
3初三 (Chu San)the 3rd day of a month4初四 (Chu Si)the 4th day of a month
5初五 (Chu Wu)the 5th day of a month6初六 (Chu Liu)the 6th day of a month
7初七 (Chu Qi)the 7th day of a month8初八 (Chu Ba)the 8th day of a month
9初九 (Chu Jiu)the 9th day of a month10初十 (Chu Shi)the 10th day of a month
11十一 (Shi Yi)the 11st day of a month12十二 (Shi Er)the 12nd day of a month
13十三 (Shi San)the 13rd day of a month14十四 (Shi Si)the 14th day of a month
15十五 (Shi Wu)the 15th day of a month16十六 (Shi Liu)the 16th day of a month
17十七 (Shi Qi)the 17th day of a month18十八 (Shi Ba)the 18th day of a month
19十九 (Shi Jiu)the 19th day of a month20二十 (Er Shi)the 20th day of a month
21廿一 (Er Shi Yi)the 21st day of a month22廿二 (Er Shi Er)the 22nd day of a month
23廿三 (Er Shi San)the 23rd day of a month24廿四 (Er Shi Si)the 24th day of a month
25廿五 (Er Shi Wu)the 25th day of a month26廿六 (Er Shi Liu)the 26th day of a month
27廿七 (Er Shi Qi)the 27th day of a month28廿八 (Er Shi Ba)the 28th day of a month
29廿九 (Er Shi Jiu)the 29th day of a month30三十 (San Shi)the 30th day of a month
31三十一 (San Shi Yi)the 31st day of a month


Let’s check Chinese Lunar day for your favorite date with the following converter:

Western to Chinese Calendar Converter
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