Bebe Taian: The Lunar Calendar, with Regards to China

June 1, 2011

The Lunar Calendar, with Regards to China

Today, Japan uses the Western-enforced Gregorian calendar. Of course, most places do these days, in order to keep step with the Euro-American way of doing things. Many holidays today fall according to Gregorian calendar dates, like today, which would be "Minazuki"- the month of rain. This is the month when maiko wear hydrangea (ajisai) and willow (yanagi) hairpins or kimono.

However, many holidays are still done by the Lunar calendar.

When you try to look up the Lunar calendar, you will probably get hit after hit for Gregorian calendars with the moon phases listed. This is fine, if you are into say, astronomy, astrology, or some form of Paganism involving rites based on the moon phases. However, it is completely useless when it comes to determining Asian holidays and seasons!

Chinese government to the rescue. It was the first easy-to-read English document on the actual Lunar calendar, with monthly changes gridded according to Gregorian dates in conjunction with Lunar dates in a small format that made sense. ::le sigh:: Oh, China. Today, you made my research on Japan so much easier. I thank you. A very happy Year of the Rabbit to you all!

It is today that I found out that tomorrow is the 5th month starting, according to the Lunar calendar. This, of course, makes sense when one remembers that the "real" New Year begins in February. It will also help me time the dates of the Meeting of Heavenly Lovers, Ghost Month, etc. Isn't that AWESOME?

I really would love to get my hands on a Japanese Farmers' Almanac, the kind superstitious folks once used. As many books as I see published on neo-paganism and Euro-based superstitions and magic, I never see any on Asian forms, aside from something popularized like Feng Shui. I know it must exist- these rites ALWAYS exist, especially in countries where every creature has been said to have a soul or a life of it's own. Any story on obake/yokai showa that even a well-used lamp wanders off on it's own once in awhile! But yet, I rarely see these books here. I would love to do the research and publish sometime... I think it would be well worth the cost. I think many students of Japanese culture would be interested, wouldn't you?

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