- Last Updated: 2017-08-23
Tibetan Calendar is a traditional calendar widely used in Tibet. According to history, a unique calendar which is used to calculate day, month, and year according to wax and wane of the moon, was created by Tibetan people more than 3,000 years ago. Hundreds of years later, those who believe in Bonpo (the original religion in Tibet) learn to reckon the exact day of Winter Solstice and made it the beginning of a year. This laid the foundation of the variety of festivals in Tibet. In the 7th century, Princess Wen Cheng and Princess Jin Cheng entered Lhasa Tibet for marriage successively and took Chinese Traditional Calendar to this ancient land. From then on, Tibetan Calendar had taken advantage of the lunar calendar and Hindu calendar. It became an individual calendar which contains Heavenly Stems, Earthly Branches, and the five elements In the Yuan dynasty. After centuries of development, Tibetan Calendar has become a mature system.
Tibetan Calendar is a combination of lunar calendar and solar calendar. The year which consists of 354 days is divided into four seasons according to the calendar. Unlike most of the other tradition, One year begins with winter and ends in autumn. Twelve months are included in one year and the first month is the same as Chinese Traditional Calendar. A month includes 30 or 29 days. The former is called the big month while the latter is called the small month. They alternate with each other and an additional one called leap month is added to the calendar to adjust the relationship between months and seasons. According to the Tibetan Calendar, One year is not divided into four equal part as the time range of each season is based on the locations of the sun in the sky. In general, winter is the longest season, then spring, autumn, and summer. Every 60 years Tibetan Calendar will recount according to the tradition handed down from old times. Besides, the 24 divisions of the solar year could be very useful in predicting the weather of Tibet in long term, the planetary motion, and eclipse.
Besides Tibet, Tibetan Calendar is also used by the persons who live in some areas like part of China's western regions and Bhutan. It provides a guide for the daily routines like travel, marriage, and funeral because people there believe that almost every daily activity should be done at the right time. Many proverbs which come from the activities of astronomical observations and local legends have been recorded into the calendar. They are easy to remember and spread among the Tibetans.
Tibetan Calendar is widely used by Tibetans to solve many kinds of problems in their daily life. Not only for finding the law of nature and universe, but also the connection between the progress in treating illness and the climate change. It’s also used for the weather forecast. The Tibetans have discovered various ways from ancient time to forecast weather by observing the plants, animals, rivers, stars, the shape and color of clouds, and the direction of the wind. They will refer to some ancient books to see if any natural disaster may happen in the next year such as snowstorm, earthquake, and flood. Besides, the Tibetans will arrange their farming according to the activities of migrant birds like cuckoos, wild gooses, and swallows. In addition to those mentioned before, Tibetan Calendar also includes many unique elements of China like seven luminaries, the Eight Diagrams, Jiugong, Chinese Zodiac and geomantic omen. As a wonderful gift from the old generation, This unique calendar is a treasure which could be a great help to Tibetans even the whole mankind.
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