Chinese Calendrics Software
5.  The 60-day and 60-month Cycles

The Chinese also use a 60-day cycle in which days are denoted by the same names (and in the same order) as the years in a 60-year cycle (the day names are still shown in printed Chinese Calendars). According to L. E. Doggett 1984-02-02 CE was the third day (bing-yin, fire-tiger) of a 60-day cycle. This correlation determines the 60-day-cycle names for all other dates, so, for example, Chinese New Year in 2009 CE is a metal-sheep day.

So in addition to finding out whether you were born in a water-dragon year, or whatever, you can now find the element-animal of your birthday. The element-animal year of your birth comes around again (at most) only once in your lifetime but the animal-element of your birthday re-occurs every 60 days.

There is also a 60-month cycle, or something close to it. As with days and years, each month has an associated element-animal in the same 60-element-animal cycle. E.g., the first month of the lunar year in 2009 CE is an fire-tiger month.

But the month cycle is slightly different from the day and year cycles, because a leap (or intercalary) month is assigned the same element-animal as its preceding month. E.g., 79-21-2*-01 CHL (2004-03-21 CE) was the first day of an intercalary month. Both this month and the preceding month were fire-rabbit months. Consequently the 60 element-animal names are not assigned to a period of 60 months but to a period of 61 or 62 months.

Occasionally a day will occur whose element-animal name is the same as for the month and for the year. E.g., 1994-10-15 CE was a wood-dog day in a wood-dog month in a wood-dog year. Such "triple coincidences" occur about once every ten years. Chinese Calendrics allows you to find such triple coincidences (see Finding particular days).

For an interesting connection between the 60-day cycle and the Julian Calendar see the section on Moving Forward and Backward.

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