During the Qing Dynasty, the official almanac was named Shixian Shu and was published every year. The official Wannian Shu/Wannian Li (calendar of 100 or, in some editions, 200 years) was first edited in 1741, and the calculations were based on the meridian at longitude 116°23' East.
After the end of the imperial era in 1911, the government of China announced the abolition of the traditional Chinese calendar (Huangli) and using the Gregorian calendar as standard calendar. The government kept publishing official almanacs, but the information about day-selection was excluded. So, entrepreneurs began producing popular almanacs. In order to enhance their sales and the popularity, they included methods and rules of day-selection laid down by religion, unorthodox divination, magical charms, etc. in their almanacs.
In 1953, there were two versions of the traditional Chinese calendar in Mainland China and in Hong Kong. According to the version which was based on the Wannianli of Xuantong imperial era, the 6th lunar month was a "small month" (29 days) and the 7th lunar month was a "big month" (30 days). However, the other version which was based on the calculations of Purple Mountain Observatory was just the opposite - it stated that the 6th month was a "big month" and the 7th month was a "small month". The same difference occurred in 1978 and 1989. In 1978, Guangzhou people in mainland China and Hong Kong people celebrated Mid-autumn festival in different days. Therefore, if you take Wannianli as your reference to traditional Chinese calendar or Jieqi, be aware that there may be some differences among Wannianlis from different sources. Through the above mentioned incidents we understood why in times past each regime tried to monopolize production of the annual almanac and outlawed unauthorized productions.
Generally speaking, day-selection is a study of learning the relations between the influences of horizon directions and time / the locations of planets. Shensha is the general term for these influences of horizon directions. In general, shen means good influence, sha means baneful influence, and all of shensha actually do not relate to any ghosts and celestial beings.
Ancient people believed that particular days of the year were not suitable for certain activities. They set some simple rules to determine whether activities would be auspicious or inauspicious at any given moment, in any given place. Some of these methods, like Jianchu system and 28-xiu system which passed down from the period before Pre-Han, are included in modern Chinese almanacs. As for the accuracy, try at your own risk. Many people use day-selection only because they follow customs and tradition and want to free from anxiety.
The description of the spring ox and the god of plant (Mangshen) with woodblock representation appear on the first page of the Chinese Almanacs (also known as Tongshu, Tongsheng, and Tung Shu) is customary rules of making clay bull for the "beating the spring" or "whipping the bull" ceremony. Before the end of the imperial era in 1911, the "beating the spring /whipping the bull" ceremony was held on the day Li Chun in order to represent to send away the cold and to welcome the spring, and a clay bull was set up outside the eastern gate of the city at the day before Li Chun (Beginning of Spring). According to ancient Chinese tradition,Warring States period and Han period, a clay bull was set up outside the eastern gate of the city in order to represent sending away the cold in the 12th month.
Description of spring ox and the god of plant for AD 2003
Spring Ox Symbolizing height 4 Chi
(Chi, a unit of length
1 Chi = 1/3 meter
1 Chi = 10 Cun
1 Cun = 10 Fen)
four seasons length 8 Chi eight seasonal nodes length of tail 1 Chi 2 Cun 12 months head black Gui
abdomen blue Wood
(Na Yin of the year)
horns, ears and tail yellow
(Stem of Li Chun day)
(Branch of Li Chun day)
(Na Yin of Li Chun day)
tail bended to right Yin year mouth shut Yin year strap rein blue ramie rope Wu Shen
(Stem and branch of Li Chun)
clasp made with mulberry wood stepping board the right door plank Yin year Mang Shen
(God of plant)
height 3 Chi 6 Cun and 5 Fen 365 days man child-like face Wei
clothes red Ke, metal is subdued by fire
(the element which subdues the day-branch)
waist band black Sheng, metal gives birth to water
(the element which gives birth to the day-branch)
hair worn in two buns above ears Earth
(Na Yin of Li Chun day)
hat carried in right hand Wei (Shi)
(The time of Li Chun)
(Shi, a unit of time,
equal to two western hours)
stockings, shoes and pants no shoes,
(Na Yin of Li Chun day)
whip made with colored (five colors) withy length of whip 2 Chi 4 Cun 24 Jieqi knot made with ramie Shen
(Branch of Li Chun day)
(God of plant)
stand next ox
at right side to the ox
Li Chun occurs after new moon
within five days,
Twelve Dragons manage water
This is an ancient method of predicting annual rainfall. The number of dragons means the number of days from the lunar new year to the first day with earthly-branch Chen. Large number bodes less rainfall, less number bodes more rainfall. As for the accuracy, a scholar wrote in his book thatin Yiyou year of Chongning era it was a large amount of rain falling fromspring to autumn even though eleven dragons managed water.
Diagram of Liunian Dali
(Diagram of Auspicious Directions of the Year)
Almanacs from the caves of Dunhuang reveal that the Purple-white / Jiugong / Nine-palace system was employed in almanacs not later than theeighth century. This system was included in the chart of Liunian Dali (Diagram of Auspicious and Inauspicious Directions of the Year) on the second page of Chinese Almanacs. In the chart of Liunian Dali, eight trigram names represent the basic eight compass directions. Li represents south, Kan represents north, Zhen represents east, Dui represents west and so on.
This Nine Palace system is known as Lishu Sanyuan Baifa (Calendrical Three Period White Method). Nine palaces represent eight directions plus center, and each palace houses a number (also known as star-spirit) for the year. Each number only just is the symbolic of the probable influence, but not the certainty, in the direction.
In general, the direction of "Yellow Five" is considered as inauspicious. In 2003 the "Yellow Five" direction occupies southeast (112.5° to 157.5°). The general advice is to keep this direction calm. If there is a door or window in this direction, simply hanging a metal wind-chime or metal windmill on the outside of the door or window can prevent the stellar influence causing illness. Please note that, in Ganzhi calendar and this system, years are measured from Lichun to Lichun. And, different systems divide full 360 deg direction into different numbers of segments. In Four-pillars astrology, the full 360 deg direction is divided in 12 segments.
5 1 3 4 6 8 9 2 7 Purple-white chart for 2003
Calculating the annual and monthly purple-white chart (Java applet)
In the Pre-han times the compass was divied into 12 sectors of 30 degrees each by names of 12 terrestrial/earthly branches. From the Tang period, Fengshui compass (also known as Luojing) was divided into 24 sectors of 15 degrees each by names of 12 terrestrial/earthly branchesand 8 heavenly stems and four names of trigrams.
Measuring the direction
In the past times, houses were built of stone and wood. People just simply placed the compass or Chinese Luojing on either end of the threshold to measure the horizon direction perpendicular to the main door (also facingdirection of the house), and didn't need to care about the magnetic interferences.
It is unnecessary to buy an expensive Chinese compass (luojing). Since the compass or luojing is based upon a magnet, the compass needle can be influenced by ferroconcrete, nails in wall, power lines, electric motors, etc. To take a correct reading on the compass, any sources of magnetic interference should be avoided. Place the compass on the wooden stool that has been constructed with wooden pegs (no nails) or plastic stool few feet away from the door. Care is taken to assure that the compass is away objects containing iron, wires, and equipment that might interfere with its operation. Go and get a string, and fix one end of the string to the door frame. Stretch the string across the compass, and superimpose it upon the center of the compass. Simply pointing the needle to "N" north or 0 degrees, a reading can be taken. Make sure that the string is perpendicular to the main door and is superimposed upon the center of compass, and the compass is level.
Taisui is in Wei Direction
Many people confuse the Taisui with Jupiter because both of Taisui and Jupiter were called Suixing (Year-star) in ancient times. Taisui actually means the direction having the same name as the terrestrial/earthly branch of the year. In 2003, the Taisui occupies the Wei direction, from 195° to 225°. In the above mentioned purple-white system, the Taisui means the "Blue-three" and occupies southwest, from 202.5° to 247.5°.
Time The sun enters 1st Jie Lichun Beginning of Spring 2003/02/04 14:06 1st Qi Yushui Rain Water 2003/02/19 10:00 Hai house 2nd Jie Jingzhe Waking of Insects 2003/03/06 08:05 2nd Qi Chunfen Spring Equinox 2003/03/21 09:00 Xu house 3rd Jie Qingming Pure Brightness 2003/04/05 12:53 3rd Qi Guyu Grain Rain 2003/04/20 20:03 You house 4th Jie Lixia Beginning of Summer 2003/05/06 06:10 4th Qi Xiaoman Grain Full 2003/05/21 19:12 Shen house 5th Jie Mangzhong Grain in Ear 2003/06/06 10:20 5th Qi Xiazhi Summer Solstice 2003/06/22 03:10 Wei house 6th Jie Xiaoshu Slight Heat 2003/07/07 20:36 6th Qi Dashu Great Heat 2003/07/23 14:04 Wu house 7th Jie Liqiu Beginning of Autumn 2003/08/08 06:24 7th Qi Chushu Limit of Heat 2003/08/23 21:08 Si house 8th Jie Bailu White Dew 2003/09/08 09:20 8th Qi Qiufen Autumnal Equinox 2003/09/23 18:47 Chen house 9th Jie Hanlu Cold Dew 2003/10/09 01:01 9th Qi Shuangjiang Descent of Frost 2003/10/24 04:09 Mao house 10th Jie Lidong Beginning of Winter 2003/11/08 04:14 10th Qi Xiaoxue Slight Snow 2003/11/23 01:44 Yin house 11th Jie Daxue Great Snow 2003/12/07 21:06 11th Qi Dongzhi Winter Solstice 2003/12/22 15:04 Chou house 12th Jie Xiaohan Slight Cold 2003/01/06 08:19 12th Qi Dahan Great Cold 2003/01/21 01:43 Zi house 1st Jie Lichun
Year Gui Wei)
Beginning of Spring 2004/02/04 19:57
Calculations are based on Chinese coast time, the meridian at longitude 120° East.
Please refer to Chinese Calendar for 24 Jieqi.