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Chinese Calendar and 24 Seasonal Segments

24 solar terms

According to Chinese astronomy, the 24 Seasonal Segments (二十四节气 èrshísì jiéqì) were incorporated into the calendar during the Warring States Period. The calendar of twenty-four periods and climate matches particular astronomical events, signifies some natural phenomena, and is also synchronized with the seasons, which govern agricultural arrangements in ancient China and functions even now. It predicts the seasonal variation using the moon's motion to measure the time it will take for the earth to return to a certain position (the solstices and equinoxes) in relation to the sun. In other words, it takes into account the longest and the shortest days and the two days each year when the length of the day equals that of the night: the Summer and Winter Solstices and the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes. Thus, strictly speaking, the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar.

1   立 春
2   雨 水
3   惊 蛰
4   春 分
5   清 明
6   谷 雨
7   立 夏
8   小 满
9   芒 种
10 夏 至
11 小 暑
12 大 暑
13 立 秋
14 处 暑
15 白 露
16 秋 分
17 寒 露
18 霜 降
19 立 冬
20 小 雪
21 大 雪
22 冬 至
23 小 寒
24 大 寒
Beginning of spring
Rain water
Waking of insects
Spring equinox
Pure brightness
Grain rain
Beginning of summer
Grain full
Grain in ear
Summer solstice
Slight heat
Great heat
Beginning of autumn
Limit of heat
White dew
Autumnal equinox
Cold dew
Descent of Frost
Beginning of winter
Slight snow
Great snow
Winter solstice
Slight cold
Great cold
腊月(小) 廿四 (Feb. 4)
正月(大) 初九 (Feb. 18)
正月(大) 廿四 (Mar. 5)
二月(小) 初九 (Mar. 20)
二月(小) 廿四 (Apr. 4)
三月(大) 十一 (Apr. 20)
三月(大) 廿六 (May 5)
四月(小) 十二 (May 21)
四月(小) 廿七 (June 5)
五月(大) 十四 (June 21)
五月(大) 三十 (July 7)
六月(大) 十五 (July 22)
七月(小) 初一 (Aug. 7)
七月(小) 十七 (Aug. 23)
八月(大) 初三 (Sep. 7)
八月(大) 十九 (Sep. 23)
九月(小) 初四 (Oct. 8)
九月(小) 十九 (Oct. 23)
十月(大) 初五 (Nov. 7)
十月(大) 二十 (Nov. 22)
冬月(小) 初五 (Dec. 7)
冬月(小) 二十 (Dec. 22)
腊月(大) 初五 (Jan. 5, 2014)
腊月(大) 二十 (Jan. 20, 2014)

The "Song of Solar Terms" is used to ease the memorization of 24 seasons:

二十四节气歌

春雨惊春清谷天,夏满芒夏暑相连
秋处露秋寒霜降,冬雪雪冬小大寒
上半年来六廿一,下半年是八廿三
每月两节不变更,最多相差一两天

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