Chinese New Year

The year 2006 has already begun here in Taiwan, but we have several more weeks to go before Chinese New Year, which will be on January 29 and which will be the beginning of a year of the dog.

I’ve dusted off and restyled some lists I made several years ago of all the dates of Chinese New Year between the years 1645 and 2644 — one thousand years in total. (See link above.) I think this is a nice resource, though it doesn’t have much to do with the normal concerns of this site.

One possible connection: It might be interesting to hear people’s views on the question of how to translate the names of some of the animals associated with the years in the Chinese calendar: “rat” or “mouse,” “ox” or “cow,” “goat” or “sheep,” and “rooster” or “chicken.” Of course that final example has another possible translation, but I still recall the difficulty of keeping a straight face the time one of my students in China pointed to a map of the country and told me, in all innocence, “China looks like a big cock.”

For lots more information on the Chinese lunisolar calendar, see Helmer Aslaksen’s Mathematics of the Chinese Calendar.

BTW, in case anyone is confused by my choice of ? (xīn) rather than the more common ? (also xīn) in “??” (xīnchūn —— I’ll finish in the morning

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