Chinese Zodiac and Calendar

The Chinese zodiac is based on the ancient Chinese lunisolar calendar and the Chinese five-element theory.

Many people are familiar with one aspect of the Chinese zodiac: the animal that corresponds, roughly, to the year of their birth. For example, 2008 is the year of the Rat. I say "roughly" because the animal actually corresponds to the Chinese lunisolar calendar year and not the Gregorian calendar year. If you were born early in the year, you might not be the animal you thought you were!

Also, most people don't know that they actually have four animals associated with their birth; one each for the lunisolar year, month, day, and hour.

Web Application

I have written a Perl CGI script and an underlying C++ program to take a date and calculate the corresponding Chinese calendar date and zodiacal characters for it.

You can try it directly from your browser here.

Windows Application

I have also written a standalone Windows application that converts a date to its corresponding Chinese calendar date and zodiacal characters. You can download it from the table of attachments below.

Here is a sample screen shot:


The application is written in C++/CLI for the Microsoft .NET framework. Note, you may also need to install the .NET framework on your computer if you don't already have it installed. You can get it here:

Acknowledgments and References

  • E. M. Reingold, calendar, GNU Emacs.
  • N. Dershowitz and E. M. Reingold, 'Calendrical calculations', Software—Practice and Experience, 20, (9), 899–928 (Sept. 1990).
  • E. M. Reingold, N. Dershowitz, and S. M. Clamen, 'Calendrical calculations, II: Three historical calendars', Software—Practice and Experience, 23, (4), 383–404 (Apr. 1993).
  • P. K. Seidelmann, Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac, University Science Books, 1992.
  • J. Meeus, Astronomical Algorithms, 2nd ed, Willmann-Bell, Inc., 1998.

Other Sites

Topic attachments
  Attachment Size Date Comment
zipzip 228.4 K 09 Oct 2008 - 21:35 Chinese Zodiac Windows application, version 2.02
r5 - 09 Oct 2008 - 21:35:02 - DeanFerreyraYou are here: Bourbon Street Software  >  Home > ChineseZodiacIntro
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