Category Archives: Date Selection

Chinese Hour

“I was born on Hai hour. Does that mean I am harmful to others”, a friend asked.

My first thought was why would someone born on ‘Hai’ hour, be harmful to others. Then it dawn upon me that the word ‘Hai’ sounds a lot, in Chinese, like harm. He was visibly relieved after I assured him that his birth time has no direct harmful effect on his friends and family!

But what is ‘Hai’ hour? The ancient Chinese measure time in two hour blocks. ‘Hai’ is the name given to the two hour block between 9 PM and 11 PM.

There are twelve (12) two hour blocks in a day. The first two hour block is between 11 PM and 1 AM. This Chinese hour is called ‘Zi’ hour. This is followed by ‘Chou’ hour which is the time between 1 AM and 3 AM and goes on and finally ending at ‘Hai’ hour. Each of these Chinese hours is assigned an animal sign from the 12 animal zodiacs. For example ‘Zi’ is assigned the Rat. If you are born at say 12.05 AM, then your birth time is ‘Zi’ or the Rat hour.

Please refer below to the 12 Chinese hour and associated animal sign below.

TimeChinese TimeAnimal Sign
11 pm to 1 amZiRat
1 am to 3 amChouOx
3 am to 5 amYinTiger
5 am to 7 amMaoRabbit
7 am to 9 amChenDragon
9 am to 11 amSiSnake
11 am to 1 pmWuHorse
1 pm to 3 pmWeiGoat
3 pm to 5 pmShenMonkey
5 pm to 7 pmYouRooster
7 pm to 9 pmXuDog
9 pm to 11 pmHaiPig

The birth hour is very important in Chinese astrology such as Ba Zi and Zi Wei Dou Shu as they are required to complete the birth chart or the ‘picture’.

What if you are born in between two Chinese hour e.g. at 3 PM? Should you use the Wei hour (1 PM to 3 PM) or Shen hour (3 PM to 5 PM)? Recording of birth time is usually done by the attending doctor and is a best an approximate. Usually he writes down the time after the delivery which can be many minutes after the time that the baby takes the first breathe (more if there are complications).

For the purpose of astrology, it is crucial to figure out the right time. It is also necessary to adjust for any daylight savings adjustments that may have occurred at the time of birth. Otherwise the entire reading is wrong.

This is why determining the correct birth time is the first step to a successful Chinese astrology reading. We do this by asking the person some pertinent questions to see which chart ‘fits’.

So now you know when someone says she was born on the horse hour, it means ‘Wu’ time between 11 AM and 1 PM!

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The Chinese Calendars

There are two Chinese Calendars, one based on the sun cycle and the other based on the moon cycle. Together they are sometimes called the Lunisolar Calendar! Also since the sun is yang and the moon yin, it is often referred to as the YinYang Calendars.


The Chinese Solar Calendar is also known as the Xia (Hsia) Calendar and has a history that dates back more than 4000 years. Since the Xia (Hsia) calendar is closely related and used to regulate agriculture, it is also called the Farmer’ Calendar.

The earth makes one rotation around the sun every 365 and a quarter day. Four of these quarter days make one extra day and this is why there is a leap year of 366 days every four years in the Western calendar that we use today.

Of the two Chinese Calendars, the Chinese Solar Calendar is most similar to the Western calendar except that instead of starting on the 1st of January, the Chinese solar year begins on the 1st day of Spring that falls on or around the 4th Feb. The exact starting date wobbles a little bit to account for the extra day that is accumulated every four years.

The Chinese Calendars and Seasons

There are four seasons in a year namely Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. This is sufficient for most people but for the purpose of agriculture (and Chinese metaphysics study), each season is further divided into 6 sub-seasons giving a total of 24 sub-seasons. These sub-seasons have descriptive names like rain water, insects awaken, corn rain, corn sprouting etc which gives clear hints to the farmers on the right time for planting and harvesting!

The Chinese Lunar Calendar on the other hand is based on the moon’s rotation around the earth which is approximately 29.5 days. Unfortunately the Lunar cycles do not match the Solar cycles. For example 12 lunar cycles (12 x 28.5) do not quite add up to 365 days. To synchronize the Lunar Calendar with the Solar Calendar, the Chinese added an extra month in seven (7) out of every nineteen (19) years. The extra month in certain years are known as leap month.

We can convert between the Chinese Calendars, both Solar and Lunar, and Western dates using a text reference known as The Ten Thousand Years Calendar. Do not be fooled by the name. Most books available in the market contains not more than 150 years of data.

You can also find the Chinese Solar and Lunar equivalent dates of any Western date by using this Chinese Calendars converter.

The Chinese New year festival celebrated by Chinese all over the world marks the first day of the Chinese Lunar year. Unlike the Chinese Solar new year which falls on or around the 4th Feb every year, the Chinese Lunar new year falls on a different date between January and February every year!

This is the Chinese Calendars for you.

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