"Spring Begins" Solar Term 2024 - 立春 LiChun 4 February 2024

 



On the Chinese lunisolar calendar, the Green Dragon has arrived on the 4th of February at 16:26 hours. We are in the month of Bǐng Yǐn or (Yang) Fire Tiger. It may seem a bit technical and a bit odd to the common enthusiast of Chinese culture that the Lunar New Year celebrations are not until 10th of February but we say it is the year of the Dragon already.

As the name implies, the Chinese Luni-Solar calendar has 2 parts. The original lunar calendar was designed based on the moon cycles, with months ranging between 29 and 30 days. As we already know, the earth makes an annual rotation around the sun for 365 days, the shortfall in days in the lunar months will create a calendar that will lag behind. Hence, the solar 24 solar terms were added to the calendar based initially on the position of Chinese Bei Dou constellation at the Yín 寅 position/direction, and later on the sun shadow time keeping (ie tracking the rotation of earth around the sun). Some years have additional double lunar months with an additional leap month called 闰月 rùn yùe added. For this reason, the Lunar New Year Spring Festival that is celebrated by Chinese people all over the world does not always fall on the same day on the international calendar (that uses 365 days). However, Li Chun the Solar Term always fall on either 3rd, 4th, or 5th of February of the international calendar.  

For most Feng Shui and Ba Zi birth chart purposes, I use the 24 Solar Terms to calculate the timing aspect (although some others may use the lunar calendar dates). 

For example, if a baby is born between Li Chun today and the Lunar New Year day, the birthday calculated for Ba Zi birth chart purposes will be the Dragon for the year, although we are at the tail end of the lunar Rabbit year. An old master I met some decades back joke that this is called a Dragon Head Rabbit Tail baby. In the AI generated photo above, I used the green coloured Dragon to represent the year of Jia Chen (2024) and the black coloured rabbit to represent the year of Gui Mao (2023). 

Is the Li Chun Spring Begins Solar Term a day of festive celebrations in the Chinese culture too?

Yes, but on a much smaller scale in the rural areas, usually related to village agricultural practices. Such practices are lost to modern city dwellers like here in Singapore, with the Lunar New Year as the main focus for New Year celebrations. 



Personally I have not grown up with this knowledge of Li Chun, it was only after I have dwelled into the world of Chinese Feng Shui, Ba Zi, etc in my adult years that I have discovered and researched into the 24 Solar Terms. I do remember my mother preparing rice dough ball dumplings for Winter Solstice though, that is another significant date in the Chinese Festive calendar based on the Dong Zhi Solar Term, but not for Li Chun.

If you do a google search, you may find that a cultural practice is to “bite into Spring” 咬春 - and that means eating Spring Rolls and Chinese Pan Cakes or vegetable related dishes - to signify the arrival of Spring, as in Spring, wood element, green, vegetables .., you get the idea about Chinese thinking. 

Significantly for Ba Zi birth charts, the crossover day for the year pillar of Li Chun is important, as it means a changeover from Rabbit to Dragon, with the month pillar changing from Ox to Tiger. As for festive celebrations, I await the 10th of February for the Lunar New Year. 

Happy Li Chun day and enjoy a plate of delicious Chinese Spring Rolls!










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