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Monday, 27 December 2010

Similarities of Chinese Calendar and Muslim Calendar

Our country, Malaysia is a multi-nation country. 4 types of calendar systems are used in Malaysia, which are Western Calendar, Muslim Calendar, Chinese Calendar and Hindu Calendar. Generally, everybody in Malaysia uses the Western Calendar. At the same time, the Muslims use the Muslim Calendar, the Chinese use the Chinese Calendar while the Hindus use the Hindu Calendar.

If you compare the Chinese Calendar and Muslim Calendar, you may notice that they both have some similarities. This is because both the calendar systems follow the cycle of the moon, while the Western Calendar follows the Sun. These are the similarities between the Chinese Calendar and Muslim Calendar.

First, both calendar systems have 12 months in a year. They are the same as the Western Calendar, which also has 12 months in a year. In the Muslim Calendar, every month has its own name, such as Muharram, Syawal and Zulkaedah. In the Chinese Calendar, there are no name for every month. The months are just called as 1st Month, 2nd Month etc. However, in the Chinese Calendar, not every year has 12 months. There is a leap year every 3 years. During a leap year, the Chinese Calendar adds 1 month. Therefore, a leap year of the Chinese Calendar has 13 months instead of 12. The Muslim Calendar has no leap year, so there will always be 12 months in a year.

Second, in both calendar systems there are either 29 or 30 days in a month. The number of days in any month will never be less than 29 days or more than 30 days. Every month does not have a fixed number of days, it will have either 29 or 30 days. For example, for the first year a month has 29 days, then on the second year the same month may have 30 days. In the Chinese calendar, a month with 29 days is known as a 'small' month, while a month with 30 days is known as a 'big' month.

Third, both calendar systems follow the cycle of the moon. In both calendar systems, the 15th day of every month is the full moon day, where the moon is the brightest and biggest among all other days in a month. As the same time, the first day and last day (day 29 or 30) of every month are new moon day, where the moon cannot be seen on the sky. For the Chinese calendar, the 15th day of the 8th month every year is the Mooncake Festival.

Fourth, for both calendar systems, there are about 355 days in a year. Because the Western Calendar has 365 days in a year, the Chinese Calendar and Muslim Calendar are slower than the Western Calendar by 10 days every year. Therefore, for festivals like Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri, their date will be earlier than the previous year by 10 days. However, the Chinese Calendar have a leap year in every 3 years, where one additional month is added to the year, making a total of 385 days in that year. Because of that, during a leap year, the Chinese Calendar is faster than the Western Calendar by 20 days. This causes the Chinese New Year to always fall between 20 January and 19 February. The Muslim Calendar does not have leap years, so it is always slower than the Western Calendar by 10 days, and festivals like Hari Raya Aidilfitri can fall on any month.

Fifth, the date of both calendar systems are always close to each other. The Chinese Calendar is always faster than the Muslim Calendar by 1 or 2 days. For example, if it is day 7 on the Chinese Calendar, it is definitely day 6 or day 5 on the Muslim Calendar; if it is day 8 on the Muslim Calendar, it is definitely day 9 or day 10 on the Chinese Calendar. It is not possible that the dates in both calendar systems to be exactly the same. It is also not possible that the difference of the dates in both calendars to be 3 days or more. This makes it possible for Chinese New Year and Hari Raya Aidilfitri to be on the same date. This happened on year 1995, 1996 and 1997. Starting from year 1998, they were no longer on the same date because of the Chinese leap year. On year 2031 and 2032, they will be on the same date again.

The Chinese Calendar and Muslim Calendar have some similarities as well as differences. As Malaysians, we should understand and respect the cultures of other races and religions so that people from all races and religions can unite together to form 1 Malaysia.

1 comment:

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