Lichun, Beginning of Spring in Chinese Culture

Following Lichun(立春), you can get a baby loong (newborn in the year of loong) before the Chinese New Year. Interested? In this blog, I’ll be introducing you to Lichun and the 24 Solar Terms, explaining the relationship between Lichun and Chinese zodiac signs, guide you on finding Lichun time across different time zones, and Feng Shui practices in Lichun.

24 Solar Terms

Today is February 4, 2024, and at 16:26:53, we will welcome the beginning of spring, known as Lichun(立春). Lichun is one of the 24 solar terms, which are a traditional Chinese system used to guide agricultural activities and mark seasonal changes for over 2,000 years. The 24 solar terms divide the annual cycle into 24 segments, each coinciding with particular astronomical events or natural phenomena. These solar terms help farmers determine the best times for various farming tasks such as planting, harvesting, and the preparation of agricultural tools and implements. For further details, extensive information is available at the Hong Kong Observatory.

Lichun, 24 solar terms

Lichun, marking the beginning of spring, usually falls on February 3rd or 4th. With the coming of spring, Lichun is a crucial time for sowing and planting, serving as a guide for farmers in agricultural practices.

Chinese Zodiac

The Year of the Loong starts at Chinese New Year, but a person’s zodiac sign is not determined solely by being born after this date. The official method for determining the chinese zodiac sign utilizes the Chinese calendar, which starts from the Chinese New Year. This method dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127) and is widely endorsed by the government in China.

However, there is a more traditional belief among the populace that chinese zodiac signs should be determined not by the first day of Chinese New Year, but rather by the 24 solar terms, known as the stem-branch calendar. The stem-branch calendar has ancient origins in the Shang and Zhou dynasties(around 16th to the 11th century B.C.) and is utilized in traditional Chinese almanacs, fortune-telling, feng shui, and folk customs. This calendar system employs heavenly stems and earthly branches to record years, months, and days, and includes the concept of the 12 zodiac animals. Thus, babies born after the Lichun can be considered as being born in the Year of the Loong this year.

Chinese zodaic

Lichun Time and True Solar Time

Okay, here’s a new question. If I’m in HK or in the US, what is the exact time for Lichun in my location? It’s the same time in your time zone! Lichun is calculated based on true solar time. In ancient times, there was no concept of clocks, so people would infer the current time by observing the sun, solar corona, and its position. This means that the timing of the 24 solar terms is determined based on your geographic location and doesn’t require calculation based on time zones. Tips: True solar time (Apparent solar time) = Mean solar time (Local time) + Geo time difference + Equation of time + (daylight savings time).

Hiding from Lichun(躲春)

According to the principles of Feng Shui, Lichun is considered a time of transition between two annual cycles, and it is believed that this day may cause disturbances in the magnetic field. Just think of the full moon night in western tales, people might exhibit stronger tendencies towards violence and instability during full moon nights. As a result, it is generally advised to hide from Lichun(躲春). To do so, simple methods include engaging in activities that bring joy, avoiding conflicts and disagreements, and refraining from making major decisions such as relocation, investments, or marriage.

Author’s Message

While gathering the information for this article and translating some terms into the most accurate English, I found that the vast majority of the search results on Google are from Japan or South Korea. This saddens me. Taking this article as an example, the origin of the 24 solar terms can be traced back to the Xia and Shang dynasties 2000 years ago and was introduced to Japan around the 6th century AD. However, due to political and public opinion influences, more and more aspects of Chinese traditional culture are mistaken for being Japanese or Korean culture. This is also one of the reasons I founded Loong Culture to popularize and promote traditional Chinese culture in the most accurate and simple way.

As the Spring Festival approaches, I am also busy with preparations for it. If you have a deeper interest in this article or any expectations for the next article, please leave a comment.

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