Lunar or Solar—Why the Chinese and Western Calendars Differ So Greatly

Moon Festival is just around the corner, but which day does it fall on exactly? We've got you covered here

by Annie Zhuo, Contributing Writer

With the Moon Festival (also known as Mid-Autumn Festival) coming up, you probably want to know how to calculate the day it falls on as it appears on a different day of the calendar every year.

Moon Cakes

The exact day is the 15th day of the 8th month on the Chinese lunar calendar, which is very different than the Western calendar.

The Western calendar, formally known as the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar. It counts the time it takes for the Earth to go around the Sun once as a year. Each month has the same number of days every year, except during leap years.

The Chinese lunar calendar is, despite its name, a lunisolar calendar. It counts the length of time it takes for the moon to go around the Earth as a month, while still counting the time it takes for the earth to go around the Sun as one year. The outcome is the Chinese lunar calendar having a variable amount of days every year, sometimes even including an extra month!  

So now you understand why traditional Chinese holidays like Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, and, of course, Moon Festival seem to fall on different days every year on the Western calendar.

Now before you jump online to find out the exact dates, just know the Shen Yun 2019 calendar has got you covered. It's got both the Western calendar and the Chinese lunar calendar, including all those holidays you look forward to.

Wall calendar in use

Desk calendar in use

As for the exact date of the Moon Festival, this year it falls on September 24th.

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