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As nearly a quarter of the world's population put aside work and worldly anxieties for a while to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families, we thought it would be timely to share a bit about the Chinese calendar. It's the Year of the Rat and all that, and seeing how Swiss watchmaking companies have been such good sports in releasing year after year, special edition watches emblazoned with animals of the Chinese zodiac, it'd be a shame if we couldn't see beyond the cunning handiwork celebrating the Rat.

For a taste of these so-called Rat watches, read our story here.

Besides, even though the Chinese calendar has been replaced by the Gregorian calendar for official/formal matters (even in China), it remains the go-to authority among the Chinese when it comes to festivals, holidays, and birthdays. And with the Chinese Almanac in hand, the calendar takes on even greater significance, holding the very keys of prosperity, status and longevity in designating the most auspicious days for all manner of life's activities, from starting a business,Hublot Replica Watches getting married, traveling, renovating one's home, getting into a contract, burying the dead, etc. Indeed, if we were marionettes with our destinies and heartstrings knotted to the cosmos, it's not far fetched to think of the Chinese calendar as the quinary key to unlocking the Chinese psyche, determining what is/ought and foretelling what must be.

Our ancestors are not without savage habits and this applies quite generally across all ethnicities. But when the ancients roll back their sleeves to create calendars like their lives depended on it (and it did), we wonder if they didn't have help from galaxy-hopping space aliens: such is the extreme complexity of these creations -- the mathematics and acute observation of the heavens -- that many of our 21st century heads would burst if we try too hard to fathom their intricacies. The following then, is a brief, general guide to the Chinese calendar, without tripping headlong into a bottomless headache of astrology and the arcane arts of the occult.

Observation First

A now-forgotten movie (Patricia Arquette is in it) opens with a shot of an unspecified highway through the windscreen of a speeding car. It's just black tarmac caught in the headlights, with lane markings flashing by to the beat of a drummy soundtrack. Watching the skies is a much quieter affair, but the same sense of not knowing where we are, pervades. Night and Day is straightforward enough. But where do we go from here? How many days and nights to make... what?Rolex Submariner Replica Watches Calendar information that we take for granted today is not intuitive at all. There aren't labels marking the months as there would be signposts planted along a road. Yet, not knowing where we are in the apparent continuum of days, we are handicapped in forward planning, for life-changing activities like... agriculture.