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Chinese Calendar Has Leap Months

While our modern Gregorian calendar adds only one leap day on February 29 nearly every four years, the Chinese add a whole leap month every three years.

Illustration image

The Chinese Calendar has leap months.

The Chinese Calendar has a leap month added about every three years.

©iStockphoto.com/StevieS

The name of a leap month is the same as the previous lunar month. The leap month’s place in the Chinese calendar varies.

Unlike in the Gregorian calendar, 2015 was a leap year in the Chinese calendar.

When is the Leap Month?

To determine a leap year, find the number of new moons between the 11th month in one year and the 11th month in the following year.

A leap month is inserted if there are 13 moons from the start of the 11th month in the first year to the start of the 11th month in the next year.

The Chinese calendar uses a solar term system that has 12 principal terms to indicate when the Sun's longitudes is a multiple of 30 degrees. Unlike all other months, the leap month does not contain a principal term (Zhongqi).

Topics: Leap Year, Calendar, Seasons

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