According to Kunga Rigzin, Tibet had its own calendar and the monthwas counted by the position of the moon. Though simple, it shows the long history of Tibet calendar.
With the cultural exchange and penetration of the Tibetan and Han people, the Tibetan and Han calendar became closer. For example, there are twelve months in Tibetan calendar, the lengths of month are different, and a "leap month" is added every few years. The Tibetan calendar takes the similar chronology with Chinese calendar, while the Tibetan calendar replaces the heavenly stems of Han calendar with yin-yang and five elements (iron, wood, water, fire and earth) and replaces the twelve terrestrial branches with twelve Chinese zodiac signs. The 12 animals plus the 5 element (with iron replacing metal) would form a cycle of 60.
There are slight differences between Tibetan calendar and Han calendar. The beginning date of a month in Tibetan calendar is fixed to be the date of the full moon, rather than starting the month with the new calendar. As the full moon could be the 15th or 16th day of a month in the Han calendar, the Tibetan calendar is different from it by one or two days in a month.
The position of the "leap month" of Tibetan calendar is not same with the Han calendar, which will affect the dates of the New Years’ Day. In addition, to configure the solar day and lunar day corresponding to the date of order, there are "skipped date" and "repeated date" in Tibetan calendar. As a Lunar Day varies and maybe longer or shorter than a solar day which also varies, the ends of the lunar days are used as indicators of the solar days. If two ends fall inside one solar day, the solar day will have two numerals. The first numeral to that day will be assigned and the second will not be used any more. It is called "skipped date". If there is no end od the lunar days for a solar day, then that particular solar day should use the numeral of the previous day. Therefore, the same numeral will be used twice, and the second one is called "repeated date". Generally, there are one or two "skipped dates" in a month and fourteen to fifteen in a year, while there are five or six "repeated dates" in a year. The month without "repeated date" nor "skipped date" will be called as "auspicious month."
Due to special climate on the plateau, tiebtan calendar doesn't divide a year into twelve months and 24 solar terms simply but calculates according to the position of the sun, and combining the changes of animals and plants in Tibetan areas to determine the division of seasons and solar terms. Though there are four seasons in Tibetan calendar, according to the unique geographical features, six-season climate division method is formed: namely spring, after-spring, summer, autumn and winter, and after-winter. From the overall observation, in Tibetan area, winter is the longest season, the next is spring, and summer is the shortest. In part of the alpine region, there is even no summer, and autumn is right after spring.
From: China Tibet Online
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