Thursday, February 7, 2008


Happy 4706!


Erin said...

*grin* It's the Chinese New Year! The Chinese use a different calendar than the Gregorian one we use -- it's been going for a much longer period of time, and by its count it is currently the year 4705. Each year is designated by yin or yang (I forget what this year is), by an element (this year is earth) and by a Chinese zodiac animal (this is the year of the rat). Here's a good site that details some of this:

This year the Chinese New Year fell on February 7th. Next year it falls on January 26th, and will be the Year of the Ox. Wikipedia has a good page for those sorts of details.

And hopefully that helps with the ???? :)

John the Scientist said...

Erin - the Chinese calendar in ancient times calculated time cyclically, and sometimes there were gaps in the cycles. Different scholars arrive at different dates. My in-laws are from Taiwan ,and they and the Hong Kongese calcuate this year as 4706.

When I went to Chinapage I immdiately saw the PRC simplified characters, and I knew exactly what my wife would say about them having a different year number: "damn Communists, can't even count". ;-)

erin said...

Hi John,

That's really neat! My apologies, I realize from your answer that where I see question-marks there is probably a font I don't have installed. I thought you were asking a question both on MK's site and here, and I should have checked before expounding too much :)

I did know there were disagreements about the exact dates -- I'm always fascinated by reading about it all. Thanks for dealing kindly with my confusion, heh. :)

John the Scientist said...

Erin - try going to the "View" menu in IE and go to "Encoding" - switch to Chinese Big 5 (traditional) to see the font. Newer versions of Windows have in automatically installed. But you have to instal the IME in order to write it. I have both Japanese and Chinese WPs, so I can cut an paste.