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To reconcile the differences in lunar measurement with the solar year of four full seasons, one intercalary, or extra month was added every two or three years.The result was a luni-solar calendar that, in each 19-year period, has 12 years with 12 months and seven with 13 months. 1600 to ca.1050 BCE) offer evidence that the intercalary month had already been adopted by that time.Family members from near and far would travel to be with loved ones in time to usher out the old year and welcome in the new, with great celebratory flourish.
No sophisticated astronomical instruments were necessary to observe the regular waxing and waning of the moon, and so it is the earth’s satellite itself that is considered to be the earliest instrument of celestial observation.For Chinese, in China and in ethnic communities around the world, the lunar new year is the most important and most festive holiday of the year.Through centuries of China’s agrarian tradition, this was the one period when farmers could rest from their work in the fields.(Visits to close friends with whom one is on good terms are usually reserved for the first several days of the new year.) A spiritual cleansing of the old — a “good riddance” to the bad luck and negative attitudes of the past — leaves one with a bright and optimistic approach to whatever lies ahead.Domestically there is a traditional cleansing as well.
Since that time lunar New Year’s Day has been commonly known as “Spring Festival.” The old lunar calendar continues to be used popularly in conjunction with the solar-oriented Gregorian calendar as a way of marking traditional observances, the dates of which, like Spring Festival, are dependent on its calculations, and which are closely associated with its agrarian origins.