Dating in China

No, not the romantic-dinner-kind, but the calendar-kind! We oftentimes mention the Chinese Calendar, but what exactly is the Chinese Calendar?

Although China uses the familiar Gregorian calendar for official public and business affairs, the Chinese Calendar is still widely understood and utilized for certain purposes, such as the Chinese horoscope. Lucky or meaningful dates are chosen from the Chinese Calendar for important events as weddings (and funerals) or launching a product. While some public holidays follow the Gregorian calendar–National Day (October 1) and New Years Day (January 1)–others relate to the Chinese Calendar, Chinese New Year (1st day of 1st lunar month) and the Mid-Autumn Festival (15th day of 8th lunar month).

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The Chinese Calendar is a lunisolar calendar, which takes into account both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. A year usually begins on the second dark moon after the winter solstice. The current Chinese year began on February 10, 2013 and ends January 30, 2014.

Convert a date from the Gregorian Calendar into the Chinese Calendar. Now you can start celebrating your birthday twice a year!

Dates in Chinese
Dating in Chinese is actually simple. Unlike other languages, the names for the days of the week and months of the year use numbers. If you’ve forgotten your numbers from our blog post a couple of weeks ago, take another look!

The characters for sun (日) and moon (月) are used in telling the date. Both characters are pictographs, meaning their shapes are based off the pictures of the objects they represent.

sun picture chinese character

See the adaptation from the shape of the sun to the Chinese character for sun. Photo credit:

moon character explained chinese

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 (yuè): Moon or month

 (rì): Sun or day

今天几号? (Jīntiān jǐhào): What day is it today?
今天几月几号? (Jīntiān jǐyuè jǐhào): What day and month is it today? (Another very common way to ask the date)

Days of the week
To tell the day of the week: 星期 (xīngqī) + number of the day of week.

Monday 星期一 (xīngqīyī): Literally, week one
Tuesday 星期二 (xīngqīèr): Literally, week two
Wednesday星期三 (xīngqīsān): Literally, week three
Thursday 星期四 (xīngqīsì): Literally, week four
Friday星期五 (xīngqīwǔ): Literally, week five
Saturday星期六 (xīngqīliù): Literally, week six
Sunday星期天 (xīngqītiān) or 星期日 (xīngqīrì): Literally, week day. Sunday is the only day that doesn’t use a number in its name.

星期 (xīngqī): Week

To tell the month: 月 (yuè) + number of the month.

January 一月 (yíyuè)
February 二月 (èryuè)
March 三月 (sānyuè)
April 四月 (sìyuè)
May 五月 (wǔyuè)
June 六月 (liùyuè)
July 七月 (qīyuè)
August 八月 (bāyuè)
September 九月 (jiǔyuè)
October 十月 (shíyuè)
November 十一月 (shíyíyuè)
December 十二月 (shíèryuè)


What are you waiting for? It’s time for your first date!