The Hsia Calendar, or xia li in mandarin (夏历), is the Chinese solar calendar that is used by feng shui professionals to observe energy changes from history and into the future.
It was initially conceptualized for the purpose of helping farmers identify the best periods of the year to plant, grow and harvest corps. These agricultural activities can be greatly aided by a dependable schedule of solar activity during each year.
For this reason, it was also affectionately referred to in the past as the Farmers’ calendar.
Some of the common aliases of the Hsia calendar include:
- Ten thousand year calendar (万年历)
- Solar calendar
- Lunisolar calendar
- Feng shui calendar
The authority of the calendar it managed to garner over decades has made it as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.
Something important to note is that the solar calendar is distinctively different compared to the traditional Chinese Lunar calendar that indicates the annual Chinese New Year that is celebrated every year.
This is why the first day of the Chinese New Year is seldom scheduled as the first day of the Solar Calendar as well.
Legend of the Hsia Calendar
Legend has it that the Hsia Calendar was first created by the infamous Yellow Emperor, or huang di (黄帝), in 2367 BCE in accordance to astronomical studies that account for the movement and positions of the sun and moon.
It was then officially endorsed by the Hsia Dynasty with the first month that kickstarts each year at the beginning of Spring season when the yin (寅) earthly branch takes position.
However, as different dynasties took over and then lost the power over the ages, the calendar was amended time and again and rulers attempted to make their mark on national interest.
These changes included major amendments like shifting the first month to the chou (丑) month and xu (戌) month.
It was only when the Han Dynasty rose to power that the original concept of the Hsia Calendar was restored as the rulers felt that it was the most accurate and that political motivations should not be used to change it.
The original title of Hsia Calendar was retained to give credit to the origins of how it was initially conceptualized.
Attributes of the Hsia Calendar
The main detail that the 10,000 year calendar provides to users is as a reference to the energies that preside each year, month and day.
The are 10 heavenly stems and 12 earthly branches that run in a cycle sequence where one stem and one branch reign supreme for each year, each month, and each day.
The cyclic nature of the changes from one stem and branch to the next resulted in a total of 60 possible combinations of stem and branch.
The heavenly stems are jia, yi, bing, ding, wu, ji, geng, xin, ren, gui. Or 甲, 乙, 丙, 丁, 戊, 己, 庚, 辛, 壬, 癸 respectively.
The earthly branches are zi, chou, yin, mao, chen, si, wu, wei, shen, you, xu, hai. Or 子, 丑, 寅, 卯, 辰, 巳, 午, 未, 申, 酉, 戌, 亥 respectively.
To cater to an increasing interest in Chinese metaphysics from the western world, many English speaking experts in Chinese metaphysics have used symbols to represent heavenly stems and earthly branches to help international learners understand them more easily.
The most widely accepted reference to stems and branches are symbols consisting of and alphabet and number.
The alphabet being “H” for heavenly stems and “E” for earthly branches.
The symbols used for representing heavenly stems therefore run from H1 to H10. Those for earthly branches run from E1 to E12.
What is the Hsia calendar used for?
In feng shui for example, the calendar can show practitioners what is the Grand Duke located for the year and implement remedies to manage afflictions.
In date selection, one useful feature of the hsia calendar is to identify the year breaker and day breaker to find good dates to undertake certain types of activities. This is most commonly used to select dates for weddings, business opening, signing of important contracts, etc.
In bazi, the solar calendar can help identify specific stems and branches that come into play which can influence the fortunes and luck of an individual.
The Hsia calendar in summary, plays a prominent role in the work that professional practitioners do to serve others.