The Tibetan calendar

The Tibetan calendar

The structure of the Tibetan calendar is based at the same time on the cycles of the sun and the moon.
This calendar is officially used in Tibet since 1027.

The Tibetan year begins the day of the new moon following the entry of the sun in the constellation of the Ram.
This moment, according to the years, is between the beginning of February and the beginning of March of our calendar.
It is thus on this date that Tibetans celebrates the Tibetan new year or Losar.

The Tibetan year consists of 12 lunar months of 30 days and each day counts 2 X 12 hours. We will see later that a Tibetan year can, according to the years, comprise 13 month.

Contrary to the Western calendar made up of months known as “solar”, the Tibetan year is composed of twelve “lunar”months, which one names lunar months.
The lunar month is the period ranging between two new moons. This one begins the 1st day following the new moon to finish with the following new moon.

The lunar months consist of 30 lunar days and 1 lunar day = 0,984 solar day.
One lunar month thus lasts approximately 29,5 solar days. Thus, a Tibetan year, lunar, is composed 354 solar days.
Consequently, it is necessary to add a thirteenth lunar month every approximately 30 months in order to catch up with the Western year. For this reason the Tibetan calendar is known as “lunisolar”, because it catches up with the solar calendar by adding one month.

In Tibet, there aren’t centuries of 100 years as in occident, the years are gathered in 60 years cycles.


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