According to historical records, as early as 100 BC, Tibetans already had their own calendar, which according to the moon to calculate the day, month and year. After several centuries, Bon followers (the primitive religion of Tibet) could accurately calculated the time of the winter solstice, and took it as the initial year, forming a variety of festivals and rituals. In the 7th century, two princesses-Wencheng and Jincheng married successively for Tibet alliance, bringing the mainland calendar to Tibet. Since then, the Tibetan and Chinese ancient calendar of India combined and in Yuan Dynasty formed into one unique calendar. Existing provable Tibetan history almanac, first appeared in the 13th century (Yuan Dynasty), and to the 19th century, the Tibetan almanac has been perfecting scheduled.
Main Characters of Tibetan Calendar
Tibetan calendar is a lunisolar. The year is divided into four seasons, winter, spring, summer, autumn, and 354 days of the year.
Tibetan Calendar’s divisions of solar terms and the seasons are not the simple bisection method, but according to the "sun’s places" to extrapolate, and organically combine the data with all kinds changes of birds and vegetation in Tibet to identify and classify solar terms and seasons. Although there are spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons in Tibetan Calendar, but at the same time, according to the vagaries of climate on the high plateau, it formed a unique six quarters seaons, namely: spring, after the spring, summer, autumn and winter, after the winter. This division method is coordinated with climate characteristics at most regions on Tibetan Plateau.
The 12 months begins from the first Lunar month, month set according to the moon wanes. Big month is 30 days, shorter month is 29 days. In addition, the Tibetan calendar also has 24 solar terms, as a long-term weather forecast for Tibet, for the five planetary motions and also for the prediction of eclipses.
Tibetan has three major elements, including the phenological calendar, the Indian Kalachakra calendar, the Chinese Constitution calendar.
History and Development of Tibetan Calendar
According to historical records, in 469 BC, when the first Tibetan btsan-po - Nyatri Tsenpo ascended the throne, there were bon followers specialized in the Tibetan calendar, indicating that there was relatively systematic calendar at that time.
At around 100 BC, according to the Shannan Yalaxiangpo Fangzhi Laofuren Zhi Yuesuan, which’s content is basically based on the Gregorian calendar timing by moon and sun. The "seven days "(7 days a week) total time is very important to the Tibetan astronomy and also the most important Tibetan calendar data.
At around 6th Century, Tibet had relatively natural and accurate calendar.
The 7th century, the Tubo Dynasty established, had absorbed the mainland, and the then India, a large food and other neighboring countries’ advanced calendar, and introduced Zodiac, the five elements reckoning from Han, and had in combination with the ancient natural lunar, natural Gregorian calendars and Qiyao calendar, Tibetan calendar developed into a unique method of yin and yang calendar.
In 11th Century, Shannanmingzu Temple’s Astronomy and Calendar School was established, and started to publish Mizulin Calendar.
In 1206, Tibet’s first complete calendar, Saga Calendar, was published. The calendar’s context included the changes of climate, seasons and other situations, and had a degree of affection in guiding the life, work and outdoor activities of farmers and herdsmen.
In 1916, the 13th Dalai Lama established Medical and Calendar Institution and published Mengzikang Calendar.
After the liberation of Tibet, China Tibet Autonomous Region’s Tibetan Medicine Hospital set a Tibetan Calendar Editorial Office in charge of the edition of Tibetan Calendar.
In 1978, Tibetan Calendar Editorial Office upgraded to Astronomy and Calendar Institution, and set Tibetan Astronomy and Calendar Academy.
Since 1993, Tibet Autonomous Region’s Astronomy and Calendar Institution offered weather forecast in Tibet TV and Tibetan people's broadcasting station, which has been very welcome by Tibetans.