The Year of the Metal Rat is a “double spring” year.
How does “double spring” occur in the Year of the Metal Rat? The Chinese lunisolar calendar is based on the cycles of the sun and moon. A normal lunar year consists of 12 lunar months (12 lunar cycles) totalling 354 days.
To prevent the lunar calendar from becoming out of sync with the solar calendar, a leap month is added approximately every three years, at about seven times in 19 years.
The additional month is added after the fourth lunar month, which means there are 13 lunar months in a leap year. The solar calendar is also adjusted from the normal 24 traditional solar terms to 25.
This implies there will be two “beginning of spring” days – in 2020, the first one occurs in the first lunar month and the second one on the last lunar month. This phenomenon is called “two springs in a year” or “head and tail springs”.
Why Are There 384 Days This Year?
There has been a lot of lively discussion on the topic of “double leap year”. Why do “double spring” and “double leap year” occur? Why is there an extra month this year? All these things result in confusion. The fact is, the year 2020 and the Year of the Metal Rat are two separate concepts based on two calendar systems.
Master Philip Wong, president of the Malaysian Yi Jing Feng Shui Association, pointed out that the calendar used by our ancestors is actually a lunisolar calendar.
The Gregorian calendar is called the solar calendar and is based on the orbit of the Earth around the sun. The Chinese calendar is also called the lunar calendar and it is based on the lunar cycles or phases of the moon.
How does the lunar leap year occur? The Chinese lunisolar calendar is based on the cycles of the sun and moon. A normal lunar year consists of 12 lunar months (12 lunar cycles) with 354 days. The traditional lunar calendar requires seven leap months in 19 years, with an average of one leap month every three years.
The leap month is an extra fourth lunar leap month, which means there are 384 days in 2020. The Gregorian calendar can be divided into a normal year or a leap year, which occurs every four years. A leap year has an extra day (29 days in February), with a total of 366 days while a normal year has 365.
Why Is The Rat First?
Chinese folklore relates that the tiny Rat took first place in a race organised by the Jade Emperor by hitching a ride on the back of the Ox and jumping ahead as they neared the finish line. This shows that the Rat is a resourceful animal.
The Rat was actually picked to head the zodiac due to its physical characteristics and behavioural habits. The Chinese zodiac is arranged based on the 12 Earthly Branches in the following order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
The 12 Earthly Branches are used to demarcate the hours of the day, with each “hour” corresponding to two standard hours. The first hour of the Earthly Branches is the hour of the Rat (11pm-1am).
The Rat is nocturnal, which corresponds to the time it represents. The Rat heads the animal signs because it meets two major characteristics. Firstly, the Rat hour spans two points, namely the late Rat hour from 11pm to midnight (belonging to Yin) and early Rat hour from midnight to 1am (belonging to Yang).
Secondly, the toes of the rat conform to the concept that it is a creature of both Yin and Yang. There are four toes on each of its front feet and five on each of its back feet. In feng shui, odd numbers are considered Yang and even numbers are considered Yin.
- Toes: four in front, five at the back
- Spans two points in time
- Rat symbolism: Intelligent and strong vitality
The Symbolism Of The Rat
The Rat represents vitality. It has the strongest reproduction rate among mammals. On average, a rat can conceive eight times a year, producing from 80 to 100 offspring.
Therefore, in addition to the Year of the Dragon, many people like to get married and have children in the Year of the Rat as they believe this will bless them with many children and grandchildren.
Getting A Head Start, Creating Opportunities And Installing Sheng Ji For Longevity, Abundance And Prosperity
A day's work depends on good planning in the early morning, and a year's work depends on good planning in spring. The start of a new cycle begins by creating big plans in the Year of the Rat.
The Year of the Rat is a combination of Yin and Yang, and the beginning of a new cycle with double spring and double prosperity. There is a saturation of prosperity, status and longevity, which is a metaphor of extra benefits – that is to say, if you add one more month to this year, it means extra bonus. Installing a Sheng Ji will feel like you’re earning another spring.
It is customary to describe a leap year as “celebrating a great year”, which has dual meaning. First, there is an extra month in a year; the other being that there are two “beginning of spring” in the Chinese solar calendar, one at the beginning and another at the end of the year.
Because of this, it is referred to as “celebrating a great year”. Since ancient times, the Chinese especially like to “celebrate a great year by doing great deeds”. These “great deeds” imply major events in life such as birth, marriage and death, and the significance behind them.
In the past, the elderly would buy a coffin and place it at home as a way to promote wealth and happiness. Nowadays, some people propose and plan for important things ahead such as purchasing burial plots or urn compartments, and installing Sheng Ji. As children, we can help our parents in pre-planning.
Young people in Malaysia and Singapore also buy gold for their parents in a leap year as gold has great value. These are the so-called great deeds in celebrating a great year.
In addition, Master Philip Wong encourages everyone to do more good deeds and financial planning in a leap year as the merits and blessings will be multiplied.
Celebrate A Great Year By Doing Great Deeds
Spring is the first of four seasons and is traditionally taken as a season of renewal and hope. There are 384 days in the Year of the Metal Rat and it is a great year to plan ahead.
- Purchase burial plots in advance
- Installing Sheng Ji plots
- Installing longevity shrines in urn compartments
- Signing up for pre-planning contract services
- Purchase longevity robes to wish one’s parents longevity (rare nowadays)
- Purchase a “great home” (coffin) to encourage prosperity (rare nowadays)
Sheng Ji is also known as “Longevity Tomb”, “Longevity Point” or “Living Person’s Tomb”. In feng shui, it is officially called Sheng Ji. Everyone’s “Ba Zi” is inherently flawed, although it can be strengthened through acquired efforts. Sheng Ji installation is one of the more popular methods.
The installation of Sheng Ji involves burying personal objects belonging to a living person in a land with good feng shui to effectively change the fortune of the person in question, by harnessing the auspicious qi of the land. This bolsters their fortune in health, wealth and career.
For more information, visit https://www.nirvana-malaysia.com/.
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