60-year Celebration

CB013129On October 1st, China held an elaborate ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. The impressive parade was followed by a jubilating evening party with an attendance of sixty thousand people.  Indeed, it was a big national party.   In the West, a centennial is a significant bench mark of any celebration, whilst in China, 60 years has significant meaning.

The ancient Chinese use Ten Heavenly Stems (Jia, Yi, Bing, Ding, Wu, Ji, Geng, Xin,Ren, Gui) and twelve Earthly Branches (Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si, Wu, Wei, Shen, You, Xu, Hai) combining  the two together to form a cycle of sixty.  Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches were used as the x and y axial to chart the celestial bodies’ movement.  60 years is a significant repetitive circle of sun-moon-earth positions and relationships.  It is not just any abstract number. Since 104 BC, a Han emperor began to use the 60-year cycle to record history.  Infact, it has only been since the last century that the Chinese have adopted the western calendar.   Today, this 60-year calendar is still widely used In Chinese astrology and medicine.

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