Q&A Forum

Practice exercise 3, question 3

Good morning Karin,

There is something curious in this exercise, and I don’t know if I am doing a mistake or not.

The date is 5 February 1924 @09:49 ( 1924 Jie day is 5 February 1924 @09:49 so we are in 1924). I am trying to calculate the Day Pillar and I do not get the same answer as in the back of the book.

However, if I use the year 1923 instead, I do get the answer you have in the back of the book!

So for the Year and Month pillar you have used the year 1924 and for the Day Pillar the year 1923!  I do not understand this, could you be so kind and give me some hints to clarify this? For the other examples my results agree with yours!

Thank you for taking time to look at this and enjoy a pleasant weekend.


Hello again Gabriel,

Thank you for your email. The Day Pillar calculation can be tricky!

In order to compute this equation accurately, you need to keep the “Big Month” concept in mind (as described in the “Calculate the Day Pillar” section of chapter one, page 61 in the paperback version of the book) . As this is a foreign idea to most non-Chinese people, I included a chart on page 63 (“Using the Gregorian calendar in Day Pillar Calculations”) to make plugging in the correct numbers into the Day Pillar equation easier.

From this chart, you can see that for a person who’s birthday is in January or February, the Y value in the Day Pillar equation will be Y-1. There is an explanation for this phenomenon in the preceding pages.

I hope this helps!

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