A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases (synodic months), in contrast to solar calendars, whose annual cycles are based only directly upon the solar year. The most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar system that originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system. A purely lunar calendar is also distinguished from a lunisolar calendar, whose lunar months are brought into alignment with the solar year through some process of intercalation. The details of when months begin varies from calendar to calendar, with some using new, full, or crescent moons and others employing detailed calculations.
Since each lunation is approximately 29 1/2 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds, or 29.530588 days), it is common for the months of a lunar calendar to alternate between 29 and 30 days. Since the period of twelve such lunations, a lunar year, is only 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds (354.367056 days), purely lunar calendars lose around 11 days per year relative to the Gregorian calendar. In purely lunar calendars like the Islamic calendar, the lack of intercalation causes the lunar months to cycle through all the seasons of the Gregorian year over the course of a 33 lunar-year cycle.
Although the Gregorian calendar is in common and legal use in most countries, traditional lunar and lunisolar calendars continue to be used throughout the Old World to determine religious festivals and national holidays.
Most calendars referred to as "lunar" calendars are in fact lunisolar calendars. Their months are based on observations of the lunar cycle, with intercalation being used to bring them into general agreement with the solar year. The solar "civic calendar" that was used in ancient Egypt showed traces of its origin in the earlier lunar calendar, which continued to be used alongside it for religious and agricultural purposes. Present-day lunisolar calendars include the Chinese, Hindu, and Thai calendars.
Lunar and lunisolar calendars differ as to which day is the first day of the month. In some lunisolar calendars, such as the Chinese calendar, the first day of a month is the day when an astronomical new moon occurs in a particular time zone. In others, such as some Hindu calendars, each month begins on the day after the full moon or the new moon. Others were based in the past on the first sighting of a lunar crescent, such as the Hebrew calendar and the Hijri calendar.
The length of each lunar cycle varies slightly from the average value. In addition, observations are subject to uncertainty and weather conditions. Thus to avoid uncertainty about the calendar, there have been attempts to create fixed arithmetical rules to determine the start of each calendar month.
In astrology, your personality is defined by your Sun sign. It is easy to determine - just look at your date of birth. The Sun moves around the zodiac over the course of the year and stops in each zodiac sign for a month along the way. But the Moon circles the zodiac in a month and only stays in each zodiac sign for a little more than two days.
As there is no day without night, the astrological portrait of a person drawn just by the means of his or her Sun Sign will be incomplete and partial. This is especially true for women, since the Moon in astrology is the patroness of women, and in personality it rules the qualities which are especially important for women.
To find out which zodiac sign the Moon was in at the moment of your birth actually takes a mathematical interpolation calculation. Your Moon sign is the second most important placement, after the sun, in your astrology chart.
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