Some students from Miracle Mandarin were born in the same year but their ages weren’t always the same. Some were fourteen, some were thirteen. I was really curious: clearly they were born in the same year, why weren’t they the same age?
Afterwards, after asking, I realized that it turns out that they calculated their age according to the actual day of their birthdate.
Chinese have two different methods of calculating age – ‘xusui虚岁’ and ‘zhousui周岁’.
Why do we have the term ‘xusui’? Because many Chinese feel that the period of time spent in the mother’s body should be counted towards one’s age. Although the mother is not pregnant for a year, it’s still close to ten months so it’s calculated as a year, so we have this expression ‘xusui’.
In Chinese few people will directly ask another’s age, regardless of whether similarly aged or whether it’s older people asking a younger generation. Most of the time everyone will ask ‘what Chinese zodiac sign are you?’ Then through the other person’s appearance one can estimate the person’s age and then according to their zodiac sign you can work out their actual age. ‘Shuxiang’ is also called ‘shengxiao’. The twelve signs of the zodiac are divided into twelve animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog, pig. One cycle is twelve years.
Okay. Did you get that? Is it interesting? Do you want to know more Chinese culture and Chinese language, welcome visit our web site: www.miraclemandarin.com