Tung Shu, the Chinese Almanac, parts of which date back for over 4000 years, still shapes and influences the lives of millions of Chinese everyday.Translated, it literally means ‘The Book of Many Things’. However, in Cantonese it is often referred to as the Tung Sing which means ‘Good Luck in Everything’.
The Tung Shu is revered and seen by many to have spiritual powers. People keep it in their homes almost as a talisman, believing that owning a copy will bring them good fortune. The Almanac is considered a book of great importance, and used as a guide in their daily lives.
The Almanac is an accumulation of information from over 3000 years, with extensive contributions from shamans, Taoists, Buddhists, Moslems, and Christians. Not only is it significant in the study of the history of religion, but it is also one of the most comprehensive and traditional sources of Chinese beliefs and practices.
The T’ung Shu originated as a calendar, explaining the detail of the lunar farmer’s calendar and the seasons, but now includes everything from fortune-telling to herbal medicine, including numerology, palmistry, divination, physiognomy, pregnancy charts, moral codes, dictionaries, charms, talismans, and predictions.
The Almanac gives astronomical details, telegram and telex charts, plus it contains interesting stories and legends, all coming from very diverse sources. Of course it also includes a calendar of auspicious and inauspicious days, which people turn to for daily predictions to see if a specific day is lucky or not for planning important events like weddings and travel.
The Almanac was written by the most senior officials within the Chinese bureaucracy and the Imperial Court, but is now constructed annually by astrologers in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Want more from Part 3….? FSML will shortly republish the full Guide to the Chinese Almanac series in PDF format