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Why Chinese People Have a Nominal Age

Why Chinese People Have a Nominal Age

It is said that in the world, perhaps only Chinese people have two ages, an actual age, and a nominal age. The actual "age" is easy to explain. But what is a nominal age? How to count it? That is really confusing. Some people think that an actual age plus one is the nominal age. This is not so correct. In fact, most of the time, the concept of "nominal age," is only for men folk, women according to age-year-old real terms, this is the so-called “men and women into the full”, which means men always use a nominal age while women use an actual one. Moreover, in calculations, the nominal age is not always so simple to calculate as the result of an actual age plus one.

The method to calculate a nominal age is like this: according to the Chinese nominal age system, a person is counted as one year old on the day of birth, and if the birth happens in the end of the Lunar New Year, he would be two years old at the turn of the Chinese New Year. After the child had his two years birthday, as the nominal age count, he is a three-years-old kid.

Therefore, in calculating the nominal age, the Chinese New Year is a particularly important point of time, every Spring Festival, the nominal age of citizens should be added one. If a person's birthday is in the second half of the lunar calendar, and that leads to a result, his nominal age becomes two, before his actual age achieves. Opinions that think a nominal age is always an actual age plus one is incorrect. Nominal age is usually exaggerated by one to two years as compared with actual age.

Thus, after we know the truth, we can understand why lots of elderly people always have two years in advance to celebrate their 70s or 80s birthday.