2022年8月1日 星期一

Chronicles and Directories 香港年鑑

 

出版物名稱

年份

香港地圖頁碼

The Chinese Repository

1841

 

The Chinese Repository

1842

 

Anglochinese Calendar

1845 - 1851

 

The Chinese Repository

1850

 

The Hongkong Directory

1859

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1864

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1869

 

The China Directory

1874

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1875

維多利亞城14

港島202

低畫質

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1876

港島200低畫質

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1877

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1879

262低畫質

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1882

221低畫質

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1885

260

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1888

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1889

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1892

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1894

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1899

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1904

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1909

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1910 [Ver 1]

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1910 [Ver 2]

維多利亞城1077

九龍半島1197

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1912

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1915

1089

1191

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1917

維多利亞城1119

九龍半島1227

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1918

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1920

維多利亞城1014

九龍半島1121

全境1125

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1921

維多利亞城1043

全境1153

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1922

維多利亞城

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1924

維多利亞城

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1925

維多利亞城

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1926

維多利亞城

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1927

維多利亞城

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1928

維多利亞城

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1929

維多利亞城

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1930

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1931

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1932

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1933

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1934

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1935

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1936

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1937

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1938

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1939

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1940

 

The Chronicle and Directory for China, Japan & the Philippines

1941

 

2022年5月7日 星期六

【祖堂地 】James Hayes: Tong and Tso in the New Territories (許舒: 新界的堂與祖)

 TONG & TSO IN THE NEW TERRITORIES

By James Hayes 


These two traditional Chinese organisations are confusing to foreigners especially as their immediate object is the same; namely that property should be perpetuated and should not be disposed of without due consideration and the consent of those persons currently involved in its communal ownership or management. Little has been written on the subject, which is not mentioned specifically in Dyer Ball's "Things Chinese".

 Of the two the tso () is especially concerned with the clan. A tso can only take the name of a deceased person. It can originate with a man who, for various reasons, does not want all his property divided among his descendants; perhaps to avoid disputes or to prevent it from being finally broken up into minute parcels, but always, to perpetuate his own memory and those of his direct ancestors, alternatively it can be begun on behalf of a certain ancestor by a descendant who buys land which is registered as a tso in his ancestor's name. The title of the tso is simply a man's name with the word "tso" tacked on the end. Tso land is more likely to be bought than inherited land and the vendor must be more prosperous than his forebears if he can afford to set aside bought or ancestral land in his own or another's memory. He was generally the founder, or an early member of the clan in a particular village; which, in the New Territories' villages, can mean that he lived anything from one to eight hundred years ago, depending upon the age of the village. 

The profit deriving from tso property - in the past usually in the form of kuk being rent from the fields - is used to further family worship and the repair and maintenance of the ancestral graves. A surplus is usually eaten up in feasts given at the main Chinese festivals of the year, though traditionally it was supposed to assist with the education and, welfare of descendants, and in some cases may still be. 

Tso property can be large or small, and will obviously vary from clan to clan but in every case managers are elected to manage the property before and after 1898. Ideally the property should not be sold or mortgaged, and should descend to future generations intact, but the New Territories Ordinance Cap. 97 (19), provides for this contingency provided a request is is made to the District Officer (as Assistant Land Officer) to deal in the property and his consent is forthcoming if the usual notice of intention, which is posted locally to ensure that all concerned know about the forthcoming dealings, has expired without objection.

The tso is something personal to the direct male descendants of one ancestor; so much so that even the descendants of the originator's brothers by the same mother have no share at all in the property or its management. It is this highly personal element, and narrow intent to benefit that ancestor and his direct descendants in the male line, which differentiates tso and tong. 

The tong () is the more flexible organisation and is not linked to ancestor worship and little else besides, as is the case with the tso. It is a business association as often as not, and can, in fact, be a registered company. Indeed, a new tong-: with over twenty members, is nut, by implication, exempt from the legislation of 1910 Cap. 97 (20) which given exemption to "any clan family or tong owing land on the twenty eighth day of October 1910 in respect of which a manager has been duly registered under this Ordinance". The same exemptions and restrictions presumably apply to tso. since these are family organisations. However, old New Territories' organisations, both tso and tong, which have prospered and become enlarged since 1910, to the extent that they have over twenty members since that date and so put themselves outside the scope of the exemption, rarely registered themselves under the Companies' Ordinance, Cap. 32 and Government seems never to have required too closely into the natter. New organisations of the traditional type, large or small, do not seen to register either under the Companies' Ordinance, unless it suits their convenience. 

However, it must not be imagined, that tong are only business organisations. At the time of the lease there were four recognisable types, The first was a purely business ogranisation between friends or business associates with no common relationship (e.g. Shui Shang Tong of Tai O, which was formed by several otherwise unrelated Tai O businessmen, shopkeepers and farmers to buy land in the locality and share in the profits). The second was also a business organisation but one formed between clansmen, etc. (e.g. CHI Wing Shing Tong of Shek Pik which originated in the CHI clan of that place and was, among other things, a money loan association). There was also the religious Tong, usually Buddhist, in which the members of a chai tong (齋堂), Chi () or am () formed a Tong to further and simplify their internal relationship in respect to land ownership and routine management; especially since membership was always changing due to deaths, disputes, and the recruitment of new inmates (e.g. the Kwong Sin Tong, a chai tong at Luk Wu Tung, which owned a considerable amount of property locally on which it supported its existence). But very few Buddhist halls form themselves into tong, more's the pity. In all those cases "the name chosen for the term was purely decorative and, it was hoped, an auspicious one, as Chinese shop signs and company names contrive 'to be to this day. 

There was in addition the family tong which in many ways is akin to the ancestral tso though usually with a wider scope of activity. It is not always easy to differentiate the two since their objects largely coincide and, (for the tso ), have been explained briefly above. The name, too, seems at first sight identical in form though, in fact, the difference lies in the tso using the personal name and the family tong using the ancestor's business or lucky names in the title (e.g. LI Tun Yan Tong of Shek Pik). 

The ancestral tong is a convenience, and can be formed not necessarily by one man but by several brothers or clan cousins who do not wish to divide all their ancestral or newly purchased property (ordinarily the latter) but desire to set all or a part of it aside for the benefit of their descendants, with an obligation, as in a tso, to carry out the required sacrifices etc. as a matter of course. The descendants would share the profits on a pre-arranged scale that is subject to change over the years as shares are inherited, bought or sold from other members of the term. 

Welfare matters, e.g. education and the relief of old age are more usually handled by a family tong rather than by tso which relate mainly to the requirements of ancestral sacrifice for which they generally require less land than the family tong with its wider responsibilities and greater need of funds. 

But whatever its welfare or family functions, whatever- its ends and policies, the tong is mainly a business Venture concerned with profit and loss on which the continuance of its activities depend. Some of these tong are very large and are extensive landowners, e.g. the WONG Wai Tsak Tong of Cheung, Chau at the present day and the LI Kau Yuen Tong of Sha Wan, Kwong Chau, before the lease, which was the taxlord for the whole of Lantau. 

In all these cases a list of members of the tong is required by the Assistant Land Officer and managers reported to him by the members can be registered in the Land Office provided no objections are raised when the assistant Land Officer posts the usual notices of intention to register. Proposed dealings are also dealt with in the same way as for tso. 

(Sgd.)

J.W. Hayes

19th December 1962

【亞洲研究】F. S. Drake: The Study of Asia: A Heritage and A Task

 THE STUDY OF ASIA: A HERITAGE AND A TASK

Inaugural Address delivered on April 7,1960

F. S. Drake, O.B.E., B.A., B.D. Professor of ChineseHong Kong University.

Source : Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. 1 1960-61

This article has been published for over 50 years | 文章發表在五十年前

[PAGE 12]

The study of Asia by the West is the result of the total impact of East and West through the ages, in which traders, soldiers, administrators, travellers, preachers, and scholars all have a part, and in which a study of the language and literature of the peoples of Asia is an essential element.

So far as Europe is concerned the study of Asia commences with the Greeks.

The Greeks were in contact with Asia in three directions : along the coast of the Black Sea they were in contact with the Scyths; in Asia Minor they lived under the shadow of the Persian Empire; through Egypt they were in contact with the sea routes to India and beyond.

These three directions indicate three great geographical divisions of the subject around which we can, I think, arrange the historical, cultural and linguistic studies.

First, the grasslands of Central Asia, from the steppes of Russia to the plateau of Mongolia, home of the nomadic races from the Scyths to the Mongols;

second, the Oriental Empires connected with the great river valleys and deltas from Iran to India and China;

third, the islands and peninsulas from South-east Asia to Korea and Japan, including the China coast.

I. The Scyths are graphically described in the pages of Herodotus, and his description is verified by the finds of archaeologists in the tombs of their chieftains in South Russia and the Caucasus region. The virile ‘nomad animal style’ of the ornaments in bronze and gold found from the Caucasus to the Siberian side of the Altai, and from the Altai through Mongolia to the borders of China, indicates the extent and the character of the nomadic tribes. But the chief source of our knowledge of the nomads is to be found in the series of Chinese dynastic histories. The Chinese were in continual contact with the nomadic people along their northern frontier from Manchuria to Turkestan - the line of the Great Wall. The struggle between the nomads and the Empire, based on agriculture, is the great theme of Chinese history.

[PAGE 12]

One by one successive tribes arose—Huns, Avars, Turks, Mongols, Manchus dashed themselves against the frontiers of the Empire, and sometimes recoiling proceeded through Central Asia to Europe, sometimes breaking through the Wall, submerging for a time the whole Empire.

Apart from some stone monuments found in Central Asia, few but of great importance, the record of these tribes is to be found in the Chinese Histories, with references in the Greek authors of the Byzantine Empire, whenever the tribes impinged upon the West.

Interest in collecting the Scythian bronzes commenced with Peter the Great. It is natural that the Russians and the scholars of Eastern Europe should be the first to be interested in the history of the Central Asian tribes. To them is largely due the excavations in Southern Europe and Siberia, and also in Mongolia. But in English we have the massive work ‘Scythians and Greeks' by E. H. Minns. The Turks also are particularly interested in these studies, which have thrown much light upon the origin of the Turkish peoples.

One outcome of the struggle of the Chinese Empire with the Huns was the first extension of Chinese power in Central Asia, through the Tarim Basin, the present Sinkiang, to the Pamirs. This chapter in world history includes the fascinating account of the journey of Chang Ch'ien to the West in the second century B.C., the exploits of Pan Ch'ao in the Tarim Basin in the first century A.D., and the despatch of a Chinese envoy, Kan Ying, to the shores of the Persian Gulf.

During the first and second centuries the famous silk trade arose between China and Rome, recorded by Ptolemy and the Chinese histories. For a short time the land route between China and the West was open. The road passed through the Tarim Basin, between the northern grasslands and Tibet. It also became the great highway between India and China.

The Tarim Basin is one of the most remarkable geographical regions in the world, lying as it does between glaciated mountains on three sides, with a waterless desert in the centre. Around the desert, watered by streams from the mountains, are the oasis towns and villages, which form stepping stones as it were for travellers passing from east to west, or from west to east. By this thoroughfare have passed from time immemorial the travellers of Central Asia—merchants, soldiers, monks. And by this thoroughfare the great cultural influence—indian, Persian, Greek -- have passed with Buddhism from Western and Southern Asia to China. By this thoroughfare Chinese colonization spread to the Pamirs. By this route Marco Polo journeyed to China in the thirteenth century.

[Page 13]

During the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, this region became one of the most important regions for archaeological study by Russian, French, German, Japanese, Swedish and British archaeologists. The great names for the English reader are those of Dr. Sven Hedin of Sweden, and Sir Aurel Stein. The geographical exploration of the one, and the archaeological exploration of the other provide reading material of the utmost fascination and charm, and offer a key to open the closed door of Central Asian studies.

To these must be added the scholarly work on Central Asian languages — Sogdian, Karosthi, Persian, Turkish, Uighur, and Mongolian — that illumined the work of the archaeologists, in cluding the names of the two great French sinologues, Edouard Chavannes and Paul Pelliot, and of the Russian Central Asian historian, W. Barthold.

The greatest episode in the history of Central Asia was the outbreak of the Mongols of Genghis Khan in the 13th century. The most extensive land empire that the world has seen stretched from Russia to Mongolia, and embraced also China, Annam, and Persia, and in its later developments the Moghul dominion in India.

The trade routes between East and West were once more opened, mediaeval travellers from Europe made their way to Mongolia and China, which they knew by the name of Cathay, and for the first time the West had detailed accounts of farther Asia. The book of Marco Polo is known to all, but not so widely known are the slightly earlier journeys and narratives of the Franciscan Friars, John of Pian Carpine, one to the court of Kuyuk Khan (1245-1247), and the other to the court of Mangu in Mongolia (1253-55). Yet these both present to the reader first-hand information of the Mongols, and of the Chinese, on matters overlooked by Marco Polo.

II. The Persians were the first of the great Oriental Empires with which Europe was confronted. The main theme of the History of Herodotus was the invasion of the independent city states of Greece by the King of Kings.

It was to understand how this situation came about, how and why the invasion failed, that Herodotus set out on his seventeen years' travels, collecting material—geographical, historical, sociological and religious—from all the peoples and tribes within his reach, to work into his great history.

A hundred years later Alexander reversed the process and the Greeks invaded the East. In three great battles Syria, Egypt, and Persia fell, and the Macedonian army penetrated to the tributaries of the Indus.

[PAGE 14]

The retreat of the Macedonian army was followed by the complicated history of North-west India, the present Pakistan, in which invasion followed invasion, Bactrian Greek, Indo-Scyth, Ephthalite and Turk, and dynasty followed dynasty, of which that of the Guptas was one of the most illustrious.

But the impact of the Greeks, though it was eventually absorbed, lasted for a long time, and its effect is still to be seen in the abundance of Graeco-Buddhist sculpture unearthed in the ruins in the Buddhist monasteries in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, reaching even to the confines of North-west China.

To the Greeks of Alexander and of his successors, we owe a large part of our early knowledge of Persia and of Northern India.

When the power of Islam had spread through Western Asia, the Moslem Arabs and Turks became the intermediaries between East and West.

The Crusades were one, but not the only, answer of the West to the Moslems.

The way of St. Francis was another. But yet another was that of Raymond Lull, who, born as it were before his time, advocated the study of Moslem philosophy and the Moslem tongue as a preliminary for the preaching of the Gospel.

Meantime Moslem learning in Latin translations, and even the Greek authors, translated into Arabic, and from Arabic into Latin, reached the Western World.

The Mongol dominion became divided. The Mongol rulers of Persia, and the partly Turkish partly Mongol rulers west of the Pamirs became converted to Islam. The dominion of Timur arose, and the Moghuls of India followed.

First-hand accounts in Persian and Arabic now became added to the study of the Mongol regime. I refer in particular to Juvaini's History of the World Conqueror (between 1252 and 1260), by one who had served as a high official under the Mongol conquerors.

From henceforth Islam contributed to the philosophy, poetry and art of the Persians, and the study of Islamics formed part of the study of Persia.

Before leaving the subject of Persia one passing to the mystic philosophy and poetry of Persian miniatures, Persian rugs, and of Persian architecture.

III. Finally we come to the sea-route to the islands and peninsulas from South-east Japan.

In the course of his travels Herodotus had visited Egypt, where he had learned about the navigation of the Red Sea, and recorded that Phoenician sailors in the service of the king of

[PAGE 15] 

Egypt had sailed through the Red Sea, and keeping the land on their right had rounded Africa and returned through the Straits of Gibraltar; on the way they had found that the sun appeared for a time on the north side. 

A hundred years later, after Egypt had fallen into his hands, Alexander had founded the city of Alexandria on the western side of the delta of the Nile. The city was destined to become the second city of the Roman Empire. Connected by canal with the Red Sea, and making use of the newly understood monsoon winds (A.D. 47) for crossing the Arabian Sea, it became the chief port of the maritime trade with Persia, India, and the regions beyond. 

References to this maritime trade exist in the Chinese histories as well as in the writings of the Greeks. In A.D. 97 a Chinese envoy, Kan Ying, travelling from Central Asia reached the shores of the Persian Gulf, and was informed by the seamen whom he met that the sea-route from the Gulf proceeded first south-west and then north-west to the port of Wu-ch'ih-san (Alexandria), the return journey taking three months with favourable winds, and two years with unfavourable winds. 

The Chinese records speak of the Persians and the Indians trading by sea with Ta-ts'in (the Chinese name for the Eastern Provinces of the Roman Empire : Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor) and of the fact that the profits were ten-fold. 

They speak also of traffic between India and China by sea, and record that in A.D.120 two jugglers who claimed to have come from the Roman Orient (Ta-ts'in) reached Burma, and were sent by the king of Burma as a present to the Emperor of China, via the Burma Road. 

About the same time a book was written by an unknown Greek sailor called The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea giving a port-to-port description of the voyage down the Red Sea and around the Indian Ocean to the Malay Peninsula ('The Land of Gold') 'under the very rising of the sun', with a notice of China beyond. 

Shortly after this in the 2nd century A.D. the Geography of Ptolemy was written at Alexandria, where Ptolemy gathered together and systematized all that was known to the Western world about Asia and Africa. In particular he plotted the longitude and latitude of the places known, which when transferred to a modern map give surprisingly accurate results, reaching to China itself.

From this time notices of the sea-route increase, both on the Greek and on the Chinese side. The Chinese histories in particular show a rapidly increasing knowledge in the early 

[PAGE 16] 

Christian centuries of the new states of South-east Asia, formed under Indian influence in Indo-China, Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula. 

During the Middle Ages the navigation of the Southern Seas was in the hands of the Arabs. But after the rounding of the Cape, direct contact between Europe and the East by sea was restored. It was mainly by the sea-route that India, China, and South-east Asia became known to modern Europe. In this the Portuguese navigators played an all-important part. Passing over the rivalries of the Western nations we come to the days of the East India Company. 

In India the Moghul empire had reached its height, fine examples of its art remaining in the Moghul architecture of Pakistan and North-west India, and Moghul miniature painting. But with the Moghul Moslem law had come to India, and it was soon recognized by the East India Company that the study of Moslem languages was necessary for the government of India. So Islamics now became part of the study of India as of Persia. 

In 1783 Sir William Jones, a brilliant linguist who had mastered Persian and Arabic during his student days in England, was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Bengal. In 1784 he proposed the forming of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and became its first President. Becoming aware of the importance of Sanskrit, he became the founder of Sanskrit studies in the West. In accordance with Warren Hastings' decision in 1776 that Indians should be ruled by their own laws, he undertook the immense task of compiling a complete digest of Moslem and Hindu law, a task which he left unfinished at his death eleven years later. 

It was from India that the Western study of Tibet commenced, initiated by Catholic missionaries, of whom the most eminent was Desideri who lived for many years in the great Sera monastery at Lhasa, and wrote the first comprehensive account of Tibet. 

Meantime the Jesuit missionaries had proceeded eastwards in the wake of the Portuguese to Malacca, Macau and Japan. It was from Macau that Matthew Ricci entered China in 1580 and in course of time reached Peking, where a beginning was made in the study of the Chinese Classics and Histories, which led to the first real knowledge of Chinese civilization in the West. It was now realized that the ‘China’ at the end of the sea-route was the same as Marco Polo's ‘Cathay’. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century modern Sinology commenced with Robert Morrison at Canton, and continued with a number of able scholars, too numerous to mention here, of whom James Legge with his translation of the Chinese Classics into 

[PAGE 17]

English was the most eminent. A new era in Sinology opened with Edouard Chavannes and Paul Pelliot at the turn of the century, by whom the pattern for present day studies was set. 

At this time too (1898) the Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient was established in Indo-China, and the thorough and many-sided work of the French scholars in South-east Asia commenced, which included the superb achievement, still in progress, of the conservation of Angkor. 

Space does not permit to treat of the studies in Indonesia and Malaya, in Japan and Korea. 

But in closing mention must be made of two special subjects, which affect all countries : Buddhism and Oriental Art. 

It is hard to realize that there was a time when Buddhism was unknown to the West. The study of Buddhism commenced at the beginning of the nineteenth century with a young Hungarian scholar who set out for the East to find the origin of the Magyar race, which he rightly divined was connected with that of the Turks. His travels brought him to the Tibetan-Himalayan border land, where he settled in the little village of Kanum in the Upper Sutlej valley to study Tibetan Buddhism. It is interesting to note that it was with the Tibetan branch of Buddhism that the study of Buddhism commenced. Later the great studies of the Sanskrit and Pali Canons began, and later still of the Chinese Canon, in which Japanese scholars have played a very great part. At the present time the Tibetan Canon and the mystic forms of Tibetan Buddhism are receiving great attention. 

The study of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Persian, Tibetan and Cambodian art is now receiving great attention. The last century saw a beginning in all these directions. Through the fundamental books of the pioneers, the magnificent collections in museums, the improvements in modern photography, and the facilities in travel, the finest examples of oriental art are now open to all. Persian miniatures, Moghul architecture, Indian sculpture, Chinese porcelain, Japanese temples, Angkor Wat and Borobudur are now well known. 

But a final word must be said : he who would understand the East must be deeply religious. This does not refer to any particular church or sect of religion, but to the religious spirit diffused through all. 

2019年2月4日 星期一

農曆並不是陰曆?︱書史


農曆新年是中國人傳統最重要的節日之一。提起農曆年,相信不少人在孩提時,都會向父母長輩詢問農曆與日常生活所用的公曆有向區別。長輩一般都會說,古時的中國人主要以務農為生,而農曆以月亮軌跡編訂曆法,就是為了方便農夫耕種。然而,我們今日時常聽到的講法其實有着妙微的概念偏差,農曆、月亮、農耕三者的關係其實並非如此簡單。(圖片來源:Wikimedia Commons)

撰文:陳子煒

農曆新年是中國人傳統最重要的節日之一。提起農曆年,相信不少人在孩提時,都會向父母長輩詢問農曆與日常生活所用的公曆有向區別。長輩一般都會說,古時的中國人主要以務農為生,而農曆以月亮軌跡編訂曆法,就是為了方便農夫耕種。然而,我們今日時常聽到的講法其實有着妙微的概念偏差,農曆、月亮、農耕三者的關係其實並非如此簡單。

農曆並不等於陰曆

口耳相傳的講法中,最有錯誤的莫非將農曆誤會為陰曆。現在我們一般通稱農曆為陰曆,一般人都認為就是月亮曆,即便在英語中也稱為「lunar calendar」(月亮的曆法)。

的確,農曆與月亮運行有密切關係,當中「月」便以觀察月亮圓缺而成。初一(朔日)是月亮無光、而十五(望日)則是月亮圓滿之時。(農曆最早可追溯至夏代的夏曆,由於經歷了數千年月亮運行軌跡有細微的改變,朔望日未必完全與天體運行能完整匹配)由於月亮運行周期平均約為29.5日,故此農曆月份便交錯地有29日和30日。


月亮圍繞地球公轉與其圓缺。(圖片來源:網路圖片

雖然農曆的確保留了很多月亮曆的元素,但這只是其中一面。世界上僅存的純月亮曆伊斯蘭曆,一年只有354天(相當於29.5天乘以12)。由於與地球圍繞太陽運行的周期少了約11天,因此伊斯蘭曆每年比起公曆都會快上11天:例如今年伊斯蘭曆的新年(11)在公曆的某日,10年後便會在公曆上提早約110天。(這也是伊斯蘭的齋戒月為何對應公曆沒有固定時期)

另一邊,農曆新年卻每年都是出現在公曆的1月與2月之間。從這點我們已可得知農曆絕對並不是一套純月亮曆。事實上,中國人傳統所用的農曆是一種「陰陽合曆」。

廿四節氣與農耕

早於宋代推行的《統天曆》(後再經元《授時曆》改良),已得出一個月為29.530593天,一年為365.2425天,幾乎與今日的計算相若(比西方公曆早四個世紀以上)。「年」是地球圍繞太陽公轉的周期,只通過觀察月亮是無法掌握,而必須觀察太陽計行。

中國人很早已掌握了太陽運行與季節變化的重要性,於是在曆法中設立了「廿四節氣」去反映太陽的元素。每個節氣,其實都是指地球公轉到某一點。假設地球公轉一周為360度,將其分割成24份,每份約為15度:也即是說地球每公轉15度便是一個節氣。【注1


(圖片來源:香港教科文之友

由於節氣是對照太陽軌道【注2】,故此本身與對照月亮而定的農曆日子無關,反而與同樣觀察太陽而成的現代公曆有關。細心觀察,廿四節氣的日子每年都在公曆的同一日子(由於公曆觀察點在歐洲,故此有時會有一天的差距),例如香港公眾假期的「清明節」,便每年都於公曆的44日或5日。

廿四節氣定下季節時分,方便古代農夫耕作。但這其實與「陰曆」並無關係。月亮月缺頂多只會影響到潮汐漲退,根本與農耕沒有太大關係。總體來說,農曆的確與農耕有密不可分的關係,但這種關係卻是來自於太陽,而非月亮。故此稱農曆為「陰曆」,又或是認為古人觀察月亮運行周期以方便農民耕作,其實都是誤會。

1:由於公轉軌道實際上是橢圓型,故此每個節氣之間的間隔有些差距,要計算節氣點要比想像中更複雜。

2:對於現代人而言,我們都知道實際上是地球圍繞太陽公轉;但古代人一般認為是太陽圍繞地球轉。

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