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Is Your Chinese Age the Same as Your Korean Age?

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The ages we generally go by today start from the day we were born. 365 days after coming out of our mother’s womb would be our 1st year of age, another 365 days after that is our 2nd, and so on.

Sometimes we’ll hear our Ahmahs saying that they’re a year older, or that their birthday falls on a different day this year than it did last year. We even hear similar things from our favorite K-drama characters. So is the way our Ahmah count their age the same as the Korean Ahjummas?

Short answer is no. Long answer is your Chinese age and your Korean age are counted differently. Both of them start at year 1, the moment you’re born, instead of the Western way of waiting a full calendar year to consider you 1 year old However, the interval at which you age up is different.

The Chinese start counting age from the time of pregnancy, unlike the Western system where age is calculated from the time of birth. In the traditional Chinese age counting system, your age increases by one year on Chinese New Year and not on the day of your birthday. So it does fall on a consistent date… on the lunar calendar.

On the other hand, the Korean age just goes up every New Year. So if a baby is born at 11:58pm on December 31, 2020 and is 1 year old, when the clock strikes 12midnight and the world welcomes 2021, the newborn is now 2 years old!

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