(i) Calendar- system of organising days for social, religious,commercial or administrative purposes.
(ii) It is done by giving names to periods of time, typically day, week, month & year.
(iii) Date- designation of a single, specific day within such a system.
(iv) System adopted to frame calendars across various regions of India belong to any of following three types:
(a) Solar system
(b) Lunar system
(c) Luni-Solar system
(v) These systems are based on astronomical years, which follow the movement of celestial bodies.
- represents the time taken by Earth while revolving in its orbit around the Sun, going through a point of ecliptic, i.e. solstice or equinox to which it returns after completing its journey.
- solar year consists of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
- maintains closest correspondence between year & seasons.
- solar year has 12 months in total.
- lunar year consists of 12 months or lunations.
- each lunation is a syndic month as measured by the period falling between two - successive full moons or new moons.
- lunar month varies from 29.26 to 29.80 days, so it gives a period of 354 days, - - necessarily short of 11 days to solar year.
- this difference is accounted for by an intercalation or suppression, to make lunar year confirm to solar year.
- intercalary month- introduced every 2.5 years in lunar year to adjust it to solar year.
- extra month or intercalary month- Adhik Masa.
- year is calculated by solar cycle & months by lunar divisions as in Hindu calendars.
- adjustment between two being brought about by intercalation and suppression of days and months.
(i) Various months which exist within these three systems of calendar are as follows-
1. Solar month
- In solar year, there are 12 months & bear names of twelve zodiac signs.
- Twelve rashis are Mesha (Aries); Vrishabham (Taurus); Mithuna, the pairs (Gemini); Karka, the crab (Cancer); Simha, the lion (Leo); Kanya, the maiden (Virgo); Tula, the scales (Libra); Vrischika, the scorpion (Scoipio); Dhanus, the bow (Sagittarius); Makara, the sea monster (Capricorn); Kumbha, the water pot (Aquarius); Mina, the fish (Pisces).
2. Lunar month
- It ends either with new-moon (amavasya) or full-moon (purnima).
- There are two methods in vogue for commencement of month under lunar system → Amasanta or Purnimanta, i.e. they commence either with bright fortnight (Bright-half) or with dark fortnight (dark-half).
(i) Lunar month or moon month is followed in greater part of the nation.
(i) Is intercalary month added to a lunar year after every 2.5 years in order to adjust the difference of lunar year with solar year to ensure that natural events & cycle of seasons which occurred in particular months were not upset by falling into different months.
(ii) Lunar year falls shorter of 11 days every year with regard to a solar yca-> to adjust these 11 days, an intercalary month is added to Lunar Calendar after every 2.5 years, known as Adhik Masa or Mala Masa.
(iii) Entry of Sun into a zodiac sign- Sankraman or Sankranti, which occurs every month.
(iv) There are 12 such sankramans during a year.
(v) Adhik Masa is that month during which there is no sankranti.
(vi) Month during which there are two surya-sankrantis- Kshaya Masa, i.e. month which is deleted or dropped.
(vii) Months in various calendar forms are divided into Pakshas or fortnights, weeks & days. Two Pakshas or fortnights under Lunar calendar:
(a) Shukla Paksha (the bright half)- starts with the day following new moon &
(b) Krishna Paksha (the dark half)- starts with day following full moon.
(viii) Lunar day- Tithi or Vasara & solar day- Divasa.
(ix) Duration of tithi is shorter than divasa; average duration of tithi is 23 hours & 37 minutes, i.e. 23 minutes less than a divasa.
(x) Tithifurther divided into Ghatika, Pala & Vipala & is related to Gregorian calendar in following manner:
- One day and night = 1 divasa = 24 hours = 60 ghatikas
- One ghatika - 60 palas = 24 minutes
- One pala = 60 vipalas = 24 seconds
- Two ghatikas = 1 Muhurta = 48 minutes
- Thus, 2.5 muhurtas are equal to two hours.
- Panchanga or Hindu calendar takes into account panch, i.e. five angas or limbs, viz., year, month, paksha, tithi & ghatika or alternatively, tithi, vaara, nakshatra, yoga and karana.
- Twelve places through which Sun passes during a year are named after group of stars called Nakshatras.
- 28 nakshatras or constellations in total.
- Nakshatras → unequal in size; do not have same number of stars.
- Each rashi consists of two to three nakshatras.
- Solar year is divided into two halves under Hindu calendar:
(a) Uttarayana - First six months from Makara Sankranti to Karka
(b) Sankranti, i.e. from Paush (January) to Ashadh (June) - is God’s Day.
(c) Dakshinayana - last six months from July to December is God’s night.
- One solar year thus equals one day & one night of the God.
THE FOUR ERAS OR YUGAS
- Yuga- an epoch or era with a four age-cycle.
- Four age cycles or Yugas in ascending order:
(a) Satya Yuga or Krta Yuga equals 1,728,000 years
(b) Treta Yuga equals 1,296,000 years
(c) vapara Yuga equals 864,000 years
(d) Kali Yuga equals 432,000 years
- Presently running Yuga is Kali Yuga, which started at 3102 BC.
- Four Yugas constitute one Mahayuga & equals 4.32 million human years.
- 1,000 Mahayugas in one day of Brahma or 4.32 billion human years.
- Mahakalpa consists of 100 years of Brahma.
(a) Krta Yuga or Satya Yuga: first & golden Yuga; was age of truth & perfection as there existed one religion, and all men were saintly; no agriculture or mining; everyone was happy; no religious sect; no disease or fear of anything.
(b) Treta Yuga: Virtue diminished slightly; wars became frequent & weather begun to change to extremities; agriculture, labour & mining became existent. Average lifespan of humans reduced to 1000-10,000 years.
(c) Dvapara Yuga: People become tainted with Tamasic qualities & were not as strong as their ancestors; diseases became rampant; humans were discontent & fought each other; average lifespan of humans reduced to a few centuries.
(d) Kali Yuga: final age; age of darkness & ignorance. People become sinners & lack virtue. Average lifespan- barely 100 years.
CLASSIFICATION OF INDIAN CALENDAR FORMS
Various forms of calendars based on various eras to which it relates:
1. Vikram Samvat:
- Vikram era started 56 years before Christian era, i.e. around 56 BC & is in force in almost all of India except region of Bengal.
- established by King Vikramaditya of Ujjain to commemorate his victory over Saka rulers.
- Others believe that it was originally instituted by Malawa Ganarajya & so called Malawa Gana era, & was named after Chandragupta Vikramaditya when he conquered Malwa around 400 AD.
- is a lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu calendar,
- is 56.7 years ahead of solar Gregorian calendar.
- new year begins with first day after new moon, in month of Chaitra which usually falls in month of March-April in Gregorian calendar.
- in Nepal, it begins in mid-April & marks the start of solar new year.
- has 354 days in a year divided into 12 months namely Chaitra, Vaisakha, Jyeshtha, Ashadha, Sravana, Bhadrapada, Asvina, Kartika, Margasirhsa, Pausha, Magha & Phalguna.
- For most parts of Indian territory,Vikram era starts with Kartika as first year.
- Each month- divided into two halves (fortnight) - bright half& dark half.
- To adjust difference of 11 days with solar year, after a cycle of every 3 years and every 5 years 13 months and an extra month added is known as Adhik Masa.
- Zero year under Vikram Samvat- 56 BC.
2. Saka Samvat:
- initiated by King Shalivahan in 78 AD.
- also known as Saka era as it is to this tribe that Shalivahan belonged.
- both solar & lunar
- months commence in different periods.
- its year zero begins near vernal equinox of year 78.
- begins on 22nd March every year except in gregorian leap years when it starts on 21 st March, has a year with fixed number of days in each month. names of months in both calendars are the same.
- Saka calendar starts with Chaitra followed by Vaisakha, Jyeshtha, Ashadha, Shravana, Bhadrapada, Ashwina, Kartika, Margshisha, Pausha, Magha and Phalguna.
- Number of days in a saka year is 365.
3. Hijri Calendar:
- has Arabic origin.
- Previously termed as Amulfil & changed to Hijri or hejira after death of Prophet Mohammed.
- 622 A.D became zero year for hijri era.
- a year under it is lunar & is divided into 12 months, having 354 days in a year.
- day commences with a sunset in this calendar.
- was adopted in India during the reign of Muslims rulers.
- 12 months under Hijri era are:
(a) Muharram - first month; any business or travel is prohibited.
(b) Safar - good for travel, business & fighting.
(c) Rabi-al-Awwal - commencement of spring.
(d) Rabi-ath-thani - indicates end of spring.
(e) Jumada-al-ula - commencement of cold season.
(f)Jumada-al-akhirah - conclusion of cold season.
(g) Rajab - to make preparation to fence fields.
(h) Shaban - month of harvesting.
(i) Ramadan - ninth month with excessive heat & people keep fasts for purification of soul.
(j) Sbawwal - a month to go out for hunting.
(k) Dhu - al - Qadah - month to get camels ready for travel.
(l) Dhu - al-Hijjah - last month, dedicated to pilgrimage.
- four months are considered sacred: 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th.
- months are completely lunar
- difference between solar year & lunar year is not adjusted under hijri calendar.
- So it falls short of one year every 33 years compared to Gregorian calendar which is based on solar year.
4. Gregorian Calendar
- based on birthday of Jesus Christ.
- is a solar year commencing from first day of January & consists of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
- device of intercalation was adopted & system of adding a day every four years to February came into vogue.
- year under this calendar form is known as a civil year.
(a) Zoroastrian Calendar era commenced from 632 A.D. & Parsis have two new years, viz., (i) Jamshedi Navroz, corresponding with equinox on March 21, and (ii) Kadmi new year or the Pateti, which falls on August 31st.
NATIONAL CALENDAR OF INDIA
(i) Saka calendar- official civil calendar; National Calendar of India.
(ii) It is used;, through notification in Official Gazette by the Government of India
(iii) Is one of the Hindu calendar & was originally named as Saka Samvat.
(iv) Also used for the calculation of days of religious significance in Hindu Religion.
(v) Was adopted as National Calendar in 1957 by Calendar Reforms Committee set up by Government of India.
(vi) Committee made efforts to co-incide astronomical data & harmonise usage of this calendar after rectification of some local errors.
(vii) Came into use from March 22, 1957 according to the Gregorian calendar which was actually Chaitra 1,1879 according to Saka Samvat.
(viii) Was adopted as National Calendar in order to synchronise usage of 30 different kinds of calendars used in India at that time.