Tamil calendar

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The months of the Tamil calendar Month general.jpg
The months of the Tamil calendar

The Tamil calendar is a sidereal solar calendar used by the Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. [1] [2] It is also used in Puducherry, and by the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mauritius.

Contents

It is used in contemporary times for cultural, religious and agricultural events, [3] with the Gregorian calendar largely used for official purposes both within and outside India. The Tamil calendar is based on the classical Hindu solar calendar also used in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Nepal, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Punjab. [4]

Description

The calendar follows a 60-year cycle that is also very ancient and is observed by most traditional calendars of India and China. This is related to 5 12-year revolutions of Jupiter around the Sun and one that adds up to 60 years and the orbit of Nakshatras (stars) as described in the Surya Siddhanta.

In the Gregorian year 2023, the Tamil year starts on 14 April 2023, Kaliyuga 5125. The Vikrama and Shalivahana (Saka) eras are also used.

There are several references in early Tamil literature to the new year. Nakkeerar, Sangam period author of the Neṭunalvāṭai , wrote in the third century CE that the Sun travels each year from Mesha/Chittirai in mid-April through 11 successive signs of the zodiac. [5] Kūdalūr Kiḻar in the third century CE refers to Mesha Rāsi/Chittirai i.e. mid-April as the commencement of the year in the Puṟanāṉūṟu. [6] [7] The Tolkappiyam is the oldest surviving Tamil grammar text that divides the year into six seasons where Chihthirrai i.e. mid-April marks the start of the Ilavenil season or Summer. [8] The 5th century Silappadhigaaram mentions the 12 rāsigal or zodiac signs that correspond to the Tamil months starting with Mesha/Chittirai in mid-April. [9] The Manimekalai alludes to this very same Hindu solar calendar as we know it today [10] Adiyarkunalaar, an early medieval commentator or Urai-asiriyar mentions the twelve months of the Tamil calendar with particular reference to Chittirai i.e. mid-April. There were subsequent inscriptional references in Pagan, Burma dated to the 11th century CE and in Sukhothai, Thailand dated to the 14th century CE to South Indian, often Vaishnavite, courtiers who were tasked with defining the traditional calendar that began in mid-April. [11]

The Tamil New Year follows the nirayanam vernal equinox [12] [ page needed ] and generally falls on 14 April of the Gregorian year. 14 April marks the first day of the traditional Tamil calendar and is a public holiday in the state of Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. Tropical vernal equinox fall around 22 March, and by adding 23 degrees of trepidation (oscillation) to it, we get the Hindu sidereal or Nirayana Mesha Sankranti (Sun's transition into nirayana Aries). Hence, the Tamil calendar begins on the same date in April which is observed by most traditional calendars of the rest of India – Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Odisha, Manipur, Punjab etc. [13] This also coincides with the traditional new year in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand.

Week

The days of week (Kiḻamai) in the Tamil Calendar relate to the celestial bodies in the solar system: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, in that order. The week starts with Sunday.

TamilTransliterationSanskritPlanet/DeityGregorian Calendar equivalent
ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமைNyayitru-kiḻamaiRavi-vāsara Sun Sunday
திங்கட்கிழமைThingat-kiḻamaiSoma-vāsara Moon Monday
செவ்வாய்க்கிழமைChevvai-kiḻamaiMangala-vāsara Mars Tuesday
புதன்கிழமைBhudhan-kiḻamaiBudha-vāsara Mercury Wednesday
வியாழக்கிழமைVyaḻa-kiḻamaiGuru-vāsara Jupiter Thursday
வெள்ளிக்கிழமைVelli-kiḻamaiŚukra-vāsara Venus Friday
சனிக்கிழமைSani-kiḻamaiŚani-vāsara Saturn Saturday

Months

The number of days in a month varies between 29 and 33. These are the months of the Tamil Calendar.

TamilTransliterationSanskritGregorian Calendar equivalent
சித்திரைChittiraiCaitrāmid-April to mid-May
வைகாசிVaikāsiVaisākhamid-May to mid-June
ஆனிĀniJyeṣṭhamid-June to mid-July
ஆடிĀdiĀshāḍhamid-July to mid-August
ஆவணிĀvaṇiShrāvaṇamid-August to mid-September
புரட்டாசிPuraṭṭāsiBhādrapada/Prauṣṭhapadamid-September to mid-October
ஐப்பசிAippasiAśvīnamid-October to mid-November
கார்த்திகைKārtikaiKārttikamid-November to mid-December
மார்கழிMārgaḻiMārgaṣīrṣamid-December to mid-January
தைThaiPauṣa/Taiṣyamid-January to mid-February
மாசிMāsiMāghamid-February to mid-March
பங்குனிPanguniPhālguṇamid-March to mid-April

The Sanskrit month starts a few weeks ahead of the Tamil month, since the Tamil calendar is a solar calendar, while the Sanskrit calendar is a lunisolar calendar. [14]

Seasons

The Tamil year, in keeping with the old Indic calendar, is divided into six seasons, each of which lasts two months:

Season in TamilTransliterationEnglish TranslationSeason in SanskritSeason in EnglishTamil MonthsGregorian Months
இளவேனில்Ila-venilLight warmthVasantaSpringChittirai, VaikāsiMid Apr – Mid Jun
முதுவேனில்Mudhu-venilHarsh warmthGrishmaSummerĀni, ĀdiMid Jun – Mid Aug
கார்KārDark clouds/RainVarshaMonsoonĀvaṇi, PuraṭṭāsiMid Aug – Mid Oct
குளிர்KulirChill/ColdSharadaAutumnAippasi, KārtikaiMid Oct – Mid Dec
முன்பனிMun-paniEarly mist/DewHemantaWinterMārgaḻi, ThaiMid Dec – Mid Feb
பின்பனிPin-paniLate mist/DewSishiraPrevernalMāsi, PanguniMid Feb – Mid Apr

Sixty-year cycle

The 60-year cycle is common to both North and South Indian traditional calendars, with the same name and sequence of years. Its earliest reference is to be found in Surya Siddhanta, which Varahamihirar (550 CE) believed to be the most accurate of the then current theories of astronomy. However, in the Surya Siddhantic list, the first year was Vijaya and not Prabhava as currently used. There are some parallels in this sexagenary cycle with the Chinese calendar. [15] [16] [17] The Surya Siddhanta and other Indian classical texts on astronomy had some influence on the Chinese calendar [18] although it merits attention that the sexagenary cycle in China is itself very old.

After the completion of sixty years, the calendar starts a new with the first year. This corresponds to the Hindu "century." The Vakya or Tirukannitha Panchangam (the traditional Tamil almanac) outlines this sequence. It is related to the position of the planets in the sky with respect to earth. It means that the two major planets Sani/Saturn (which takes 30 years to complete one cycle round the sun) and the Viyaḻan/Jupiter (which takes 12 years to complete one cycle round the Sun) comes to the same position after 60 years.

The following list presents the current 60-year cycle of the Tamil calendar: [19]

No.NameTransliterationGregorian YearNo.NameTransliterationGregorian Year
01.பிரபவPrabhāva1987–198831.ஹேவிளம்பிHēvilaṃbi2017–2018
02.விபவVibhāva1988–198932.விளம்பிVilaṃbi2018–2019
03.சுக்லŚuklā1989–199033.விகாரிVikāri2019–2020
04.பிரமோதூதPramadutā1990–199134.சார்வரிŚarvarī2020–2021
05.பிரசோற்பத்திPrachopati1991–199235.பிலவPlava2021–2022
06.ஆங்கீரசĀṅgirasa1992–199336.சுபகிருதுŚubhakṛt2022–2023
07.ஸ்ரீமுகŚrīmukha1993–199437.சோபக்ருத்Śobhakṛt2023–2024
08.பவBhava1994–199538.க்ரோதிKrodhī2024–2025
09.யுவYuva1995–199639.விசுவாசுவViśvāvasuva2025–2026
10.தாதுDhātu1996–199740.பரபாவParapāva2026–2027
11.ஈஸ்வரĪśvara1997–199841.ப்லவங்கPlavaṅga2027–2028
12.வெகுதானியVehudānya1998–199942.கீலகKīlaka2028–2029
13.பிரமாதிPramāti1999–200043.சௌம்யSaumya2029–2030
14.விக்ரமVikrama2000–200144.சாதாரணSādhāraṇa2030–2031
15.விஷுViṣu2001–200245.விரோதகிருதுVirodhikṛti2031–2032
16.சித்திரபானுCitrabhānu2002–200346.பரிதாபிParitapi2032–2033
17.சுபானுSubhānu2003–200447.பிரமாதீசPramādīca2033–2034
18.தாரணDhārana2004–200548.ஆனந்தĀnanda2034–2035
19.பார்த்திபPartibhā2005–200649.ராட்சசRākṣasaḥ2035–2036
20.வியViya2006–200750.நளNala2036–2037
21.சர்வஜித்Sarvajit2007–200851.பிங்களPiṅgāla2037–2038
22.சர்வதாரிSarvadhārī2008–200952.காளயுக்திKālayukti2038–2039
23.விரோதிVirodhī2009–201053.சித்தார்த்திSiddhidātrī2039–2040
24.விக்ருதிVikṛti2010–201154.ரௌத்திரிRautrī2040–2041
25.கரKara2011–201255.துன்மதிDhūnmatī2041–2042
26.நந்தனNandhana2012–201356.துந்துபிDundubhi2042–2043
27.விஜயVijaya2013–201457.ருத்ரோத்காரிRudhirōtgāri2043–2044
28.ஜயJaya2014–201558.ரக்தாட்சிRākṣasī2044–2045
29.மன்மதManmatha2015–201659.க்ரோதனKrodhanā2045–2046
30.துன்முகிDhuṇmūkī2016–201760.அட்சயAkṣayā2046–2047

Celebrations

The months of the Tamil Calendar have great significance and are deeply rooted in the faith of Tamil Hindus. Some months are considered very auspicious, while a few are considered inauspicious as well. Tamil months start and end based on the Sun's shift from one Rāsi to the other, but the names of the months are based on the star on the start of Pournami in that month. The name of the month is sometimes the name of the star itself. (e.g. Chittirai is always the star on the Pournami of the Chittirai month).

Some of the celebrations for each month are listed below. Dates in parentheses are not exact and usually vary by a day or two. Underneath (or beside) the months of the Hindu calendar are their Gregorian counterparts. [20] [21]

MonthApprox DatesNotes
சித்திரை – Chittirai 14 April – 13 MayThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Chittirai. Chittirai Pournami & Varusha-Pirappu are the most important festivals in this month. The famous Chittirai Tiruviḻa is celebrated in the Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple. The 14 of April is the Tamil New Year.
வைகாசி – Vaikāsi 14 May – 14 JuneThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Visākam. Vaikāsi Visākam is the most important day of this month. This month is regarded to be sacred to Murugan.
ஆனி – Āni 15 June – 15 JulyThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Anusham. Āni Thirumanjanam or Āni Uththiram for Nataraja is the most famous day in this month.
ஆடி – Ādi 16 July – 16 AugustThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Pooraadam (or) Uthiradam. It is regarded to be an auspicious month for women. The most auspicious days are Fridays and Tuesdays in this month, these are called Ādi Velli and Ādi Chevvaai and the Ādi Ammavaasai. Ādi Pooram is also a holy day. The 18th day of adi is the most important day for the farmers (delta region) they prepare paddy seedlings.
ஆவணி – Āvaṇi 17 August – 16 SeptemberThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Thiruvonam. An important month with many rituals. Brahmins change their sacred thread on Āvaṇi Avittam. Each Sunday of the month is dedicated to prayers – Āvaṇi Gnayiru. Vinayakar Chaturti, the festival of Ganesha is held this month.
புரட்டாசி – Puratāsi 17 September – 16 OctoberThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Poorattathi (or) Uthirattathi. An important month for Vaishnavas. Puratāsi Sani (Saturday) is an auspicious day for Lord Vishnu. Navarathri & Vijayadhashami or Ayuda Pooja is celebrated to invoke the goddesses Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.
ஐப்பசி – Aippasi 17 October – 15 NovemberThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Ashvini. The monsoons typically start over Tamil Nadu this month.

Deepavali is celebrated during this month.

கார்த்திகை – Kārtikai 16 November – 15 DecemberThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Kārtikai. Another auspicious celebration for Shiva devotees is Thirukaarthigai. The Krittika Pournami is the holy day of the full moon in the month of Kārtikai, and the star is Krithikaa.

Each Monday of this month is dedicated to the worship of Shiva.

மார்கழி – Margaḻi 16 December – 13 JanuaryThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Mrigasheersham. This is a sacred month in the Tamil Calendar, especially for Vaishnavas and unmarried women. [22] Arudra Darisanam (Thiruvaadirai star in Tamil) is the most auspicious day in this month. The offering made to Lord Siva is the Thiruvaadirai Kali – a sweet boiled dessert. Mukkodi Ekathesi is called "Paramapadha vaasal Thirappu" for Lord Vishnu. The Thiruvenpaavai and Thiruppaavai fast takes place in this month.
தை – Thai 14 January – 12 FebruaryThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Poosam. Pongal, which is the Tamil harvest festival, is celebrated on the first day of this month. Thaipusam is also a sacred day for Murugan devotees, who carry a kavadi to one of the Arupadaiveedu (Literally meaning "six abodes").
மாசி – Māsi 13 February – 13 MarchThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Magam. Māsi Magam is the holy day that falls during this month. Shivaratri is an important festival widely celebrated by Hindus this month.
பங்குனி – Panguni 14 March – 13 AprilThe nakshatram (star) that is regarded to be ascendant during the pournami (full moon day) of this month is Uththiram. Panguni Uthiram, the last month of the year, is a famous festival and holy to Murugan and Siva devotees.

Significance

Festivals

The Tamil Calendar is important in the life of Tamil-speaking people and most festivals of Tamil Nadu are based on it. Some festivals include:

See also

Related Research Articles

The Hindu calendar, Panchanga or Panjika is one of various lunisolar calendars that are traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with further regional variations for social and Hindu religious purposes. They adopt a similar underlying concept for timekeeping based on sidereal year for solar cycle and adjustment of lunar cycles in every three years, but differ in their relative emphasis to moon cycle or the sun cycle and the names of months and when they consider the New Year to start. Of the various regional calendars, the most studied and known Hindu calendars are the Shalivahana Shaka found in the Deccan region of Southern India and the Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) found in Nepal and the North and Central regions of India – both of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring. In regions such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the solar cycle is emphasized and this is called the Tamil calendar and Malayalam calendar and these have origins in the second half of the 1st millennium CE. A Hindu calendar is sometimes referred to as Panchangam (पञ्चाङ्गम्), which is also known as Panjika in Eastern India.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Panchangam</span> Traditional Hindu calendar

A panchāngam is a Hindu calendar and almanac, which follows traditional units of Hindu timekeeping, and presents important dates and their calculations in a tabulated form. It is sometimes spelled Panchāngamu, Pancanga, Panchanga, Panchaanga, or Panchānga, and is often pronounced Panchāng. Panchangas are used in Jyotisha.

The Buddhist calendar is a set of lunisolar calendars primarily used in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand as well as in Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam by Chinese populations for religious or official occasions. While the calendars share a common lineage, they also have minor but important variations such as intercalation schedules, month names and numbering, use of cycles, etc. In Thailand, the name Buddhist Era is a year numbering system shared by the traditional Thai lunar calendar and by the Thai solar calendar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Puthandu</span> First day of the Tamil calendar

Puthandu, also known as Puthuvarudam, and the Tamil New Year, is the first day of year on the Tamil calendar, traditionally celebrated as a festival by Tamil Hindus. The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chittirai. It falls on or about 14 April every year on the Gregorian calendar. The same day is observed elsewhere in South and South East Asia as the traditional new year, but is known by other names such as Vishu in Kerala, and Vaisakhi or Baisakhi in central and northern India.

Vṛścik‌‌‌a, also referred to as Vrishchika or Vrschika, is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Scorpio, and approximately overlaps with the later half of November and first half of December in the Gregorian calendar.

Samvatsara (संवत्सर) is a Sanskrit term for a "year" in Vedic literature such as the Rigveda and other ancient texts. In the medieval era literature, a samvatsara refers to the "Jovian year", that is a year based on the relative position of the planet Jupiter, while the solar year is called varsha. A jovian year is not equal to a solar year based on the relative position of Earth and Sun.

The Burmese calendar is a lunisolar calendar in which the months are based on lunar months and years are based on sidereal years. The calendar is largely based on an older version of the Hindu calendar, though unlike the Indian systems, it employs a version of the Metonic cycle. The calendar therefore has to reconcile the sidereal years of the Hindu calendar with the Metonic cycle's near tropical years by adding intercalary months and days at irregular intervals.

Karkaṭa, also referred to as Karka or Karkatha, is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Cancer, and overlaps approximately with the later half of July and early half of August in the Gregorian calendar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bengali calendars</span>

The Bengali Calendar or Bangla Calendar, colloquially, is a solar calendar used in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. A revised version of the calendar is the national and official calendar in Bangladesh and an earlier version of the calendar is followed in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam. The New Year in the Bengali calendar is known as Pôhela Boishakh.

Tirhuta Panchang is a calendar followed by the Maithili community of India and Nepal. This calendar is one of the many Hindu calendars. It is a tropical solar Hindu calendar in which the year begins on the first day of Baishakh month i.e. Mesh Sankranti. Every year, this day falls on 13/14 April of the Gregorian Calendar

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mesha (month)</span> Month in Indian lunisolar calendars

Meṣa, or Mesha (मेष), is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Aries, and overlaps with about the second half of April and about the first half of May in the Gregorian calendar. Generally Mesha month starts on 13th or 14th of April, called as Mesha Sankranti.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vṛṣabha</span> Month in Indian lunisolar calendars

Vṛṣabha, or Vrishabha, is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Taurus, and overlaps with about the second half of May and about the first half of June in the Gregorian calendar. The first day of the month is called Vrishbha Sankranti, and it generally falls on May 14th or 15th.

Siṃha is one of the twelve months in the Indian solar calendar.

Kanyā is one of the twelve months in the Indian solar calendar.

Tulā is one of the twelve months in the Indian solar calendar.

Mīna, or Meena, is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Pisces, and overlaps with about the later half of March and about the early half of April in the Gregorian calendar. First day of the Meena month, called as Meena Sankranti generally falls on March 14th.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mesha Sankranti</span> Solar New Year in the Hindu calendar

Mesha Sankranti refers to the first day of the solar cycle year, that is the solar New Year in the Hindu luni-solar calendar. The Hindu calendar also has a lunar new year, which is religiously more significant. The solar cycle year is significant in Assamese, Odia, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Bengali calendars.

Mithuna is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Gemini, and overlaps with about the second half of June and about the first half of July in the Gregorian calendar.

Makara is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Capricorn, and overlaps with about the later half of January and approximately early half of February in the Gregorian calendar.

Kumbha is a month in the Indian solar calendar. It corresponds to the zodiacal sign of Aquarius, and overlaps with about the second half of February and about the first half of March in the Gregorian calendar.

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