Tamil calendar

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The Tamil calendar is a sidereal Hindu 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. Tamil Nadu farmers greatly refer to this. It is used today 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]

Contents

The calendar follows a 60-year cycle which is also very ancient and is observed by most traditional calendars of India and China. This is related to 5 revolutions of Jupiter around the Sun and to 60-year orbit of Nakshatras (stars) as mentioned in Surya Siddhanta.[ citation needed ]

In the Gregorian Year 2022 the Tamil year starts on 14 April 2022, Kaliyuga 5124. Vikrama and Shalivahana Saka eras are also used.

There are several references in early Tamil literature to the new year. Nakkirar, Sangam period author of the Neṭunalvāṭai , wrote in the third century CE that the Sun travels each year from Mesha/Chitterai in mid-April through 11 successive signs of the zodiac. [5] Kūdalūr Kizhaar in the third century CE refers to Mesha Raasi/Chitterai i.e. mid-April as the commencement of the year in the Puṟanāṉūṟu. [6] [7] The Tolkaapiyam is the oldest surviving Tamil grammar text that divides the year into six seasons where Chitterai i.e. mid-April marks the start of the Ilavenil season or Summer. [8] The 5th century Silappadikaaram mentions the 12 Raasis or zodiac signs that correspond to the Tamil months starting with Mesha/Chitterai 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 Chitterai 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 system [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 (Kizhamai) 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.

in TamilTransliterationIn SanskritLord or PlanetGregorian Calendar equivalent
ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமைNyayitru-kizhamaiRavi-vaasaraSunSunday
திங்கட்கிழமைthingat-kizhamaiSoma-vaasaraMoonMonday
செவ்வாய்க்கிழமைChevvai-kizhamaiMangala-vaasaraMarsTuesday
புதன்கிழமைbhudhan-kizhamaiBudan -vaasaraMercuryWednesday
வியாழக்கிழமைvyazha-kizhamaiGuru VaasaraJupiterThursday
வெள்ளிக்கிழமைVeLLi-kizhamaiSukra-vaasaraVenusFriday
சனிக்கிழமைsani-kizhamaiShani-vaasaraSaturnSaturday

Months

The months of the Tamil calendar are named similar to the chandramasa of the Hindu vedic calendar, but they correspond to the sauramasa of the Hindu vedic calendar. The number of days in a month varies between 29 and 32. These are the months of the Tamil Calendar.

In TamilTransliterationNamed after (chandramasa) *Corresponds to (sauramasa)Gregorian Calendar equivalent
சித்திரைCittirai Chaitra Mesha mid-April to mid-May
வைகாசிVaikāsi Vaisakha Vrshabha mid-May to mid-June
ஆனிĀni Jyaishtha Mithuna mid-June to mid-July
ஆடிĀdi Ashadha Karkataka mid-July to mid-August
ஆவணிĀvaṇi Shravaṇa Simha mid-August to mid-September
புரட்டாசிPuraṭṭāsi Bhadrapada /Prauṣṭhapada Kanya mid-September to mid-October
ஐப்பசிAippasi Ashwina /Ashvayuja Tula mid-October to mid-November
கார்த்திகைKārttikai Karttika Vrschika mid-November to mid-December
மார்கழிMārkazhi Margaṣirṣa Dhanu mid-December to mid-January
தைTai Pausha /Taiṣya Makara mid-January to mid-February
மாசிMāsi Magha Kumbha mid-February to mid-March
பங்குனிPaṅkuni Phalguna Meena mid-March to mid-April

Note: The chandramasa starts a few weeks ahead of the Tamil month since the Tamil calendar is a solar calendar while the chandramasa is, by definition, lunar. [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 warmthVasantaSpringchithirai, vaigāsiMid Apr – Mid Jun
முதுவேனில்mutu-venilHarsh warmthGrishmaSummerāni, ādiMid Jun – Mid Aug
கார்kaarDark clouds, RainVarshaMonsoonāvani, puratāciMid Aug – Mid Oct
குளிர்kulirChill / ColdSharadaAutumnaippasi, kārthigaiMid Oct – Mid Dec
முன்பனிmun-paniEarly mist / dewHemantaWintermārkazhi, taiMid 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 Viyazhan/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.NameName (English)Gregorian YearNo.NameName (English)Gregorian Year
01.பிரபவPrabhava1987–198831.ஹேவிளம்பிHevilambi2017–2018
02.விபவVibhava1988–198932.விளம்பிVilambi2018–2019
03.சுக்லSukla1989–199033.விகாரிVikari2019–2020
04.பிரமோதூதPramodoota1990–199134.சார்வரிSarvari2020–2021
05.பிரசோற்பத்திPrachorpaththi1991–199235.பிலவPlava2021–2022
06.ஆங்கீரசAangirasa1992–199336.சுபகிருதுSubakrith2022–2023
07.ஸ்ரீமுகSrimukha1993–199437.சோபக்ருத்Sobakrith2023–2024
08.பவBhava1994–199538.க்ரோதிKrodhi2024–2025
09.யுவYuva1995–199639.விசுவாசுவVisuvaasuva2025–2026
10.தாதுDhaatu1996–199740.பரபாவParabhaava2026–2027
11.ஈஸ்வரEesvara1997–199841.ப்லவங்கPlavanga2027–2028
12.வெகுதானியVehudhanya1998–199942.கீலகKeelaka2028–2029
13.பிரமாதிPramathi1999–200043.சௌம்யSaumya2029–2030
14.விக்ரமVikrama2000–200144.சாதாரணSadharana2030–2031
15.விஷுVishu2001–200245.விரோதகிருதுVirodhikrithu2031–2032
16.சித்திரபானுChitrabaanu2002–200346.பரிதாபிParidhaabi2032–2033
17.சுபானுSubhaanu2003–200447.பிரமாதீசPramaadheesa2033–2034
18.தாரணDhaarana2004–200548.ஆனந்தAanandha2034–2035
19.பார்த்திபPaarthiba2005–200649.ராட்சசRakshasa2035–2036
20.வியViya2006–200750.நளNala2036–2037
21.சர்வஜித்Sarvajith2007–200851.பிங்களPingala2037–2038
22.சர்வதாரிSarvadhaari2008–200952.காளயுக்திKalayukthi2038–2039
23.விரோதிVirodhi2009–201053.சித்தார்த்திSiddharthi2039–2040
24.விக்ருதிVikruthi2010–201154.ரௌத்திரிRaudhri2040–2041
25.கரKara2011–201255.துன்மதிDunmathi2041–2042
26.நந்தனNandhana2012–201356.துந்துபிDhundubhi2042–2043
27.விஜயVijaya2013–201457.ருத்ரோத்காரிRudhrodhgaari2043–2044
28.ஜயJaya2014–201558.ரக்தாட்சிRaktaakshi2044–2045
29.மன்மதManmatha2015–201659.க்ரோதனKrodhana2045–2046
30.துன்முகிDhunmuki2016–201760.அட்சயAkshaya2046–2047

Celebrations

The months of the Tamil Calendar have great significance and are deeply rooted in the faith of the 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 Rasi 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 some times the name of the star itself. (e.g. Chithrai is always the star on the Pournami of the Chithirai 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 – Chithirai 14 April – 13 MayStar on the Pournami: Chithirai. Chitra Pournami & Varusha pirappu are the most important festivals in this month. Famous Chithirai Thiruvizha is celebrated in Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple. 14 April is the Tamil New Year.
வைகாசி – Vaikaasi 14 May – 14 JuneStar on the Pournami: Visaagam. Vaikaasi Visaakam is the most important day in this month.This month is most favorable month of Lord Subramainya (Murga Kadavul). Thirumangalam[Madurai] Shri Pathrakali Mariamman Temple 13day Vaigasi Festival starts at Sunday followed by vaigasi ammavasai[new moon day].
ஆனி – Aani 15 June – 15 JulyStar on the Pournami: Anusham. Aani Thirumanjanam or Aani Uttaram for Lord Nataraja is the most famous day in this month.
ஆடி – Aadi 16 July – 16 AugustStar on the Pournami: Pooraadam (or) Uthiraadam. A most important month for women. The most auspicious days are Fridays and Tuesdays in this month, these are called Aadi Velli and Aadi Chevvai and the Aadi Amavasya. Aadi Pooram is also a special day.18th day of adi is the most important day for the farmers (delta region) they prepare paddy seedlings.during this month "kanchi varthal" is famous in amman temples
ஆவணி – Aavani 17 August – 16 SeptemberStar on the Pournami: Thiruvonam. An important month with many rituals. Brahmins change their sacred thread on Aavani Avittam. Each Sunday of the month is dedicated to prayers – Aavani Gnayiru., Ganesh Chaturthi the festival of lord ganesha is held in this month
புரட்டாசி – Purattaasi 17 September – 16 OctoberStar on the Pournami: Poorattathi (or) Uthirattathi. An important month for Vaishnavas. Purattaasi Sani(Saturday) is an auspicious day for Lord Vishnu. Navarathri & Vijayadhashami or Ayuda Pooja is celebrated to invoke Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi.
ஐப்பசி – Aippasi 17 October – 15 NovemberStar on the Pournami: Ashwini. The monsoons typically start over Tamil Nadu in this month. Hence the saying, "Aippasi Mazhai, adai mazhai" – meaning "Aippasi rains are persistent rains".

Also Annaabishekam for Lord Shiva is very famous in this month. The most famous Hindu festival "Deepavali" is celebrated in this month. The Fridays of this month – Aipassi velli – are dedicated to religious observance.

கார்த்திகை – Karthikai 16 November – 15 DecemberStar on the Pournami: Karthikai. Another auspicious celebration for Shiva devotees is Thirukaarthigai. The Krithikaa Pournami is the special day of the full moon in the month of Kaarthikai, and the star is Krithikaa.

Each Monday of this month is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. Every Monday is called "Somavaaram" when 108 or 1008 sangabhishekam are offered to Lord Shiva and Lord Muruga.

மார்கழி – Maargazhi 16 December – 13 JanuaryStar on the Pournami: Mrigasheersham. This is another special month in the Tamil Calendar. Temples open earlier in the mornings and Devotees throng the temples early for puja and prasadam – the offering made to the deity which is later distributed to the devotees. 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 pudding. Mukkodi Ekathesi is called "Paramapadha vaasal Thirappu" for Lord Vishnu. The Tiruvembaavai and Thirupaavai fast takes place in this month.
தை – Thai 14 January – 12 FebruaryStar on the Pournami: Poosam. Pongal, which is the Tamil harvest festival, is celebrated on the first day of this month. Thaipusam is also a special day for Murugan devotees, who carry Kavadi to one of the Aarupadaiveedu (Literally meaning "six abodes").
மாசி – Maasi 13 February – 13 MarchStar on the Pournami: Magam. Maasi Magam is the special day of which comes in this Month. Shivaratri is an important festival widely celebrated by Hindus in this month.
பங்குனி – Panguni 14 March – 13 AprilStar on the Pournami: Uththiram. Panguni Uthiram, the last month of the year, is a famous festival and special 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

One day was even dedicated to a celebration of the Tamil alphabet and was called "ezhuthu naal'.

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 South-east 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, however also 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, Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) found in Nepal, North and Central regions of India – all of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring. In contrast, in regions such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the solar cycle is emphasized and this is called the Tamil Calendar and Malayalam calendar, their new year starts in autumn, and these have origins in the second half of the 1st millennium CE. A Hindu calendar is sometimes referred to as Panchangam (पञ्चाङ्ग), which is known also known as Panjika in Eastern India.

Panchangam

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 mainly South and Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand as well as in Chinese populations of Malaysia and Singapore 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 lunisolar calendar and by the Thai solar calendar.

Puthandu First day of the Tamil calendar

Puthandu, also known as Puthuvarudam or Tamil New Year, is the first day of year on the Tamil calendar and traditionally celebrated as a festival. The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai. 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.

Sangam period Period in the history of ancient southern India

The Sangam period or age, or the third Sangam period, is the period of history of ancient Tamil Nadu, Kerala and parts of Sri Lanka spanning from c. 6th century BCE to c. 3rd century CE. It was named after the famous Sangam academies of poets and scholars centered in the city of Madurai.

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.

Bengali calendars

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 Pohela 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

Mesha (month) 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.

Vṛṣabha 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.

Mesha Sankranti 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.

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.

The traditional New Year in many South and Southeast Asian cultures is based on the sun's entry into the constellation Aries. In modern times, it is usually reckoned around the 14th of April.

References

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