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The Tibetan calendar (Tibetan : ལོ་ཐོ, Wylie : lo-tho) is a lunisolar calendar, that is, the Tibetan year is composed of either 12 or 13 lunar months, each beginning and ending with a new moon. A thirteenth month is added every two or three years, so that an average Tibetan year is equal to the solar year.
The Tibetan alphabet is an abugida used to write the Tibetic languages such as Tibetan, as well as Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Ladakhi, and sometimes Balti. The printed form of the alphabet is called uchen script while the hand-written cursive form used in everyday writing is called umê script.
The Wylie transliteration system is a method for transliterating Tibetan script using only the letters available on a typical English language typewriter. It bears the name of Turrell V. Wylie, who described the scheme in an article, A Standard System of Tibetan Transcription, published in 1959. It has subsequently become a standard transliteration scheme in Tibetan studies, especially in the United States.
A lunisolar calendar is a calendar in many cultures whose date indicates both the Moon phase and the time of the solar year. If the solar year is defined as a tropical year, then a lunisolar calendar will give an indication of the season; if it is taken as a sidereal year, then the calendar will predict the constellation near which the full moon may occur. As with all calendars which divide the year into months there is an additional requirement that the year have a whole number of months. In this case ordinary years consist of twelve months but every second or third year is an embolismic year, which adds a thirteenth intercalary, embolismic, or leap month.
The Tibetan New Year celebration is Losar (Tibetan : ལོ་གསར་, Wylie : lo-gsar). According to almanacs the year starts with the third Hor month. There were many different traditions in Tibet to fix the beginning of the year. The dates of Mongolian calendar are all the same with it.
New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count increments by one.
Losar is a festival in Tibetan Buddhism. The holiday is celebrated on various dates depending on location tradition. The holiday is a new year's festival, celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetan calendar, which corresponds to a date in February or March in the Gregorian calendar. In 2018, the new year commenced on the 16th of February and celebrations will run until the 18th of the same month. It also commenced the Year of the Male Earth Dog.
The traditional Mongol calendar is a lunisolar calendar based on Tegus Buyantu zurkhai system developed in 1747 by monk Ishbaljir. The Mongol year is composed of either 12 or 13 lunar months, each beginning and ending with a new moon. A thirteenth month is added every two or three years, so that an average year is equal to the solar year.
There were different traditions of naming years (Tibetan : ལོ་, Wylie : lo) in Tibet. From the 12th century onwards, we observe the usage of two sixty-year cycles. The 60-year cycle is known as the Vṛhaspati cycle and was first introduced into Tibet by an Indian Buddhist by the name of Chandranath and Tsilu Pandit in 1025 CE. The first cycle is the rabjyung (Tibetan : རབ་བྱུང༌།, Wylie : rab byung) cycle. The first year of the first rabjyung cycle started in 1027. This cycle was adopted from India. The second cycle was derived from China and was called Drukchu kor (Tibetan : དྲུག་ཅུ་སྐོར།, Wylie : drug cu skor, Sanskrit Vrhaspati). The first year of the first Drukchu kor cycle started in 1024. The cycles were counted by ordinal numbers, but the years within the cycles were never counted but referred to by special names. The structure of the drukchu kor was as follows: Each year is associated with an animal and an element, similar to the Chinese zodiac. Animals have the following order:
In linguistics, ordinal numbers are words representing position or rank in a sequential order; the order may be of size, importance, chronology, and so on. They differ from cardinal numerals, which represent quantity and other types of numerals. In traditional grammar, all numerals, including ordinal numerals, are grouped into a separate part of speech ; however, in modern interpretations of English grammar, ordinal numerals are usually conflated with adjectives.
The Chinese zodiac is a classification scheme that assigns an animal and its reputed attributes to each year in a repeating 12-year cycle. The 12-year cycle is an approximation to the 11.85-year orbital period of Jupiter.. It and its variations remain popular in many Asian countries including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, and Thailand.
Elements have the following order:
Each element is associated with two consecutive years, first in its male aspect, then in its female aspect. For example, a male Earth-Dragon year is followed by a female Earth-Snake year, then by a male Iron-Horse year. The sex may be omitted, as it can be inferred from the animal.
The Dragon is the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dragon is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 辰, pronounced chen.
The Snake (蛇) is the sixth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Snake is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 巳.
The Horse (⾺) is the seventh of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. There is a long tradition of the Horse in Chinese mythology. Certain characteristics of the Horse nature are supposed to be typical of or to be associated with either a year of the Horse and its events, or in regard to the personality of someone born in such a year. Horse aspects can also enter by other chronomantic factors or measures, such as hourly.
The element-animal designations recur in cycles of 60 years (a Sexagenary cycle), starting with a (male) Wood-Rat year. These large cycles are numbered, the first cycle starting in 1024. Therefore, 2005 roughly corresponds to the (female) Wood-Rooster year of the 17th cycle. The first year of the sixty-year cycle of Indian origin (1027) is called rab-byung (same name as the designation of the cycle) and is equivalent to the (female) fire-Rabbit year.
The sexagenary cycle, also known as the Stems-and-Branches or ganzhi, is a cycle of sixty terms used for reckoning time in China and the rest of the East Asian cultural sphere. It appears as a means of recording days in the first Chinese written texts, the Shang oracle bones of the late second millennium BC. Its use to record years began around the middle of the 3rd century BC. The cycle and its variations have been an important part of the traditional calendrical systems in Chinese-influenced Asian states and territories, particularly those of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, with the old Chinese system still in use in Taiwan.
The Rat (子) is the first of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rat is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 子.
The Rooster is the tenth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rooster is represented by the Earthly Branch symbol 酉. The name is translated into English as Chicken.
|Year (Gregorian)||Year according to rabjyung||Wylie||Element||Animal||Sex|
|2008||rabjyung 17 lo 22||sa mo glang||Earth||Rat||male|
|2009||rabjyung 17 lo 23||sa pho khyi||Earth||Ox||female|
|2010||rabjyung 17 lo 24||lcags pho stag||Iron||Tiger||male|
|2011||rabjyung 17 lo 25||lcags mo yos||Iron||Hare||female|
|2012||rabjyung 17 lo 26||chu pho 'brug||Water||Dragon||male|
|2013||rabjyung 17 lo 27||chu mo sbrul||Water||Snake||female|
|2014||rabjyung 17 lo 28||shing pho rta||Wood||Horse||male|
|2015||rabjyung 17 lo 29||shing mo lug||Wood||Sheep||female|
Three relatively modern notations of cardinal numbers are used for Tibetan years.
In linguistics, more precisely in traditional grammar, a cardinal number or cardinal numeral is a part of speech used to count, such as the English words one, two, three, but also compounds, e.g. three hundred and forty-two or three hundred forty-two. Cardinal numbers are classified as definite numerals and are related to ordinal numbers, such as first, second, third, etc.
On Tibetan banknotes from the first half of the 20th century cardinal numbers can be seen, with year 1 in 255 CE, which is a reference to the legendary 28th Emperor of Tibet, Thothori Nyantsen.
Since the second half of the 20th century another year notation has been used, where the year of, for example, 2009 coincides with the Tibetan year of 2136. This relatively modern year notation is referred to as Bö Gyello (bod rgyal lo). In this era the first year is 127 BCE, dated to the legendary progenitor of the Yarlung dynasty, Nyatri Tsenpo.
In Tibetan calendars of the second half of the 20th century and on Tibetan coins cardinal year numbers are found with the indication of raplo, where the first year coincides with the first year of the rabjyung-cycle, that is 1027. Rab lo 928, for example, is the year of 1954 on the western Gregorian calendar.
|Year (Gregorian)|| Epoch |
|From about February/March 2009||2136||1755||983|
|From about February/March 2010||2137||1756||984|
|From about February/March 2011||2138||1757||985|
|From about February/March 2012||2139||1758||986|
During the time of the Tibetan Empire (7th – 9th century) Tibetan months (Tibetan : ཟླ་བ་, Wylie : zla ba) were named according to the four seasons:
From the 12th century onwards each month has been named by the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac:
With the introduction of the calendar of the Kalacakratantra in the second half of the 11th century, months were also named via lunar mansions within which, roughly speaking, a full moon took place each month:
In the second half of the 13th century the famous ruler Drogön Chögyal Phagpa introduced the system of counting the month by ordinal numbers, the so-called Hor "Mongolian" month:
All these systems of counting or naming months were used up to modern times.
There are three different types of days (zhag), the khyim zhag, the tshes zhag and the nyin zhag.
The first two of these days are astronomical days. The time needed for the mean sun to pass through one of the twelve traditional signs of the zodiac (the twelve khyim) is called khyim zla (solar month). One-thirtieth of one solar month (khyim zla) is one khyim zhag, which might be called a zodiacal day, because there is no equivalent name in Western terminology.
The time needed by the moon to elongate 12 degrees from the sun and every 12 degrees thereafter is one tithi (tshes zhag, "lunar day"). The lengths of such lunar days vary considerably due to variations in the movements of the moon and sun.
Thirty lunar days form one lunar or synodic month (tshes zla), the period from new moon to new moon. This is equal to the time needed for the moon to elongate 360 degrees from the sun (sun to sun). The natural day (nyin zhag) is defined by Tibetans as the period from dawn to dawn. Strictly speaking, the months appearing in a Tibetan almanac, called by us Tibetan calendar months, are not the same as lunar or synodic months (tshes zla), which can begin and end at any time of day. In Tibetan, there is no special term for a calendar month containing whole days. These calendar months are just called zla ba (month).
A Tibetan calendar month normally starts with the week day or natural day (gza' or nyin zhag) in which the first tithi (tshes zhag) ends. A Tibetan calendar month normally ends with the week day or natural day (gza' or nyin zhag) in which the 30th tithi (tshes zhag) ends. In consequence, a Tibetan calendar month (zla ba) comprises 29 or 30 natural days. In the sequence of natural days or week days, there are no omitted days or days that occur twice. But since these days are also named by the term tshes together with a cardinal number, it happens that certain numbers or dates (the corresponding tithi) do not occur at all (chad) or appear twice (lhag). The tithi are counted from 1 to 30 and it can happen that a Monday with the lunar day number 1 (tshes gcig) is followed by a Tuesday with the moon day number 3 (tshes gsum). On the other hand, a Monday with the lunar day number 1 (tshes gcig) may be followed by a Tuesday with the lunar day number 1 (tshes gcig). In other words, it happens quite often that certain dates do not appear in the Tibetan almanac and certain dates occur twice. But there are no natural days or week days that occur twice or which are omitted.
The days of the week (Tibetan : གཟའ, Wylie : gza') are named for astronomical objects.[ citation needed ]
|Day||Tibetan (Wylie)||Phonetic transcription||Object|
|Sunday||གཟའ་ཉི་མ་ (gza' nyi ma)||nyima||Sun|
|Monday||གཟའ་ཟླ་བ་ (gza' zla wa)||dawa||Moon|
|Tuesday||གཟའ་མིག་དམར་ (gza' mig dmar)||Mikmar||Mars|
|Wednesday||གཟའ་ལྷག་པ་ (gza' lhak pa)||Lhakpa||Mercury|
|Thursday||གཟའ་ཕུར་བུ། (gza' phur bu)||Purbu||Jupiter|
|Friday||གཟའ་པ་སངས་ (gza' pa sangs)||Pasang||Venus|
|Saturday||གཟའ་སྤེན་པ་ (gza' spen ba)||Penba||Saturn|
Nyima "Sun", Dawa "Moon" and Lhakpa "Mercury" are common personal names for people born on Sunday, Monday or Wednesday respectively.
During the time of the Yarlung dynasty, years were named after the 12 animals common in the Chinese zodiac. The month were named according to the four seasons of a year and the year started in summer.
The translation of the Kalachakratantra in the second half of the 11th century CE marked the beginning of a complete change for the calendar in Tibet. The first chapter of this book contains among others a description of an Indian astronomical calendar and descriptions of the calculations to determine the length of the five planets and the sun and moon eclipses.
According to the Buddhist tradition, the original teachings of the Kalacakra were taught by Buddha himself. Nevertheless, it took more than two hundred years until the Kalacakra calendar was officially introduced as the official Tibetan calendar by the ruler Drogön Chögyal Phagpa in the second half of the 13th century. Although this calendar was changed many times during the subsequent centuries, it kept its original character as a luni-solar calendar of Indian origin.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tibetan calendars .|
A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases, in contrast to solar calendars, whose annual cycles are based only directly upon the solar year. The most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar system that originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system. A purely lunar calendar is also distinguished from a lunisolar calendar, whose lunar months are brought into alignment with the solar year through some process of intercalation. The details of when months begin varies from calendar to calendar, with some using new, full, or crescent moons and others employing detailed calculations.
Longchen Rabjampa, Drimé Özer, commonly abbreviated to Longchenpa (1308–1364), was a major teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Along with Sakya Pandita and Je Tsongkhapa, he is commonly recognized as one of the three main manifestations of Manjushri to have taught in Central Tibet. His major work is the Seven Treasuries, which encapsulates the previous 600 years of Buddhist thought in Tibet. Longchenpa was a critical link in the exoteric and esoteric transmission of the Dzogchen teachings. He was abbot of Samye, one of Tibet's most important monasteries and the first Buddhist monastery established in the Himalaya, but spent most of his life travelling or in retreat.
Hindu calendar is a collective term for the various lunisolar calendars traditionally used in India. They adopt a similar underlying concept for timekeeping, 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 South India, Vikram Samvat (Bikrami) found in North and Central regions of India, Tamil calendar used in Tamil Nadu, and the Bengali calendar used in the Bengal – all of which emphasize the lunar cycle. Their new year starts in spring, with their heritage dating back to 1st millennium BCE. In contrast, in regions such as Kerala, the solar cycle is emphasized and this is called the 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 Panchanga (पञ्चाङ्ग).
A panchānga 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 Pancanga, Panchanga, Panchaanga, or Panchānga, and is pronounced Panchānga. Pachangas are used in Jyotisha.
The Kalachakra is a term used in Vajrayana Buddhism that means "wheel(s) of time".
Vikram Samvat ;
The Vira Nirvana Samvat (era) is a calendar era beginning on 15 October 527 BCE. It commemorates the Nirvana of Lord Mahaviraswami, the 24th Jain Tirthankara. This is one of the oldest system of chronological reckoning which is still used in India.
Longdé is the name of one of three scriptural divisions within Dzogchen, which is itself the pinnacle of the ninefold division of practice according to the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Mahāyoga is the designation of the first of the three Inner Tantras according to the ninefold division of practice used by the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Anuyoga is the designation of the second of the three Inner Tantras according to the ninefold division of practice used by the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. As with the other yanas, Anuyoga represents both a scriptural division as well as a specific emphasis of both view and practice.
Paksha refers to a fortnight or a lunar phase in a month of the Hindu lunar calendar.
Tradruk Temple in the Yarlung Valley is the earliest great geomantic temple after the Jokhang and some sources say it predates that temple.
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.
Nam Cho translates as the "sky/space dharma", a terma cycle especially popular among the Palyul lineage of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. It was revealed by the tertön Namchö Migyur Dorje, transmitted to Kunzang Sherab and compiled by the Kagyu school master Karma Chagme.
Vima Nyingthig, "Seminal Heart of Vimalamitra", is one of the two "seminal heart" collections of the menngagde cycle Dzogchen, the other one being "Seminal Heart of the Dakini". Traditionally the teachings are ascribed to Vimalamitra, but they were codified and collated by their Tibetan discoverers in the 11th and 12th century.
The Union of the Sun and Moon is one of the Seventeen tantras of the esoteric instruction cycle which are a suite of tantras known variously as: Nyingtik, Upadesha or Menngagde within Dzogchen discourse.
"This tantra shows which experience a person undergoes in the intermediate state, the bardo, after passing away. It teaches how to resolve one's master's oral instructions during the bardo of this life, how to stabilize awareness during the bardo of dying, how to attain enlightenment through recognizing awareness during the bardo of dharmata, and, if necessary, how to be assured a rebirth in a natural nirmanakaya realm during the bardo of becoming and there reveal buddhahood without further rebirths."
Nyingma Gyubum is the Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga Tantras of the Nyingma lineage.
Public holidays in Bhutan consist of both national holidays and local festivals or tshechus. While national holidays are observed throughout Bhutan, tsechus are only observed in their areas. Bhutan uses its own calendar, a variant of the lunisolar Tibetan calendar. Because it is a lunisolar calendar, dates of some national holidays and most tshechus change from year to year. For example, the new year, Losar, generally falls between February and March.
In lunar calendars, a lunar month is the time between two successive syzygies. The precise definition varies, especially for the beginning of the month.