Tamil calendar

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The Tamil calendar is a sidereal calendar used in Tamil Nadu, India.[1][2] It is also used in Puducherry, and by the Tamil population in Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. 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 lunisolar calendar also used in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Nepal, Odisha, Rajasthan and Punjab.

There are several festivals based on the Tamil Hindu calendar. The Tamil New Year follows the nirayanam vernal equinox[4] and generally falls on 14 April of the Gregorian year. 14 April marks the first day of the traditional Tamil calendar and this remains a public holiday in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Tropical vernal equinox fall around 22 March, and adding 23 degrees of trepidation or 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.[5] This also coincides with the traditional new year in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Nepal and Thailand. The 60-year cycle is also very ancient and is observed by most traditional calendars of India and China, and is related to 5 revolutions of Jupiter according to popular belief, or to 60-year orbit of Nakshatras (stars) as mentioned in Surya Siddhanta.

The traditional Tamil year starts on 14 April 2017, Kaliyuga 5119. Vikrama and Shalivahana Saka eras are also used. There are several references in early Tamil literature to the April new year. Nakkirar, the author of the Nedunalvaadai writes in the 3rd century that the Sun travels from Mesha/Chitterai through 11 successive Raasis or signs of the zodiac.[6] Kūdalūr Kizhaar in the 3rd century refers to Mesha Raasi/Chitterai as the commencement of the year in the Puranaanooru.[7][8] The Tolkaapiyam is the oldest surviving Tamil grammar that divides the year into six seasons where Chitterai marks the start of the Ilavenil season or summer. The 8th century Silappadikaaram mentions the 12 Raasis or zodiac signs starting with Mesha/Chitterai.[9] The Manimekalai alludes to the Hindu solar calendar as we know it today. Adiyaarkunalaar, an early medieval commentator or Urai-asiriyar, mentions the 12 months of the Tamil Hindu calendar with particular reference to Chitterai. 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.[10]

Week[edit]

The days of 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.[citation needed]

This list compiles the days of the week in the Tamil calendar:[citation needed]

No. Kizhamai (Tamil) Weekday (Transliteration) Lord or Planet Gregorian Calendar equivalent
01. ஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமை ñyaitrṟu-kizhamai Sun (ஞாயிறு) Sunday
02. திங்கட்கிழமை thingat-kizhamai Moon (திங்கள்,சந்திரன்) Monday
03. செவ்வாய்க்கிழமை chevvāi-kizhamai Mars (செவ்வாய், Red Planet) Tuesday
04. புதன்கிழமை bhudhan-kizhamai Mercury(புதன்

)

Wednesday
05. வியாழக்கிழமை vyazhak-kizhamai Jupiter(குரு) Thursday
06. வெள்ளிக்கிழமை veḷḷik-kizhamai Venus(சுக்ரன்) Friday
07. சனிக்கிழமை sanik-kizhamai Saturn(சனி) Saturday

For Tamils, each day begins at the sunrise.[citation needed]

Months[edit]

The number of days in a month varies between 29 and 32.[citation needed]

The following list compiles the months of the Tamil Calendar.[citation needed]

No. Month (Tamil) Month (Transliteration) Gregorian Calendar equivalent
1. சித்திரை Citthirai mid-April to mid-May
2. வைகாசி Vaikasi mid-May to mid-June
3. ஆனி Aani mid-June to mid-July
4. ஆடி Aadi mid-July to mid-August
5. ஆவணி Āvaṇi mid-August to mid-September
6. புரட்டாசி Puraṭṭāsi mid-September to mid-October
7. ஐப்பசி Aippasi mid-October to mid-November
8. கார்த்திகை Kārttikai mid-November to mid-December
9. மார்கழி Mārkazhi mid-December to mid-January
10. தை Thai mid-January to mid-February
11. மாசி Māsi mid-February to mid-March
12. பங்குனி Pankuni mid-March to mid-April

Note: The Tamil calendar is a solar calendar while the Sanskrit calendar is a lunisolar calendar.[11]

Seasons[edit]

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

Season in Tamil English Transliteration English Translation Seasons Tamil Months Gregorian Months
இளவேனில் ila-venil Light warmth Spring chithirai, vaigāsi Mid Apr - Mid Jun
முதுவேனில் muthu-venil Harsh warmth Summer āni, ādi Mid Jun - Mid Aug
கார் kaar Dark clouds, Rain Monsoon āvani, puratāci Mid Aug - Mid Oct
குளிர் kulir Chill / Cold Autumn aippasi, kārthigai Mid Oct - Mid Dec
முன்பனி mun-pani Early mist / dew Winter mārkazhi, tai Mid Dec - Mid Feb
பின்பனி pin-pani Late mist / dew Prevernal māsi, panguni Mid Feb - Mid Apr

Tamil Calendar[edit]

The Tamil calendar(Thiruvalluvar calendar), which is +31 years of the Georgian calendar.யுவ வருடம் மார்கழி மாதம் 16 ம் தேதி

Celebrations[edit]

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 (full moon) 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).[citation needed]

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.[12][13]

Month Approx Dates Notes
சித்திரை - Chithirai 14 April - 13 May Star 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.
வைகாசி - Vaikaasi 14 May - 14 June Star 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[no moon day].
ஆனி - Aani 15 June - 15 July Star 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 August Star 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 September Star 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.vinayaka chaturthi, the festival of lord ganesha is held in this month
புரட்டாசி - Purattaasi 17 September - 16 October Star 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 November Star 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 December Star 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 January Star on the Pournami: Mirugaseridam. 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 February Star 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").14 Jan is the Tamil New Year.
மாசி - Maasi 13 February - 13 March Star 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 April Star on the Pournami: Uththiram. Panguni Uthiram, the last month of the year, is a famous festival and special to Murugan and Siva devotees.

Significance[edit]

  • The Hindus developed a system of calendrics that encapsulates vast periods of time.[14] For computing the age of the earth and various geological and other epochs, as well as the age of mankind, they still employ a Tamil calendar derived from ancient astronomical data, known as the Tirukkanida Panchanga[15]
  • The 10th Tamil month, called Thai, falls in mid-January each year. It is celebrated with much enthusiasm within the Tamil Community all over the world. Thai is marked by gifts of new clothing for family members and prayers to God for prosperity in the coming year. Thai and the fifth month Aavani are considered very auspicious for marriage and most marriages occur during these months.[citation needed]
  • The fourth month Aadi is considered inauspicious, so weddings do not often fall in this month. Aadi is also the month of preparation for the next crop cycle by farmers. Therefore, farming communities avoid major events like weddings in this month. Those members of the Tamil community who don't actively contribute/participate in farming take advantage by having important functions like wedding in this month. For example, the business community prefers this month for weddings. Aadi was traditionally the worst month for business, but this changed significantly when businesses introduced Aadi discounts. Each Friday of this month is set aside for prayer and worship.[citation needed]
  • Aadi is an inauspicious month for newlyweds to sleep together because a woman who conceives in this month will have a difficult delivery in May, the hottest month in Tamil Nadu (Agni natchathiram - ['pinezhu'] the last 7 days of Chithirai and ['munezhu'] the first 7 days of Vaigasi). 'Aadi' is also the windiest month in Tamil Nadu, and hence the phrase 'Aadi kaatru ammiyai nagatrum' (literally, 'the strong winds in the month of Aadi can even move a stone grinder')
  • Purattaasi is when most of the non-vegetarian Tamil people fast from meat for a month. Each Saturday of this month is set apart to venerate the planet Saturn.[citation needed]
  • Deepavali, is celebrated on the new moon day, in the seventh month Aipasi. The month of Aipasi is usually characterised by the North-East Monsoon in Tamil Nadu, which has given birth to a phrase, Aipasi adai mazhai meaning the "Non-stop downpour".[citation needed]
  • Maargazhi falls in winter in Tamil Nadu, and is considered inauspicious for unmarried women to find a groom. The Shaivite fast of Thiru-vembaavai and the Vaishnava fast of Thiru-paavai are also observed in this month.[citation needed]
  • The total number of days in a Tamil Calendar is an average 365 days and the days of the week are named similarly to those of the western calendar. The Vakiya Panchangam is employed for both sacred and civil calculations. The Trikanitha Panchangam is employed for astrological calculations.[citation needed]

Festivals[edit]

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 Tamil New Year, Chitra Pournami, Vaikasi Visakam, Aani Tirumanjanam, Aani Moolam, Aadi Pirappu, Tiruvadipuram, Aadi Perukku, Aadi Velli, Aadi Ammavasai (Amavasya), Aadi Kruthikai, Varalakshmi Nonbu (Varalakshmi Vratam), Avani Avittam, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Krishna Jayanthi, Thiruvonam, Purattasi Sani, Mahalaya Paksham (Pitru Paksha), Navaratri, Niraipani, Deepavali, Skanda Sasthi Vratham (Sooranporu), Karthikai Somavaram, Tirukarthikai (Karthikai Deepam) or (Kartik Purnima), Pillaiyaar Nonbu, Margazhi Pirappu, Paavai Nonbu (Thiruppavai), Vaikunta Ekadasi, Thiruvathirai, Koodaravalli, (Bhogi) Pandikai, Thai Pongal, Maatu Pongal, Kaanum Pongal, Thaipoosam, Thai Ammavasai (Amavasya), Maha Sivaratri, Masi Magam, Karadaiyan Nonbu and Panguni Uthiram.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ S.K. Chatterjee, Indian Calendric System, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1998
  2. ^ Sewell, Robert and Dikshit, Sankara B.: The Indian Calendar – with tables for the conversion of Hindu and Muhammadan into a.d. dates, and vice versa. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., Delhi, India (1995). Originally published in 1896
  3. ^ Indian Epigraphy, D.C. Sircar, TamilNet, Tamil New Year, 13.04.2008
  4. ^ Dershowitz, Nachum and Reingold, Edward M.: Calendrical Calculations. Third edition, Cambridge University Press (2008).
  5. ^ Underhill, Muriel M.: The Hindu Religious Year. Association Press, Kolkata, India (1921).
  6. ^ Lines 160 to 162 of the Nedunalvaadai
  7. ^ Poem 229 of Puranaanooru
  8. ^ Professor Vaiyapuri Pillai, 'History of Tamil Language and Literature' Chennai, 1956 page 35, 151
  9. ^ Canto 26 of Silappadikaaram. Canto 5 also describes the foremost festival in the Chola country - the Indra Vizha celebrated in Chitterai
  10. ^ G.H. Luce, Old Burma - Early Pagan, Locust Valley, New York, Page 68, and A.B. Griswold, 'Towards a History of Sukhodaya Art, Bangkok 1967, pages 12-32
  11. ^ Kielhorn, Franz: Festal Days of the Hindu Lunar Calendar. The Indian Anti- quary XXVI, 177–187 (1897).
  12. ^ Kielhorn, Franz: Festal Days of the Hindu Lunar Calendar. The Indian Anti-quary XXVI, 177–187 (1897).
  13. ^ Underhill, Muriel M.: The Hindu Religious Year. Association Press, Kolkata, India (1921).
  14. ^ Wijk, Walther E. van: On Hindu Chronology, parts I–V. Acta Orientalia (1922–1927).
  15. ^ H.P. Blavatsky, 'The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy' Book 2: Pages 49-51, Theosophical University Press, 1888

External links[edit]