Indian national calendar


Indian national calendar

The Indian national calendar (sometimes called Saka calendar) is the official civil calendar in use in India. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, news broadcasts by All India Radio, and calendars and communications issued by the Government of India.[1]

The term may also ambiguously refer to the Hindu calendar, and the Saka era is commonly used by different calendars as well.

Contents

Calendar structure

Month (Sanskrit) Length Start date (Gregorian) Tropical Zodiac
1 Chaitra 30/31 March 22* Aries
2 Vaishākha 31 April 21 Taurus
3 Jyaishtha 31 May 22 Gemini
4 Āshādha 31 June 22 Cancer
5 Shrāvana 31 July 23 Leo
6 Bhādrapada 31 August 23 Virgo
7 Āshvini 30 September 23 Libra
8 Kārtika 30 October 23 Scorpio
9 Agrahayana 30 November 22 Sagitarius
10 Pausha 30 December 22 Capricorn
11 Māgha 30 January 21 Aquarius
12 Phālguna 30 February 20 Pisces

In leap years, Chaitra has 31 days and starts on March 21 instead. The months in the first half of the year all have 31 days, to take into account the slower movement of the sun across the ecliptic at this time.

The names of the months are derived from older, Hindu lunisolar calendars, so variations in spelling exist, and there is a possible source of confusion as to what calendar a date belongs to.

Years are counted in the Saka Era, which starts its year 0 in the year 78 of the Common Era. To determine leap years, add 78 to the Saka year - if the result is a leap year in the Gregorian calendar, then the Saka year is a leap year as well. Its structure is like the Persian calendar.

Adoption

The calendar was introduced by the Calendar Reform Committee in 1957, as part of the Indian Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac, which also contained other astronomical data, as well as timings and formulae for preparing Hindu religious calendars, in an attempt to harmonise this practice. Despite this effort, local variations based on older sources such as the Surya Siddhanta may still exist.

Usage officially started at Chaitra 1, 1879 Saka Era, or March 22, 1957. However, government officials seem to largely ignore the New Year's Day of this calendar in favour of the religious calendar.[2]

See also

References

  • Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History by E.G. Richards (ISBN 0-19-282065-7), 1998, pp. 184–185.

External links


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