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Black Man
04-06-2007, 06:01 PM
The South Asian Calendar

Voices Across Time

There are many cultures and calendars in South Asia, including India, Balgladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lankha. About 5,000 years ago, on January 21, 3102 B.C., a calendar called theKali Yugacame into use in the region. This calendar is said to be based on a much older time scale, centered around the moon and solar system.
Kali Yoga

The modern Kali Yoga calendar was considered as a sacred document. It became popular throughout South Asia over the last 5,000 years, although it differed from region to region. During this time, some of the major versions of the Kali Yoga calendar was developed by followers of Jainism (569 B.C), Buddhism (544 B.C) and Hinduism, for example, during the parasurama era (176 B.C.).
The Parasurama calendar was also used in parts of Southeast Asia. It is a solar calendar based on the Kali Yoga. The Buddhist calendar, which is a lunar calendar, is used extensively in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam; and in Sri Lanka. The new year begins with the full moon in the zodical month of Taurus (May).
The Kali Yoga solar year, like the Western year, consists of 12 months, corresponding to the 12 signs of the zodiac. Each sign contains 30 degrees of the sky, totaling 360 degrees, or a full circle. The length of a solar month depends on the length of the apparent motion of the sun through each sign. This ranges from as few as 27 days during the shortest winter month, to as many as 32 days during the longest summer month.
In addition to these solar measurements, there are also lunar measurements which overlap the solar calendar. There are 30 lunar days in a lunar month. A lunar month may be calculated from new moon to new moon, or from full moon to full moon. In south India, the lunar month starts at the beginning of the new moon, and is divided into two parts of 15 days each, corresponding to the waxing and waning of the moon.
There are also three known cycles used along with the Kali Yuga calendar. One is a 60-year cycle, called the Jupiter cycle, based on the time it takes for the planet Jupiter to orbit the sun five times. The origin of this cycle is unknown. Another cycle, is the 90-year Grahaparavritti cycle, based on the motion of Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the sun. A third cycle, is the 247-year cycle, based on lunar measurement.
Calendars and Festivals

Indian festivals fall into two categories, solar festivals and lunar festivals. Solar festivals include the end of the year (March 21) and the beginning of the Indian new year (March 22 ), Independence day (August 15), and Republic Day (January 26).
Lunar festivals depend upon the position of the moon, and include Buddha Purnima, Holi (two days), Diwali, Guru Nanak's birthday, and so on.