About Indian Festivals
With a civilization which is 5000 years old, India is a place which comprises a diverse range of people who belong to different religions and who follow different rituals, customs and traditions.
Every person has a different ideology, has a different set of principles and the language is spoken too differs. Some are religious, some spiritual and some are atheists.
Though this country has so many diversities that differentiate an individual from another, there is one thing that binds all the people together and that is festivals. Festivals play an important role in India and people across the country celebrate it with great fervour and joy.
India is known as a land of festivities. Fairs and celebrations are the social legacy and soul of Indian culture even today. With a rich history in various eras what stays significant and untouched is the way festivities were celebrated.
Right from the beginning of human civilization the core and essence of all the diverse religions and sects that existed in India have been successful in preserving their traditions and rich culture is because of continuing to follow the age-old festivities and customs without fail.
All these Indian fairs and festivals help us to identify and guess which religion, background, sect and community these people belong to.
Every state celebrates the festivals differently. In some parts, however, the festivals that are considered important and celebrated with zeal are not celebrated on a similar scale in other parts.
For example, Lohri is celebrated on a large scale in the Northern part of India but in the Southern part, it is not celebrated. Every festival is represented by different cuisines, delicacies, an art form, music, dance and clothes.
Thus all the celebrations have their own set of significant attributes. Even the decorations of the streets, homes and food differ as per the festivals.
All said and done, do you know why the Hindu festivals fall on different dates every year?
Has this question ever crossed your mind? Let us understand why the dates of Indian festivals fall on different dates every year.
The dates of Indian festivals are not fixed as they do not follow the English schedule also known as the Gregorian calendar.
Let us understand how the Gregorian calendar works
The English calendar
The Gregorian calendar or the English calendar is a Solar calendar, where the time frame of the earth’s revolution around the sun is taken into consideration. One year is the time needed for the earth to finish one round around the sun.
Earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48minutes and 46seconds to finish a pivot around the sun. In our one year we have 365 days, however, these additional hours, minutes and seconds each year, make an additional day like clockwork. The year with an additional day is known as jump year.
During the Vedic Era, the Hindu calendar was established and it has experienced several changes through the ages. It is known as Panchang, which depends on both the sun and the moon. This schedule covers everything from periods of the moon, the places of stars and planets, and recognizes favourable occasions and days, for different exercises.
It utilizes a sunlight based year yet separates it into 12 lunar months. A lunar month is exactly 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 3 seconds in length. Twelve such months establish a lunar year of 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, and 36 seconds.
To coordinate the lunar months with the year, each over the long term an additional month emerges. As such, like clockwork, an additional month is added. This additional month is known as Adhik Mas.
According to the Hindu calendars, seasons follow the sun, months follow the moon, and days follow both sun and moon. Tithis are referred to as the Lunar days in the Indian calendar.
The Tithi framework works from full moon night to new moon night, to full moon night. Indian celebrations follow the Tithis calendar, this is the reason celebrations in India don’t follow the Gregorian schedule dates.
The Indian government and organizations utilize the Gregorian schedule for regulatory purposes.
Being formulated according to the phases of the moon, the Hindu calendar takes into account one year which comprises 29.5 days, representing a sum of 354 days.
The deficiency in the days implies that the date of every festival moves back 11 days every year. To redress this, an additional month, a leap month is added once at regular intervals of three years in the calendar.
Thus with an exact month and an estimated year calculation, the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar which perfectly mentions the dates of the Hindu festival.
Thus, according to the information given above in a detailed manner, we can say that the Hindu calendar accurately mentions the tithi and the date of the Hindu festivals.
This calendar is formulated based on the revolution of the moon around the Earth. In the Hindu calendar, the Tithi’s and Nakshatras are of utmost significance.
These play a significant role in determining and selecting a particular muhurat. Did you know that every lunar month comprises thirty tithis?
Yes, you read it right! there are 30 tithis and they can be further bifurcated as auspicious and inauspicious. Let us take tithis based on dark fortnights of Krishna Paksha and Bright fortnights of Shukla Paksha
- Prathama or Padyami
- Dwitiya or Vidiya
- Tritiya or Thadiya
- Chaturthi or Chaviti
- Pournami or Amavasya (full moon or new moon)
The Hindu month is thus calculated on the completion of two fortnights Let us look at the
Months in a Hindu calendar
If you observe you will notice that festivals fall in specific months like
- Shravana – Full Moon – Rakshabandhan
- Ashwin – New Moon – Diwali
- Bhadrapad – Chaturthi – before Full Moon – Ganesh pooja
So likewise, the calendar will be :
(14 days + full moon)+ (14 days + new moon) = multi-month =30 days
12 X 30 = 300 days = 1 year
Be that as it may, there is an issue. As both earth and moon are not fixed articles, the situation of the moon may change before 24 hours or following 24 hours. So there is an additional month with no name (Adhika maas) in which any additional days if necessary are added.
(There is likewise a contention that these additional days are added to make the schedule comparable to the overall schedule we use). There are no celebrations in the additional month and furthermore, it is added in the middle of various months consistently.
- Winter begins around Diwali
- Summer begins after Holi
While there are a few festivals that are determined based on the earth’s position at a certain angle with the Sun like the festival of Sankranti (Pongal). It is a day where the Sun makes a specific point with earth.
This may come at the beginning of Pausha month or in the closure. You can notice where daylight falls in December and in February are marginally unique.
Additionally, sure changes are relying upon the adjustments in the sun’s area. For instance, Mukkoti Ekadasi (Only day in which you will go into the sanctuary from its North door) is the
- Shudha Ekadasi of Margasira – if sankranti is before the full moon of Pushyam month
- Shudha Ekadasi of Pushyam – if Sankranti is after the full moon of Pushyam month
P.S: Shudha Ekadasi or shuddha chavithi implies the day preceding the full moon.
Take a look at the following diagram for better clarity into the subject:
Inside every month, there are two “fortnights,” each consisting of 15 “lunar days.” Although the sun oriented and lunar days start at various occasions, each sunlight based day is credited one specific lunar day numbered from one to fifteen, both of the brilliant fortnight (waxing moon) or the dim fortnight (melting away moon).
Months normal out to 29.5 days, so every so often a day will be dropped. For instance, in one month, the fourth day of the waxing moon might be trailed by the 6th.
There are two primary schedules. In North India, the month, for the most part, starts with the full moon, in South India with the new moon. Celebration days will even now fall around the same time, or intently, yet the name of the month might be extraordinary.
For instance, Krishna’s Birthday falls on the eighth day of the full moon; in the North, this is in the long stretch of Bhadra; in the South in Shravana.
The week is partitioned into seven days, each comparing to one of seven planets, precisely as in the West. No day is especially extraordinary except for when each is identified with a particular god.
For instance, Monday is regularly connected with Shiva and Tuesday with Hanuman. Hindus may perform diets and recount petitions to ask a specific divinity on the comparing day of the week.
The day, for the most part, starts at sunrise, or not long previously, as per which galactic and celestial frameworks are utilized. The day is isolated into 15 muhurtas, each of around 48 minutes, and the night is also separated.
Customarily Brahmanas serenade the Gayatri mantra at dawn, early afternoon and dusk because these are viewed as especially significant times.
The initial two muhurtas (around 60 minutes) of the morning before first light are viewed as generally promising, particularly for profound practices.
I hope this article was able to clear your doubt as to why do Indian festivals change their dates every year.