This news article from The Kathmandu Post reports recent effort by some astrologers to reform the prevalent Bikram Era calendar to fix the dates of festivals that have altered in the past two thousand years due to precession of equinoxes. The news article is not, however, totally right. Don’t believe a word said in the first paragraph.
Calendars behind by 23 days
BY PRABHAKAR GHIMIRE
KATHMANDU, June 22 – Are your getting married? Are you observing your father’s or mother’s death anniversary? Be careful, the astrologers’ advice on auspicious dates for conducting such rituals are all wrong, if a report presented by the Festival Reforms National Taskforce (FRNT) to the government Friday means anything.According to the report, the earth’s rotation around its axis at an inclination of 23.5 degrees has resulted in a gain of one day every 72 years. There has been no adjustment for this in calendars since the past 1,656 years. This means that the calendars are behind by 23 days.
Conducting rituals on auspicious dates and at auspicious hours is a widespread tradition in Nepal. Since the calendar our astrologers use to suggest such days and hours is flawed, we have been celebrating even our important festivals on the wrong days, claimed astrologers in the report presented to Minister of Culture,Tourism and Civil Aviation Prithvi Subba Gurung.
FRNT, a 19-member committee, was formed by the ministry on December 12 last year following a controversy over the accuracy of calendars in use. The taskforce, headed by Jal Krishna Shrestha, joint secretary at the ministry, comprises astrologers and religious figures, among others.
“We are fixing our auspicious occasions and religious festivals on the basis of a virtual date which is 23 days behind the actual date,” said Jayanta Acharya, a member of the taskforce, adding, “Due to this wrong practice, we have been missing and are going to keep on missing our religious festivals.”
After presenting the 90-page report, Acharya recommended that the difference between the virtual and actual dates be made nil so that the festivals are celebrated on the right dates, and people conduct their rituals on the right days and at the right hours.
FRNT has suggested that the government make necessary preparations for adjusting the dates by 2010.
Presenting the report, Hari Narayan Malla, member-secretary of FRNT, suggested that the government organize an international seminar of astrologers to inform the world about this before the recommendations are implemented.
“How surprising! The actual date for Saune Shakranti, the first day of Shrawan, which we are going to celebrate on 17th July, was actually on 21 June” said Malla. “We should not continue this wrong practice any more.”
After receiving the report, Minister Gurung said that the recommendation would be made public for general awareness.
“The revised dates should match international religious calendars so that religious occasions can be celebrated simultaneously,” he said.