Calendar Change Bad Idea

Posted: January 30, 2009 in Bikram Sambat, Calendar, Uncategorized

I think it is completely vague to propose that the month of Chaitra be struck off and be referred to as Baisakh, starting 2067. Bikram era calendar is a Vedic calendar that comprises of both Solar and Lunar calendars. The solar month in this calendar is the time it takes for the sun to traverse a sign of zodiac, which is roughly 30 degrees. Thus, in a year the sun traverses a total of 30×12=360 degrees. Since, all the months are created in accordance with the position of the sun in the sky (i.e. Sun resides in Aries during Baisakh, Taurus during Jestha and so on.) it is vague to make any such changes as proposed by the Calendar reform committee.*

The only problem we are facing today is that the dates have lost their seasonal relevance due to precession of equinoxes. That is, it is true that Sun enters Makar, the 10th sign of zodiac on Magh 1st.* But it is no more the day of Winter Solstice when the Sun starts its Northern ward movement as people still celebrate the day for. The winter solstice has preceded to 7th of Poush. Now the problem is we are not sure when to observe these festivals rather than there being any error in the calendar. Its because we cannot incorporate both the phenomenon into one day anymore. The calendar in itself is accurate to what it follows—the sidereal year. The problem has arisen because of season coming earlier each year due to slight change in the direction of tilt of Earth each year. The committee could rather focus on changing dates of some religious festivals which are of seasonal significance. For example, if Maghe Sanktranti is more about Winter Solstice than Sun entering Makar, then it should be rightly placed on Poush 6th / 7th (December 22nd). One could propose a change in the names too, since no longer it will be a Sankranti (the first day of Magh when the Sun enters Makar). There should be decisions on each of the religious festivals about the actual dates where they should be placed on the calendar rather than changing the calendar itself because not everyone will like the proposed changes. It might only ruin the calendar’s significance.

*(The zodiac as per divided by the Vedic astrologers has 30 degrees for every sign along the path of the Sun. The modern day division set by International Astronomical Union is more based on the true shapes our ancestors drew joining the stars)

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