Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Science Behind Tamil Calendar

This article is written in such way so that those with no prior knowledge in astronomy understands it. There are actually more information which have been left out as it could confuse the readers.

Click the link below to read the previous article relevant to this topic:
http://sharmalanthevar.blogspot.com/2013/03/tamil-new-year-date.html



The Tamil people follow the Sidereal Solar Calendar. A sidereal year is the time it takes for Earth to orbit the Sun with respect to Zodiacs and also the time the Sun takes to return to the same position with respect to these Zodiacs. The Zodiacs are actually a set of fixed stars in the sky. 

The imaginary black circle around the Sun is known as the Ecliptic. Although Earth orbits the Sun in red circle, it does not follow a horizontal line. The Earth is actually tilted by 23.5 degrees. 

The points where the Earth's orbit touches the Ecliptic is known as Equinox. There are two Equinox. 

The first Equinox is known as the Spring Equinox. The last Equinox is known as the Autumnal Equinox. 

Presently, Spring Equinox happens around 20 March each year. This is the moment which the Telugu people celebrate as Ugadhi festival as per their Tropical Solar Calendar. 

Since the Earth rotates while orbiting the Sun and there is also its own wobbling, there will be a slow down. Because of this, there will be a slight shift in the Spring Equinox each year. This causes the arrival of seasons to fall back by 1 day once every 71.6 years. 

The position of the Zodiacs are permanent and this is an important reason to follow the Sidereal Solar Calendar. The first Zodiac is Aries and this Zodiac is located after the first equinox.

The entry of Earth into Aries is what we Tamils celebrate as Puthandu (New Year). It usually happens around April 14. 

There are some Tamil scholars who claim that Nacchinaarkiniyar, in his commentary to Tholkaappiyam says that Tamil New Year started in mid August (Aavani) and ended in mid July (Aadi). So they disagree with it starting in mid April (Chithirai).

What they don't realise is, there are many calendar cycles in India and each has a difference purpose. 

The year mentioned by Nacchinaarkiniyar actually refers to a spiritual year meant for the learning of Vedas. It is not the same as the ordinary material year which we follow.

This is the same concept which we can see in modern day companies having a separate financial year which does not begin on January 1. Some companies start their financial year in March instead of January 1. That does not mean the actual year begins in March.

Our Tamil ancestors did not blindly invent the Sidereal Solar Calendar. This is actually a very accurate calendar. It is not based on the birth of any religious Prophet. It is not based on any historical event. It is not a mere coincidence. 

It is based on the science of astronomy. This is the truth behind our calendar system which we have been following for many centuries. 

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