Let me first walk you through the emergence of Panchanga and its relevance. The word “Panchang” is derived from Hindi words ‘Panch’ ‘Ang’. The Hindi dialect means “five limbs”. According to the Hindu Vedic astrology, it is consulted with to know an auspicious time for marriages, ceremonies, education, business, travel etc. Panchang allows one to find the suitable time and day by matching the current position of planets with the position of planets in the astrological chart. The theory behind panchang is an ancient law of nature “Every action brings an equal and opposite reaction” (sounds familiar?). All that we do when in harmony with nature, the nature in turn exercise a harmonious influence on us hence brings peace and stability in our lives. The knowledge of Panchang enables one to understand that time is a priceless resource and a particular moment could change anything and everything, helping one live in tune with nature.
The five limbs that were mentioned earlier are the five elements of the Panchang.
- Din (vaar): Days of the week.
- Tithi: According to the Hindu lunar calendar it is a day consisting of both dark and bright fortnight also called Paksha. It depends on the degree of the moon with sun. When the moon completes 12 degrees of its movement with the sun it’s called a Tithi or Hindu lunar day.
- Nakshatra: Literal meaning of Nakshatra is ‘something that does not decay’. They are the stellar constellations and 27 of them are considered in Vedic astrology. Each can be known with the position of the moon at certain degrees at the time of birth. It is believed that each of these Nakshatras have their planetary lords.
- Yoga: The posture of Suryanamaskar comes to your mind if you are familiar with yoga. Sun is the centre of all life forms on earth hence Suryanamaskar is performed to venerate the sun. A yog is obtained from the sum of the longitude of the moon and the sun divided into 27 parts of 13 degree. Confusing? You must ask an astrologer you meet meet next time.
- Karana: It is half of a Tithi. There are 11 in total, each of which is said to have its own influence and interpretation.
Now that we know what a Panchang is, it is simple to understand the Tirhuta Panchang or the Mithila Panchanga.
The Maithili Panchang originated in Mithila and and is largely followed by Maithil community of India and Nepal. It has influenced and is of great importance to the people of India as well as Nepal. Since the Maithili calendar sets the dates for auspicious days and festivals it has its roots are in the Hindu religion and culture of Mithila. The panchang is related to ‘Surya Siddhanta’, the Hindu solar calendar. The year begins on the first day of Baishakh month which usually falls on 14 April on Gregorian Calendar and is celebrated as ‘Jude Sheetal’ (জুড়ি শীতল / जुड़ि शीतल). This is the month of Litchi followed by Jeth and Asarh the months of mango. Though the months of Gregorian calendar has been mentioned, there is a huge contrast between the two.
Saon-Bhado are the two months during which Mithila receives heavy rainfall often resulting in floods. Saon is considered a holy month devoted to lord Shiva and farmers wait for the first rain to sow paddy in their fields. The festive season begins soon after the rains. The months of Asin-Katik have moderate weather. Navaratra falls in Asin and Diwali falls in Katik which is the harvesting month for farmers. Soon after autumn comes winter, the months of Agahan-Poos-Magh. Makarasankranti falls in the month of Poos and Vasant Panchami in Magh; both of which are the extreme winter periods. Finally the months Fagun and Chait are the harvesting months. Holi and chhath falls in Fagun-Chait respectively. The last month of Maithili calendar is Chait.
Like most of the calendar, Maithili calendar also has 7 days in a week each day spanning 24 hours.
That’s all about the Mithila Panchang or Tirhuta Panchang. But if you are as curious as I am then this might interest you. The Nepal calendar ‘Vikram samvat’ is the official calendar of the Nepal republic which is also used by the adjoining Indian districts Bihar and UP. It is closely related to the Maithili panchang except for the names of months and Nakshatra. It’s quite peculiar to note that vikram samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead of the solar Gregorian calendar. For example, the year 2071 BC began in 2014 AD and ended in 2015 AD!
Latest posts by Alma Rosina (see all)
- Tiruhuta – The Maithili Script - June 3, 2016
- Mithila Panchang: An Indian Calendar You Probably Have Not Heard Of - May 21, 2016