Buddhist calendar

The Buddhist calendar is a set of lunisolar calendars primarily used in mainland Southeast Asian countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand as well as in Sri Lanka and Chinese populations of Malaysia and Singapore for religious or official occasions. While the calendars share a common lineage, they also have minor but important variations such as intercalation schedules, month names and numbering, use of cycles, etc. In Thailand, the name Buddhist Era is a year numbering system shared by the traditional Thai lunisolar calendar and by the Thai solar calendar.

The Southeast Asian lunisolar calendars are largely based on an older version of the Hindu calendar, which uses the sidereal year as the solar year. One major difference is that the Southeast Asian systems, unlike their Indian cousins, do not use apparent reckoning to stay in sync with the sidereal year. Instead, they employ their versions of the Metonic cycle. However, since the Metonic cycle is not very accurate for sidereal years, the Southeast Asian calendar is slowly drifting out of sync with the sidereal, approximately one day every 100 years. Yet no coordinated structural reforms of the lunisolar calendar have been undertaken.

Today, the traditional Buddhist lunisolar calendar is used mainly for Theravada Buddhist festivals, and no longer has the official calendar status anywhere. The Thai Buddhist Era, a renumbered Gregorian calendar, is the official calendar in Thailand.

Translations of
Buddhist calendar
PaliSāsanā Sakaraj
Sanskritबौद्ध पंचांग
Burmeseသာသနာ သက္ကရာဇ်
(IPA: [θàðənà θɛʔkəɹɪʔ])
Khmerពុទ្ធសករាជ
(UNGEGN: Puttheak-sakarach)
Sinhaleseබුද්ධ වර්‍ෂ / සාසන වර්‍ෂ
(Buddha Varsha / Sāsana Varsha)
Thaiพุทธศักราช
(RTGS: phutthasakkarat)
Glossary of Buddhism

Structure

August2004rs
Thailand's version of the lunisolar Buddhist calendar

The calculation methodology of the current versions of Southeast Asian Buddhist calendars is largely based on that of the Burmese calendar, which was in use in various Southeast Asian kingdoms down to the 19th century under the names of Chula Sakarat and Jolak Sakaraj. The Burmese calendar in turn was based on the "original" Surya Siddhanta system of ancient India (believed to be Ardharatrika school).[1] One key difference with Indian systems is that the Burmese system has followed a variation of the Metonic cycle. It is unclear from where, when or how the Metonic system was introduced; hypotheses range from China to Europe.[note 1] The Burmese system, and indeed the Southeast Asian systems, thus use a "strange" combination of sidereal years from Indian calendar in combination with the Metonic cycle better for tropical years.[2]

Epochal date

In all Theravada traditions, the calendar's epochal year 0 date was the day in which the Buddha attained parinibbāna. However, not all traditions agree on when it actually took place. In Burmese Buddhist tradition, it was 13 May 544 BCE (Tuesday, Full moon of Kason 148 Anjanasakaraj).[3] But in Thailand, it was 11 March 545 BCE, the date which the current Thai lunisolar and solar calendars use as the epochal date. Yet, the Thai calendars for some reason have fixed the difference between their Buddhist Era (BE) numbering and the Christian/Common Era (CE) numbering at 543,[4] which points to an epochal year of 544 BCE, not 545 BCE. In Myanmar, the difference between BE and CE can be 543 or 544 for CE dates, and 544 or 543 for BCE dates, depending on the month of the Buddhist Era (as the Buddhist calendar straddles the Gregorian calendar—currently from April to April). In Sri Lanka, the difference between BE and CE is 544.[5]

BE Year Equivalent
CE Years
Equivalent CE
Year
(Thai Solar)
0 544–543 BCE
1 543–542 BCE
543 1 BCE – 1 CE
544 1–2 CE 1–2 CE
2483 1940–1941 1940 (Apr–Dec)
2484 1941–1942 1941
2556 2013–2014 2013

Month

Types

The calendar recognizes two types of months: synodic month and sidereal month.[6] The Synodic months are used to compose the years while the 27 lunar sidereal days (Sanskrit: nakshatra), alongside the 12 signs of the zodiac, are used for astrological calculations.[7] (The Burmese calendar also recognizes a solar month called Thuriya Matha, which is defined as 1/12th of a year.[8] But the solar month varies by the type of year such as tropical year, sidereal year, etc.)

Waxing and waning

The days of the month are counted in two halves, waxing and waning. The 15th of the waxing is the civil full moon day. The civil new moon day is the last day of the month (14th or 15th waning). Because of the inaccuracy of the calendrical calculation systems, the mean and real (true) New Moons rarely coincide. The mean New Moon often precedes the real New Moon.[6][7]

Type Days Description
Waxing 1 to 15 from New Moon to Full Moon
Full Moon 15 Full Moon
Waning 1 to 14 or 15 from Full Moon to New Moon
New Moon 15 New Moon

Number of days per month, and translations into Asian languages:

As the Synodic lunar month is approximately 29.5 days, the calendar uses alternating months of 29 and 30 days.[6]

Sanskrit Pali Burmese Khmer Lao Sinhala Thai[9] No. of
days
Gregorian
(approx.)
Chaitra Citta Tagu (တန်ခူး) ចេត្រ
(Chaet)
ຈິຕ Bak (බක්) Chittra (จิตร) 29 March–April
Vaisākha Visakha Kason (ကဆုန်) ពិសាខ
(Pisak)
ວິສາຂະ Vesak (වෙසක්) Wisakha (วิสาข) 30 April–May
Jyaiṣṭha Jeṭṭha Nayon (နယုန်) ជេស្ឋ
(Ches)
ເຊດ Poson (පොසොන්) Chettha (เชษฐ) 29 [30] May–June
Āṣāḍha Āsāḷha Waso (ဝါဆို) អាសាឍ
(Asath)
ອາສາລະຫະ Æsala (ඇසළ) Asanha (อาสาฬห) 30 June–July
Śrāvaṇa Sāvaṇa Wagaung (ဝါခေါင်) ស្រាពណ៍
(Srap)
ສາວະນະ Nikini (නිකිණි) Sawana (สาวน) 29 July–August
Bhādrapada or Proshthapada Poṭṭhapāda Tawthalin (တော်သလင်း) ភទ្របទ
(Phuttrobot)
ພັດທະຣະບົດ Binara (බිනර) Phatthrabot (ภัทรบท) 30 August–September
Āśvina Assayuja Thadingyut (သီတင်းကျွတ်) អស្សុជ
(Assoch)
ອັດສະວະຍຸດ Wap (වප්) Atsawayut (อัศวยุช) 29 September–October
Kārttika Kattikā Tazaungmon (တန်ဆောင်မုန်း) កត្តិក
(Katdeuk)
ກັດຕິກາ Il (ඉල්) Kattika (กัตติกา) 30 October–November
Mārgaśirṣa Māgasira Nadaw (နတ်တော်) មិគសិរ
(Meukesae)
ມິຄະສິນ Undhuvap (උඳුවප්) Mikkhasira (มิคสิร) 29 November–December
Pauṣa Phussa Pyatho (ပြာသို) បុស្ស
(Buss)
ປຸສສ Dhuruthu (දුරුතු) Putsa (ปุสส) 30 December–January
Māgha Māgha Tabodwe (တပို့တွဲ) មាឃ
(Meak)
ມາດ Navam (නවම්) Makha (มาฆ) 29 January–February
Phālguna Phagguṇa Tabaung (တပေါင်း) ផល្គុន
(Phalkun)
ຜັກຄຸນ Mædhin (මැදින්) Phakkhun (ผัคคุณ) 30 February–March

Month numbering and cultures:

Various regional versions of Chula Sakarat/Burmese calendar existed across various regions of mainland Southeast Asia. Unlike Burmese systems, Kengtung, Lan Na, Lan Xang and Sukhothai systems refer to the months by numbers, not by names. This means reading ancient texts and inscriptions in Thailand requires constant vigilance, not just in making sure one is correctly operating for the correct region, but also for variations within regions itself when incursions cause a variation in practice.[10][11] However, Cambodian (Khmer) month system, which begins with Margasirsa as the first month, demonstrated precisely by the names and numbers.[12]

Month Khmer, Lan Xang, Sukhothai and Old Burmese Kengtung Chiang Mai
Caitra 5 6 7
Vaisakha 6 7 8
Jyestha 7 8 9
Ashadha 8 9 10
Sravana 9 10 11
Bhadrapada 10 11 12
Asvina 11 12 1
Karttika 12 1 2
Margasirsa 1 2 3
Pausa 2 3 4
Magha 3 4 5
Phalguna 4 5 6

Year

The Buddhist calendar is a lunisolar calendar in which the months are based on lunar months and years are based on solar years. One of its primary objectives is to synchronize the lunar part with the solar part. The lunar months, normally twelve of them, consist alternately of 29 days and 30 days, such that a normal lunar year will contain 354 days, as opposed to the solar year of ~365.25 days. Therefore, some form of addition to the lunar year (of intercalation) is necessary. The overall basis for it is provided by cycles of 57 years. Eleven extra days are inserted in every 57 years, and seven extra months of 30 days are inserted in every 19 years (21 months in 57 years). This provides 20819 complete days to both calendars.[13] This 57-year cycle would provide a mean year of about 365.2456 days and a mean month of about 29.530496 days, if not corrected.

As such, the calendar adds an intercalary month in leap years and sometimes also an intercalary day in great leap years. The intercalary month not only corrects the length of the year but also corrects the accumulating error of the month to extent of half a day. The average length of the month is further corrected by adding a day to Nayon at irregular intervals—a little more than seven times in two cycles (39 years). The intercalary day is never inserted except in a year which has an intercalary month.[7] The Hindu calendar inserts an intercalary month at any time of year as soon as the accumulated fractions amount to one month. The Burmese calendar however always inserts the intercalary month at the same time of the year, after the summer solstice while the Arakanese calendar inserts it after the vernal equinox.[14]

Burmese Calendar:

The actual Burmese calendar year consists of 354, 384 or 385 days.

Month Regular year Small leap year Big leap year
Tagu 29 29 29
Kason 30 30 30
Nayon 29 29 30
Waso 30 30 30
2nd Waso n/a 30 30
Wagaung 29 29 29
Tawthalin 30 30 30
Thadingyut 29 29 29
Tazaungmon 30 30 30
Nadaw 29 29 29
Pyatho 30 30 30
Tabodwe 29 29 29
Tabaung 30 30 30
Total 354 384 385

Note: The Arakanese calendar adds the intercalary day in Tagu, not in Nayon.

Cambodian, Laotian and Thai Calendar:

The Cambodian, Lao and Thai lunar calendars use a slightly different method to place the intercalary day. Instead of it in a leap year as in the Burmese system, the Thai system places it in a separate year. Thus, the Thai small leap year has 355 days while the Thai great leap year has 384 days.[10]

Month Regular year Small leap year Big leap year
Caitra 29 29 29
Vaisakha 30 30 30
Jyestha 29 30 29
Ashadha 30 30 30
2nd Ashadha n/a n/a 30
Sravana 29 29 29
Bhadrapada 30 30 30
Asvina 29 29 29
Karttika 30 30 30
Margasirsa 29 29 29
Pausa 30 30 30
Magha 29 29 29
Phalguna 30 30 30
Total 354 355 384

New Year's Day

Since the main purpose of Buddhist calendar is to keep pace with the solar year, the new year is always marked by the solar year, which falls at the time when the Sun enters Aries.[6] The date, which at the present falls on the 17th of April, has slowly drifted over the centuries. In the 20th century, the New Year's Day fell on April 15 or 16th but in the 17th century, it fell on April 9 or 10th.[15] Thailand and Cambodia no longer use the traditional lunisolar calendar to mark the New Year's Day.

Tradition Date in 2013 Notes
Burmese 17 April Varies; will keep on drifting away
Khmer 14 April Varies from 13th to 14th of April
Thai 13 April Fixed to the solar calendar

Zodiac Animal Cycle:

Animal year cycle system

Cambodian and Thai systems give animal names to the years from a cycle of 12.[16] The practice also existed in Burma in the Pagan period but later died out.[17]

Year Animal Khmer Lao Thai
1 Rat ជូត (Choot) ຊວດ (Suat) ชวด (Chuat)
2 Ox ឆ្លូវ (Chhlov) ສະຫລູ (Salu) ฉลู (Chalu)
3 Tiger ខាល (Khal) ຂານ (Khan) ขาล (Khan)
4 Rabbit ថោះ (Thoh) ເຖາະ (Tho) เถาะ (Tho)
5 Naga រោង (Rorng) ມະໂລງ (Malong) มะโรง (Marong)
6 Snake ម្សាញ់ (Msanh) ມະເສງ (Maseng) มะเส็ง (Maseng)
7 Horse មមី (Momee) ມະເມັຽ (Mameh) มะเมีย (Mamia)
8 Goat មមែ (Momae) ມະແມ (Mamae) มะแม (Mamae)
9 Monkey វក (Vork) ວອກ (Wok) วอก (Wok)
10 Rooster រកា (Roka) ລະກາ (Laka) ระกา (Raka)
11 Dog ច (Char) ຈໍ (Cho) จอ (Cho)
12 Pig កុរ (Kol) ກຸນ (Kun) กุน (Kun)

Cambodian Zodiac Cycle:

In Cambodia, there is the sequence of year, which numbered from one to ten, used to identify a particular year, called "Sak" (Khmer: ស័ក) that means "era". It begins with a prefix "Aek, tor or trei", which means one, two or three respectively (using numerals that were derived from the Sanskrit language) then the suffix "Sak" is added to each prefix so as to form a word of the year. Cambodian use the Sak system to differentiate the twelve animal years that return every twelve year by including the ten-year system along with the animal year system. For instance, in 2017, the ten-year and animal year fall in the year of Rooster, Nuppasak (era 9), Buddhist Era of 2561 (based on Cambodian lunar calendar).[12]

Numbers Names in Khmer Transliteration
1 ឯកស័ក Aeksak
2 ទោស័ក Torsak
3 ត្រីស័ក Treisak
4 ចត្វាស័ក Chattvasak
5 បញ្ចស័ក Panchasak
6 ឆស័ក Chhorsak
7 សប្តស័ក Sabpasak
8 អដ្ឋស័ក Ardthasak
9 នព្វស័ក Nuppasak
10 សំរឹទ្ធិស័ក Samrethisak

Accuracy

The Southeast Asian Buddhist calendars use lunar months but try to keep pace with the solar year, by inserting intercalary months and days on the Metonic cycle (in the case of the Burmese calendar, on a modified Metonic cycle). However, the solar year as defined by the Buddhist calendars is really a sidereal year, which is nearly 24 minutes longer than the actual mean tropical year. Therefore, like all sidereal-based calendars, the lunisolar calendars are slowly drifting away from the seasons.[18] The calendars are drifting one day approximately every 60 years and 4 months.

The accumulating drift against the seasons means the New Year's Day which used to fall on 22 March (near the vernal equinox) in 638 CE now falls on 17 April in 2013 CE. There is no known internationally concerted effort to stop this drift. Thailand has moved its "Buddhist Era" to the Gregorian calendar under the name of Thai solar calendar. In Myanmar, Burmese calendarists have tried to deal with the issue by periodically modifying the intercalation schedule in the Metonic cycle. One major downside of this approach is that it is not possible to publish future calendars more than a few years (often even a year) ahead.[note 2]

History

The Buddhist Era was first introduced to Southeast Asia along with Buddhism in the early centuries CE. It was not a separate calendar but simply a year numbering system that employed the organization and calculation methods of the prevailing lunisolar calendars in use throughout the region. In the early centuries CE, the reference civil calendar of the Buddhist calendar prevalent in Southeast Asia was the Saka Era (Mahāsakaraj Era), which is said to have been adopted by the Pyu state of Sri Ksetra in 80 CE. The Saka Era was gradually replaced by the Burmese Era or Culāsakaraj, first in Myanmar in 640 CE,[19] and in other Theravada kingdoms of Southeast Asia between the 13th and 16th centuries.[note 3] Theravada Buddhist tradition also recognizes pre-Buddhist Anjana Sakaraj (Añjana's Era) since the events of the Buddha's life are recorded in that era.[3]

Name Epochal date Notes
Anjana Sakaraj 10 March 691 BCE Said to have been started by the Buddha's maternal grandfather King Añjana
Used to date the events during the Buddha's lifetime
Buddhist Era 13 May 544 BCE
11 March 545 BCE
544 BCE in Myanmar; 545 BCE in Thailand
Śaka Era 17 March 78 CE Civil calendar
Burmese Era (Culāsakaraj) 22 March 638 Civil calendar

The tradition of using different reference calendars continued in Siam in 1912 when King Vajiravudh decreed that the Buddhist Era would now track the Thai solar calendar, the Siamese version of the Gregorian calendar with the New Year's Day of 1 April. Therefore, the Thai Buddhist Era year of 2455 began on 1 April 1912 (as opposed to 15 April 1912 according to the lunisolar calendar[20]). The Thai Buddhist Era was further realigned to the Gregorian calendar on 6 September 1940 when Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram decreed 1 January 1941 as the start of the year 2484 BE. As a result, the Year 2483 was only 9 months long, and the Thai Buddhist Era equals that of the Common Era plus 543 years.

Current usage

The lunisolar calendar is used to mark important Buddhist holidays. Many of the holidays are celebrated as public holidays.

Buddhist calendar date International date Public holiday in Notes
Full moon of Pausa January Sri Lanka Duruthu Poya: Commemorates the first visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka
Full moon of Magha February Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand Magha Puja in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and known as Navam Poya in Sri Lanka
Full moon of Phalguna March Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka Boun Pha Vet (Laos), Tabaung Festival (Myanmar), Medin Poya (Sri Lanka)
Almost always in Caitra, sometimes in Vaisakha 13–17 April
(varies by country)
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Songkran (Southeast Asian New Year)
Traditionally, the New Year's Day is marked when the Sun enters Aries but the day is now fixed in most countries; Myanmar still follows the tradition. It also marks the beginning of the next Buddhist calendar animal zodiac year for certain countries.
Full moon of Caitra April Sri Lanka Bak Poya: Commemorates the second visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka
Full moon of Visakha May Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore Buddha Day (Vesak)
Full moon of Jyaistha June Sri Lanka Poson Poya: Commemorates introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka
Full moon of Ashadha July Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka Vassa
Esala Poya (Sri Lanka)
Asalha Puja (Thailand)
Full moon of Sravana August Sri Lanka Nikini Poya
Full moon of Bhadrapada September Laos, Sri Lanka Binara Poya (Sri Lanka)
Full moon of Asvina October Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka End of Vassa
Boun Suang Huea (Laos); Thadingyut Festival (Myanmar); Vap Poya (Sri Lanka); Wan Ok Phansa (Thailand)
Full moon of Karttika November Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia That Luang Festival (Laos); Tazaungdaing Festival (Myanmar); Il Poya (Sri Lanka); Loi Krathong (Thailand); Bon Om Touk (Cambodia)
Full moon of Margasirsa December Sri Lanka Undhuvap Poya (Sri Lanka)

Computer Support

Since the release of Java 8, the Buddhist calendar is supported in the new Date and Time API.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ (Ohashi 2001: 398–399): Astronomers of ancient India certainly knew of the Metonic cycle, and may have introduced the concept to Southeast Asia. However, the Metonic cycle, which employs tropical years, is incompatible with sidereal based Hindu calendars, and thus was not (and still is not) used in Hindu calendars. Chatterjee (1998: 151) suggests that the Metonic system was introduced to Burma by Europeans. Ohashi (2001: 398–399) rejects Chatterjee's hypothesis saying that "no other trace of European influence is found in South-East Asian astronomy." Instead, Ohashi (2001: 401–403) suggests that China may have been the source of the Metonic cycle.
  2. ^ (Irwin 1909: 26–27): In the mid-19th century, the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty tried to address the issue by introducing a new calculation methodology. However, the new solar year it chose was actually 0.56 second a year less accurate than the version still prevalent in the rest of Southeast Asia. The Konbaung court also modified the Metonic cycle, which did more to re-synchronize the calendar with the seasons than the less accurate solar year.
  3. ^ (Eade 1989: 11): The earliest use of the Burmese calendar in lands part of present-day Thailand dates to the mid-13th century. (Smith 1966: 11): Ayutthaya adopted the Burmese calendar in the 16th century.

References

  1. ^ Ohashi 2007: 354–355
  2. ^ Ohashi 2001: 398–399
  3. ^ a b Kala Vol. 1 2006: 38
  4. ^ Eade 1995: 15-16
  5. ^ "Vesak 2005 | Ceylon Sri Lanka Stamp SS".
  6. ^ a b c d Clancy 1906: 56–57
  7. ^ a b c Irwin 1909: 8–9
  8. ^ Irwin 1909: 5
  9. ^ Busyakul, 2004: 476.
  10. ^ a b Eade 1989: 9–10
  11. ^ Eade 1995: 28–29
  12. ^ a b "Khmer Calendar".
  13. ^ Eade 1995: 15
  14. ^ Irwin 1909: 2–3
  15. ^ Eade 1989: 135–145, 165–175
  16. ^ Eade 1995: 22
  17. ^ Luce 1970: 330
  18. ^ Irwin 1909: 26–27
  19. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 216
  20. ^ Eade 1989: 166

Bibliography

  • Busyakul, Visudh (April–June 2004). ปฏิทินและศักราชที่ใช้ในประเทศไทย [Calendar and era in use in Thailand] (PDF). Journal of the Royal Institute of Thailand (in Thai and English). 29 (2): 468–478. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2014-01-16.
  • Chatterjee, S.K. (1998). "Traditional Calendar of Myanmar (Burma)". Indian Journal of History of Science. 33 (2): 143–160.
  • Clancy, J.C. (January 1906). T. Lewis; H.P. Hollis, eds. "The Burmese Calendar: A Monthly Review of Astronomy". The Observatory. XXIX (366).
  • Eade, J.C. (1989). Southeast Asian Ephemeris: Solar and Planetary Positions, A.D. 638–2000. Ithaca: Cornell University. ISBN 978-0-87727-704-0.
  • Eade, J.C. (1995). The Calendrical Systems of Mainland South-East Asia (illustrated ed.). Brill. ISBN 9789004104372.
  • Htin Aung, Maung (1959). Folk Elements in Burmese Buddhism. Rangoon: Department of Religious Affairs.
  • Irwin, Sir Alfred Macdonald Bulteel (1909). The Burmese and Arakanese calendars. Rangoon: Hanthawaddy Printing Works.
  • Kala, U (1724). Maha Yazawin Gyi (in Burmese). 1–3 (2006, 4th printing ed.). Yangon: Ya-Pyei Publishing.
  • Luce, G.H. (1970). Old Burma: Early Pagan. 2. Locust Valley, NY: Artibus Asiae and New York University.
  • Ohashi, Yukio (2001). Alan K. L. Chan; Gregory K. Clancey; Hui-Chieh Loy, eds. Historical Perspectives on East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine (illustrated ed.). World Scientific. ISBN 9789971692599.
  • Ohashi, Yukio (2007). "Astronomy in Mainland Southeast Asia". In H. Selin. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures (2, illustrated ed.). Springer. ISBN 9781402045592.
544 BC

The year 544 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. In the Roman Empire, it was known as year 210 Ab urbe condita. The denomination 544 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Many Buddhist traditions believe it was the year when the Buddha reached parinirvana, though the actual year 0 of the Buddhist calendar corresponds to the previous year, 545 BC.

545 BC

The year 545 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. In the Roman Empire, it was known as year 209 Ab urbe condita. The denomination 545 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

In the Buddhist calendar, it corresponds to the year 0, traditionally the year when the Buddha reached parinirvana. However, different traditions disagree about the actual year 0, with many placing it in the following year 544 BC instead.

Bihu

Bihu is the chief festival in the Assam state of India. It refers to a set of three different festivals: Rongali or Bohag Bihu observed in April, Kongali or Kati Bihu observed in October, and Bhogali or Magh Bihu observed in January. The Rongali Bihu is the most important of the three, celebrating the Assamese new year and the spring festival. The Bhogali Bihu or the Magh Bihu is the one that is all about food. The Kongali Bihu or the Kati Bihu is the sombre, thrifty one reflecting a season of short supplies and is an animistic festival.The Rongali Bihu coincides (according to the Hindu calendar) with the Indian New Year festivals like Baisakhi, Bishu, etc. as well as with other regions of East and South-East Asia which follow the Buddhist calendar. The other two Bihu festivals every year are unique to Assamese people. Like some other Indian festivals, Bihu is associated with agriculture, and rice in particular. Bohag Bihu is a sowing festival, Kati Bihu is associated with crop protection and worship of plants and crops and is an animistic form of the festival, while Bhogali Bihu is a harvest festival. Assamese celebrate the Rangali Bihu with feasts, music and dancing. Some hang brass, copper or silver pots on poles in front of their house, while children wear flower garlands then greet the new year as they pass through the rural streets.The three Bihu are Assamese festivals with reverence for Krishna, cattle (Goru Bihu), elders in family, fertility and mother goddess, but the celebrations and rituals reflect influences from aborigine, southeast Asia and Sino-Tibetan cultures. In contemporary times, the Bihus are celebrated by all Assamese people irrespective of religion, caste or creed. It is also celebrated overseas by the Assamese diaspora community living worldwide.

The term Bihu is also used to imply Bihu dance otherwise called Bihu Naas and Bihu folk songs also called Bihu Geet.

Buddha's Birthday

Buddha's birthday is a holiday traditionally celebrated in most of East Asia to commemorate the birth of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, later the Gautama Buddha and founder of Buddhism. It is also celebrated in South and Southeast Asia as Vesak which also acknowledges the enlightenment and death of the Buddha. According to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures (from Pali, meaning "three baskets"), Gautama was born c. 563/480 BCE in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal, and raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India. At the age of thirty five, he attained enlightenment (nirvana) underneath a Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya (modern day India). He delivered his first sermon at Sarnath, India. At the age of eighty, he died at Kushinagar, India.The exact date of Buddha's birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendars. The date for the celebration of Buddha's birthday varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar, but usually falls in April or May. In leap years it may be celebrated in June.

Burmese calendar

The Burmese calendar (Burmese: မြန်မာသက္ကရာဇ်, pronounced [mjəmà θɛʔkəɹɪʔ], or ကောဇာသက္ကရာဇ်, [kɔ́zà θɛʔkəɹɪʔ]; Burmese Era (BE) or Myanmar Era (ME)) is a lunisolar calendar in which the months are based on lunar months and years are based on sidereal years. The calendar is largely based on an older version of the Hindu calendar, though unlike the Indian systems, it employs a version of the Metonic cycle. The calendar therefore has to reconcile the sidereal years of the Hindu calendar with the Metonic cycle's near tropical years by adding intercalary months and days at irregular intervals.

The calendar has been used continuously in various Burmese states since its purported launch in 640 CE in the Sri Ksetra Kingdom, also called the Pyu era. It was also used as the official calendar in other mainland Southeast Asian kingdoms of Arakan, Lan Na, Xishuangbanna, Lan Xang, Siam, and Cambodia down to the late 19th century.

Today the calendar is used only in Myanmar as the traditional civil calendar, alongside the Buddhist calendar. It is still used to mark traditional holidays such as the Burmese New Year, and other traditional festivals, many of which are Burmese Buddhist in nature.

Cambodian New Year

Cambodian New Year (Khmer: បុណ្យចូលឆ្នាំថ្មី) (Choul Chnam Thmey, literally "Enter New Year"), is the name of the Cambodian holiday that celebrates the traditional Lunar New Year. The holiday lasts for three days beginning on New Year's Day, which usually falls on April 13th or 14th, which is the end of the harvesting season, when farmers enjoy the fruits of their labor before the rainy season begins. Khmers living abroad may choose to celebrate during a weekend rather than just specifically April 13th through 16th. The Khmer New Year coincides with the traditional solar new year in several parts of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

Cambodians also use Buddhist Era to count the year based on the Buddhist calendar. For 2018, it will be 2562 BE (Buddhist Era).

Dang Bireley's and Young Gangsters

Dang Bireley's and Young Gangsters (Thai: 2499 อันธพาลครองเมือง or 2499 Antapan Krong Muang; literally: 2499 Gangsters Rule the City) is a 1997 crime drama film about young Thai gangsters in 1950s Thailand. Featuring John Woo-style heroic bloodshed, it was the debut film from director Nonzee Nimibutr and was the first screenplay by director and screenwriter Wisit Sasanatieng.

The 2499 in the Thai title refers to the year in the Buddhist calendar when the story starts, corresponding to the Gregorian year 1956.

Dragon (zodiac)

The Dragon (simplified Chinese: 龙; traditional Chinese: 龍) is the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Dragon is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 辰, pronounced chen.

It has been proposed by one academic researcher that the Earthly Branch character may have been associated with scorpions; it may have symbolized the star Antares. In the Buddhist calendar used in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, the Dragon is replaced by the nāga. In the Gurung zodiac, the Dragon is replaced by the eagle.

Life release

Life release is a traditional Buddhist practise of saving the lives of beings that were destined for slaughter. This practise is performed by all schools of Buddhism: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. It is known as "Tsethar" in Tibetan Buddhism.While this practise of life release may naturally need to be spontaneous to successfully save an endangered life, life release can also be planned. Planning often involves purchasing an animal directly from a slaughterhouse or a fishermen; this can often take place on auspicious days in the Buddhist calendar in order for the merit of the act to be multiplied thousands of times. Animals are blessed before being safely returned to their natural environment as prayers are made and often dedicated to someone who is ill or has died, with the belief that person will benefit too from this dedication.In Tibet an animal is often marked by a ribbon to indicate that the life of the animal has been liberated, with the general understanding that it will be allowed to die of natural causes. The practise in Tibetan Buddhism has been championed in recent times by Chatral Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche and Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Although this is seen to be the traditional way of carrying out this practise, Ogyen Trinley Dorje has commented that the meaning is broad and that people can use their intelligence to expand the practise in other ways; indicating that planting one tree may be more beneficial that carrying out Tsethar for many beings.It is increasingly recognized that animal release has the potential for negative environmental impacts, including as a pathway for the introduction of invasive species into non-native environments. This may lead to biodiversity loss over time. For example, competition from American Red-eared slider turtles released in China's lakes has been reported to cause death of native turtles.

Further, some animals are captured for the explicit purpose of being released, or are released into environments where they are unable to survive.

List of Buddhist festivals

Japanese festivals and Barua festivals often involve Buddhist culture, as do pagoda festivals held as fairs held at Buddhist temples in Myanmar. Features of Buddhist Tibetan festivals may include the traditional cham dance, which is also a feature of some Buddhist festivals in India and Bhutan. Many festivals of Nepal are religious festivals involving Buddhism, as are many Burmese traditional festivals. Lunar New Year festivals of Buddhist countries in East, South and Southeast Asia include some aspects of Buddhist culture, however they are considered cultural festivals as opposed to religious ones.

List of calendars

This is a list of calendars. Included are historical calendars as well as proposed ones. Historical calendars are often grouped into larger categories by cultural sphere or historical period; thus O'Neil (1976) distinguishes the groupings Egyptian calendars (Ancient Egypt), Babylonian calendars (Ancient Mesopotamia), Indian calendars (Hindu and Buddhist traditions of the Indian subcontinent), Chinese calendars and Mesoamerican calendars.

These are not specific calendars but series of historical calendars undergoing reforms or regional diversification.

In Classical Antiquity, the Hellenic calendars inspired the Roman calendar, including the solar Julian calendar introduced in 45 BC. Many modern calendar proposals, including the Gregorian calendar itself, are in turn modifications of the Julian calendar.

Lunar calendar

A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases (synodic months), in contrast to solar calendars, whose annual cycles are based only directly upon the solar year. The most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar system that originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system. A purely lunar calendar is also distinguished from a lunisolar calendar, whose lunar months are brought into alignment with the solar year through some process of intercalation. The details of when months begin varies from calendar to calendar, with some using new, full, or crescent moons and others employing detailed calculations.

Since each lunation is approximately ​29 1⁄2 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds, or 29.530588 days), it is common for the months of a lunar calendar to alternate between 29 and 30 days. Since the period of twelve such lunations, a lunar year, is only 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds (354.367056 days), purely lunar calendars lose around 11 days per year relative to the Gregorian calendar. In purely lunar calendars like the Islamic calendar, the lack of intercalation causes the lunar months to cycle through all the seasons of the Gregorian year over the course of a 33 lunar-year cycle.

Although the Gregorian calendar is in common and legal use in most countries, traditional lunar and lunisolar calendars continue to be used throughout the Old World to determine religious festivals and national holidays. Examples of such holidays include Ramadan (Islamic calendar); Easter; the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian New Year (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian calendars); the Nepali New Year (Nepali calendar); the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chuseok (Chinese and Korean calendars); Loi Krathong (Thai calendar); Sunuwar calendar; Vesak/Buddha's Birthday (Buddhist calendar); Diwali (Hindu calendars); and Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew calendar).

Mesha Sankranti

Mesha Sankranti (also called Mesha Sankramana) refers to the first day of the solar cycle year, that is the solar New Year in the Hindu luni-solar calendar. The Hindu calendar also has a lunar new year, which is religiously more significant, and falls on different dates in the Amanta and Purinamanta systems prevalent across the Indian subcontinent. The solar cycle year is significant in Oriya,Punjabi ,Malayalam,Tamil and Bengali calendars.The day represents specific solar movement according to ancient Sanskrit texts. Mesha Sankranti is one of the twelve Sankranti in the Indian calendar. The concept is also found in Indian astrology texts wherein it refers to the day of transition of sun into the Aries zodiac sign.The day is important in solar and lunisolar calendars followed on the subcontinent. Mesha Sankranti falls on 13 April usually, sometimes 14 April. This day is the basis for major Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist festivals, of which Vaisakhi and Vesak are the most well known.It is related to the equivalent Buddhist calendar-based New Year festivals in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, parts of Northeast India, parts of Vietnam and Xishuangbanna, China; collectively referred to as Songkran.

Ralang Monastery

New Ralang Monastery or Ralong Palchen Choling is a Buddhist monastery of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism in southern Sikkim, northeastern India. It is located six kilometres from Ravangla.According to legend, Ralang was built after the fourth Chogyal came back from his pilgrimage, when the 12th Karmapa performed the Rabney (blessing). He threw grains from his residence in Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet and where the grains fell, eventually, became the site for the Ralang Monastery. Ralang Monastery has an extensive collection of paintings and thangkas.

Sikhism in Thailand

Sikhism is a recognised minority religion in Thailand, with about 70,000 adherents. The religion was brought by migrants from India who began to arrive in the late 19th century. There are about twenty Sikh temples or Gurdwaras in the country, including the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Bangkok.

Thai calendar

In Thailand, two main calendar systems are used alongside each other: the Thai solar calendar, based on the Gregorian calendar, used for official and most day-to-day purposes, and the Thai lunar calendar (a version of the Buddhist calendar, technically a lunisolar calendar), used for traditional events and Buddhist religious practices.

The use of the solar calendar was introduced in 1889 by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), replacing the lunar calendar in official contexts. Originally placing the beginning of year on 1 April, this was changed to 1 January in 1941, so the days and months now correspond exactly to the Gregorian calendar. Numbering of the years follow the Buddhist Era, introduced in 1913 to replace the Rattanakosin Era, which in turn replaced the Chula Sakarat in 1889. The reckoning of the Buddhist Era in Thailand is 543 years ahead of the Common Era (Anno Domini), so the year 2019 CE corresponds to B.E. 2562.

The lunar calendar contains twelve or thirteen months in a year, with 15 waxing moon and 14 or 15 waning moon days in a month, amounting to years of 354, 355 or 384 days. The years are usually noted by the animal of the Chinese zodiac, although there are several dates used to count the New Year.

As with the rest of the world, the seven-day week is used alongside both calendars. The solar calendar now governs most aspects of life in Thailand, and while official state documents invariably follow the Buddhist Era, the Common Era is also used by the private sector. The lunar calendar determines the dates of Buddhist holidays, traditional festivals and astrological practices, and the lunar date is still recorded on birth certificates and printed in most daily newspapers.

Thai lunar calendar

The Thai lunar calendar (Thai: ปฏิทินจันทรคติ, RTGS: patithin chanthrakhati, pronounced [pà.tì.tʰīn tɕān.tʰrá.kʰā.tìʔ], literally, Specific days according to lunar norms), or Tai calendar, is a lunisolar Buddhist calendar. It is used for calculating lunar-regulated holy days. Based on the SuriyaYatra, with likely influence from the traditional Hindu Surya Siddhanta, it has its own unique structure that does not require the Surya Siddhanta to calculate. Lunisolar calendars combine lunar and solar calendars for a nominal year of 12 months. An extra day or an extra 30-day month is intercalated at irregular intervals.

Torgya

Torgya, also known as Tawang-Torgya, is an annual festival that is exclusively held in Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is held according to the Buddhist calendar days of 28th to 30th of Dawachukchipa, which corresponds to 10 to 12 January of the Gregorian calendar, and is a Monpa celebration. The objective of the festival is to ward off any kind of external aggression and to protect people from natural disasters.

Wat Charoenbhavana

Wat Charoenbhavana, Manchester (Thai: วัดเจริญภาวนา แมนเชสเตอร์; literally "the temple for cultivation of meditation"), also known in English as the North-West Centre for Buddhist Meditation, established on 8 February 2004, is the first Thai Buddhist temple in the northwest of England. It is located in a converted curtain-rail factory in the Salford.

The temple was named Wat Charoenbhavana (Manchester) by the Thai community, and was consecrated with the blessing of the Most Venerable Phrarajbhavanavimol, head of the Thai Buddhist mission to England.

The temple was accepted as an official place for religious worship (no.81212) on 4 June 2004 with the help of the Thai Culture Forum UK.

Originally the temple had no Buddha image. The eight-foot Buddha image which has pride of place in the main shrine room was rescued from a roadside in Cardiff.

The temple runs a variety of pastoral services for the Buddhist community in Manchester and marks most of the events in the Thai Buddhist calendar. A variety of evening classes on Buddhism and meditation are run on weekdays and Thai language classes on weekends.

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