In my travel to various countries across globe… this habit of visiting many places and meet local people was actually boosted up in me by my lovely friend Harish Chauhan. He introduced me to the concept of surfing and staying with local nationals, which in turn makes you observe and see their life style closely.
In this exploration, I have collected some information, more by talking to the various nationalities and understanding their culture. I am compiling some of the information here on this blog.
At times my exploration landed in finding similarities between the Indian culture and their lifestyle, festivals etc.
I am exploring the similarities between the calendars we use for our festivals, time measurement and usage. I shall compare and contrast the time charts of Iran, Thailand, and Cambodia. The central theme is Indian Lunar and Solar calendars influencing these nation’s time measurement and calendars.
In India major two sets of calendars are utilized since many centuries’ viz. Solar (Saur) and Lunar (Chandra). Depending on the influencing and powerful king the calendar is named by them, as well which type to adopt was decided by the king. This is also seen in countries like Iran, Thailand and Cambodia. I will try not to be too technical in this information piece. I shall make it simpler which can be understood by common man.
Well what amazes me is the utilization of various calendars in India and then it is expanded not only in Southeast Asia but in Middle East (primarily Iran and Afghanistan) also. This influence is predominantly seen by Hindu time calculation style.
Let us see how Indian / Sanskrit names has influenced the Day names of Thai Calendar
Thais call their calendar as Suriyakhati, which has base from Sanskrit. Surya means sun. This means the Thai calendar is based on Solar (Saur in Hindu) type for day and month calculation. They also call the week as Sapdaha or Sapda meaning Seven Days which has Sanskrit origin as Saptaha. Thais call their day as Wan which has origin in Sanskrit word War. I was amazed to see such huge influence can be seen in Thailand. I have spent so much time talking to my Thai friend Chaichana in Bangkok about their time measurement system.
|English name||Planet Name||Sanskrit Name of the Planet||Sanskrit Name||Thai Name||Hindu Color for Planet||Thai Dedicated Color|
|Sunday||Sun||Ravi or Aditya||Aditya Wasare Bhanu Wasare Ravi Wasare||Wan Athit||Red||Red|
|Monday||Moon||Chandra||Som Wasare Chandra Wasare||Wan Chan||White or Yellow||Yellow|
|Tuesday||Mars||Mangal or Angarak||Mangal Wasare Angarak Diwase Bhaum Wasare||Wan Angkhan||Redish or Pink||Pink|
|Wednesday||Mercury||Budha||Budh Wasare||Wan Phut||Green||Green|
|Thursday||Jupiter||Bruhaspati||Guru Wasare Bruhaspati Wasare||Wan Phruehatsabodi||Orange or Deep Yellow||Orange|
|Friday||Venus||Shukra||Shukra Wasare||Wan Suk||Blue or Super White||Blue|
|Saturday||Saturn||Shani||Shani Wasare||Wan Sao||Blue or Purple||Purple|
Wasare is taken as War many a times. War is non-Sanskrit linguistic forms in Indic speech prior to approximately the 3d century a.d. called as Apabhansh (Please keep this word in mind we might use this word frequently). Ba of Sanskrit becomes Pa of Thai. Thais do not use hard word in their language hence we can see
Aditya become Athit. Chadra become Chan. Angarak becomes Angkhan. Budh is called as Phut. Bruhaspati becomes Phruehatsabodi. Shukra is called as Suk, and Shani become Sao. Many more Sanskrit words in day to day life of Thai people can also be observed. However the major influence I have seen in their day to day life is the calendar they use. Their day to day calendar is not Gregorian calendar and the months they use are also not January, February (Gregorian). The basis of the months can be seen the Sun Sign (Rashi in Sanskrit). The names utilized by them are Hindu names for various Sun Signs. They call their new year as Songkaran (Apabrahnsh of Sankrant), literally means transition of Sun. In India every moth Hindus celebrates Sankranti. The biggest amoung them are Makar Sankranti and Karka Sankranti. This is dedicated to the transition of Sun into Makara rashi: Capricorn and Karka Rashi: Cancer respectively. In this way every month has sankranti. Thai people celebrate their new year on Mesh Sankranti: Transition of Sun into Aries.
Thais use 2 suffixes after each month name viz. Ayon and Akhom. The origin of the Ayon is Ayan in Sanskrit means Beginning. Akhom comes from Sanskrit word Aagam meaning entry. This is particularly differentiate the 30 and 31 day solar months e.g Makarakhom Makar- Akhom meaning beginning of Makar period (Capricorn) or Kanyayon i.e Kanya- Ayon meaning entry into Kanya (Virgo) period.
Name of February is KumbhaPhan as we have already seen “Ba” of Sanskrit becomes “Pa” of thai hence we can say it is Kumbha-Bhan. The word Bhan comes from Bandh meaning tying or binding. The day added in February leap year is called as “Athikasuratin” again Sanskrit origin. This word is made out of 2 Sanskrit words Adhika (Addition) and Sura (Move). In India Malayalam calendar also uses same names of the month as Thai people.
|English name of the Month||Thai Name of the Months||Malayali Name of the Month||Sanskrit word||Zodiac sign|
Thai people celebrate their traditional new year by spilling water on each other, sometimes they use colored water to pour on each other. This is similar to the Holi festival of India. The Holi festival is celebrated on Full Moon day of Falgun month usually comes in March or April. This is also a period of Thai New Year. If you will observe the festivals of India Holi is predominantly played in North India. Hence we see the festival similarity and while tracing the parallels between the influences on Thai calendar, I feel it is more getting pushed from North India. However it is said that Cholas from Tamil Nadu have ruled Thailand and it also coincides with Tamil New year Puthandu also called as Chiittrai Vishu.
It becomes more interesting hereafter. Mesha Rashi Is the 1st zodiac sign. The sun moves into Chitra Nakshatra hence it is called as Chittarai Vishu. And the name of the 1st Month of lunisolar calendar month followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kashmir and Sindhis is “Chaitra” coming from the name Chitra Nakshatra.
Nakshatra is the term for lunar mansion in Hindu Astrology. A nakshatra is one of 27 sectors along the ecliptic. The opposite point for the nakshatra is the point on the ecliptic; it is the beginning of the zodiac sign. Spica is called Chitrā in Sanskrit. Which is also known as Meshadhi (From the opposite point is the zodiac sign Mesha – Aries begins), hence the name Chaitra is given to this 1st month of the calendar.
The name of Cambodian new year is Moha Songkaran taken from Sanskrit word Maha Sankranti (the important transition of sun). This again lies in April month. This is influenced in many south east countries.
|Lunar Calendar Day||International date||Public holiday in||Notes|
|Full moon of Pausa||January||Sri Lanka|
|Full moon of Magha||February||Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand|
|Full moon of Phalguna||March||Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka|
|Almost always in Chaitra, sometimes in Vaisakha||April||Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand||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|
|Full moon of Visakha||May||Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka||Buddha Pournima|
|Full moon of Jyaistha||June||Sri Lanka|
|Full moon of Ashadha||July||Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka|
|Full moon of Sravana||August||Sri Lanka|
|Full moon of Bhadrapada||September||Laos, Sri Lanka|
|Full moon of Asvina||October||Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka|
|Full moon of Karttika||November||Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand|
|Full moon of Margasirsa||December||Sri Lanka|
Well April (Date differs as per solar transition or new moon) is not just the New year for India, South East Asia but in Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan also.
In all below calendars March – April is the New Year period.
|Month||Indian Lunar Calendar||Indian Solar Calendar||Indian Solar Sign Name||Thai Calendar||Iranian Persian||Afghan Pashto|
|Mar- Apr||Chaitra||Chaitra||Mesh||Mesayon||Farvardin||Wray (Means Lamb; That’s Mesh)|
|Apr- May||Vaishakh||Vaishakh||Vrishabh||Phruetsaphakhom||Ordibehesht||Ǧwayay (Means Bull; That’s Coming from Family of Gau – Cow)|
|May- Jun||Jyaishtha||Jyaishtha||Mithun||Mithunayon||Khordad||Ǧbargolay (Means Twin; Coming from word Yugula)|
|Jun- Jul||Āshādha||Āshādha||Karka||Karakadakhom||Tir||Čungāx̌ (Means Crab)|
|Jul- Aug||Shrāvana||Shrāvana||Singham||Singhakhom||Mordad||Zmaray (Representas Lion)|
|Aug- Sep||Bhādrapada||Bhādrapada||Kanya||Kanyayon||Shahrivar||Waǵay (Virgin)|
|Sep- Oct||Āshwin||Āshwin||Tula||Tulakhom||Mehr||Təla (Meaning weighing scale)|
|Oct- Nov||Kārtika||Kārtika||Vrishchika||Phruetsachikayon||Aban||Laṛam (Scorpio)|
|Nov- Dec||Margasirsha||Margasirsha||Dhanu||Thanwakhom||Azar||Līndəi (Sagittarius)|
|Dec- Jan||Pausha||Pausha||Makar||Makarakhom, Mokkarakhom||Dey||Marǧūmay (Capricorn)|
|Jan- Feb||Māgha||Māgha||Kumbha||Kumphaphan||Bahman||Salwāǧa (Aquarius)|
|Feb- Mar||Phālguna||Phālguna||Meen||Minakhom||Esfand||Kab (Pisces)|
The new year in Persian is called as Nav-Rooz having roots in Sanskrit word Nav- Varsh literally meaning New Year.