The Tamil calendar is used in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry in India, and by the Tamil population in Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. It is used today for cultural, religious and agricultural events, with the Gregorian calendar having largely supplanted it for official use both within and outside India. The Tamil calendar is based on the classical Hindu solar calendar also used in Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Nepal, Orissa and the Punjab.
There are several festivals based on the Tamil Hindu calendar. The Tamil New Year follows the nirayanam vernal equinox and generally falls on April 13 or 14th of the Gregorian year. April 13 or 14th marks the first day of the traditional Tamil calendar and this remains a public holiday in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Tropical vernal equinox fall around 22 March, and adding 23 degrees of trepidation or oscillation to it, we get the Hindu sidereal or Nirayana Mesha Sankranti (Sun's transition into nirayana Aries). Hence, the Tamil calendar begins on the same date in April which is observed by most traditional calendars of the rest of India - Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Orissa, Manipur, Nepal, Punjab etc. This also coincides with the traditional new year in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The 60-year cycle is also very ancient and is observed by most traditional calendars of India and China, and is related to 5 revolutions of Jupiter according to popular belief, or to 60-year orbit of Nakshatras (stars) as mentioned in Surya Siddhanta.
The traditional Tamil year starts on April 14, 2009, Kaliyuga 5111. Vikrama and Shalivahana Saka eras are also used. There are several references in early Tamil literature to the April new year. Nakkirar, the author of the Nedunalvaadai writes in the 3rd century that the Sun travels from Mesha/Chitterai through 11 successive Raasis or signs of the zodiac. Koodaloor Kizhaar in the 3rd century refers to Mesha Raasi/Chitterai as the commencement of the year in the Puranaanooru. The 8th century Silappadikaaram mentions the 12 Raasis or zodiac signs starting with Mesha/Chitterai. The Manimekalai alludes to the Hindu solar calendar as we know it today.
The days of the Tamil Calendar relate to the celestial bodies in the solar system: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn, in that order. The week starts with Sunday.
|Weekday (Tamil)||Weekday (English)||Vaasara (Sanskrit)||Lord/Planet||Gregorian equivalent|
The number of days in a month varies between 29 and 32.
|Month (Tamil)||Sanskrit Name *||Month (English)||Gregorian|
|சித்திரை||Chaitra||Cittirai||mid-April to mid-May|
|வைகாசி||Vaisākha||Vaikāci||mid-May to mid-June|
|ஆனி||Jyaishtha||Āni||mid-June to mid-July|
|ஆடி||Āshādha||Āṭi||mid-July to mid-August|
|ஆவணி||Shrāvana||Āvaṇi||mid-August to mid-September|
|புரட்டாசி||Bhādrapada||Puraṭṭāci||mid-September to mid-October|
|ஐப்பசி||Ashwina||Aippaci/Aippasi||mid-October to mid-November|
|கார்த்திகை||Kārttika||Kārttikai||mid-November to mid-December|
|மார்கழி||Mārgashīrsha||Mārkaḻi||mid-December to mid-January|
|தை||Pausha||Tai||mid-January to mid-February|
|மாசி||Māgha||Māci||mid-February to mid-March|
|பங்குனி||Phalguna||Paṅkuni||mid-March to mid-April|
|The sanskrit months above would start one month ahead of Tamil months since the Tamil calendar is a solar calendar and the Sanskrit lunisolar.|
The Tamil year, in keeping with the old Indic calendar, is divided into six seasons, each of which lasts two months.
|kār||dark, rain||Varsha (rainy)||āvani, puratāci|
|kūtir||chill, wind||Sharada (autumn)||aippaci, kārthikai|
|munpani||early dew||Hemanta (early winter)||mārkazhi, tai|
|pinpani||late dew||Sishira (late winter)||māsi, pankuni|
|ilavenil||young warmth||Vasanta (spring)||chithirai, vaikāsi|
|mutuvenil||extreme warmth||Grishma (summer)||āni, ādi|
The 60-year cycle of the Tamil Calendar is also found in many North and South Indian traditional calendars, with the same name and sequence of years. Its earliest reference is to be found in Surya Siddhanta, which Varahamihirar (550 CE) believed to be the most accurate of the then current theories of astronomy. However, in the Surya Siddhantic list, the first year was Vijaya and not Prabhava as currently used. This 60-year cycle is also used in the Chinese calendar.
After the completion of sixty years, the calendar starts anew with the first year. This corresponds to the Hindu "century." The Vakya or Tirukannitha Panchangam (the traditional Tamil almanac) outlines this sequence.
|01.||பிரபவ||Prabhava||1987 - 1988|
|02.||விபவ||Vibhava||1988 - 1989|
|03.||சுக்ல||Sukla||1989 - 1990|
|04.||பிரமோதூத||Pramodhoodha||1990 - 1991|
|05.||பிரசோற்பத்தி||Prachorpaththi||1991 - 1992|
|06.||ஆங்கீரச||Aangirasa||1992 - 1993|
|07.||ஸ்ரீமுக||Srimukha||1993 - 1994|
|08.||பவ||Bhava||1994 - 1995|
|09.||யுவ||Yuva||1995 - 1996|
|10.||தாது||Thaadhu||1996 - 1997|
|11.||ஈஸ்வர||Eesvara||1997 - 1998|
|12.||வெகுதானிய||Vehudhanya||1998 - 1999|
|13.||பிரமாதி||Pramathi||1999 - 2000|
|14.||விக்கிரம||Vikrama||2000 - 2001|
|15.||விஷு||Vishu||2001 - 2002|
|16.||சித்திரபானு||Chitrabaanu||2002 - 2003|
|17.||சுபானு||Subaanu||2003 - 2004|
|18.||தாரண||Thaarana||2004 - 2005|
|19.||பார்த்திப||Paarthiba||2005 - 2006|
|20.||விய||Viya||2006 - 2007|
|21.||சர்வசித்து||Sarvajith||2007 - 2008|
|22.||சர்வதாரி||Sarvadhari||2008 - 2009|
|23.||விரோதி||Virodhi||2009 - 2010|
|24.||விக்ருதி||Vikruthi||2010 - 2011|
|25.||கர||Kara||2011 - 2012|
|26.||நந்தன||Nandhana||2012 - 2013|
|27.||விஜய||Vijaya||2013 - 2014|
|28.||ஜய||Jaya||2014 - 2015|
|29.||மன்மத||Manmatha||2015 - 2016|
|30.||துன்முகி||Dhunmuki||2016 - 2017|
|31.||ஹேவிளம்பி||Hevilambi||2017 - 2018|
|32.||விளம்பி||Vilambi||2018 - 2019|
|33.||விகாரி||Vikari||2019 - 2020|
|34.||சார்வரி||Sarvari||2020 - 2021|
|35.||பிலவ||Plava||2021 - 2022|
|36.||சுபகிருது||Subakrith||2022 - 2023|
|37.||சோபகிருது||Sobakrith||2023 - 2024|
|38.||குரோதி||Krodhi||2024 - 2025|
|39.||விசுவாசுவ||Visuvaasuva||2025 - 2026|
|40.||பரபாவ||Parabhaava||2026 - 2027|
|41.||பிலவங்க||Plavanga||2027 - 2028|
|42.||கீலக||Keelaka||2028 - 2029|
|43.||சௌமிய||Saumya||2029 - 2030|
|44.||சாதாரண||Sadharana||2030 - 2031|
|45.||விரோதகிருது||Virodhikrithu||2031 - 2032|
|46.||பரிதாபி||Paridhaabi||2032 - 2033|
|47.||பிரமாதீச||Pramaadhisa||2033 - 2034|
|48.||ஆனந்த||Aanandha||2034 - 2035|
|49.||ராட்சச||Rakshasa||2035 - 2036|
|50.||நள||Nala||2036 - 2037|
|51.||பிங்கள||Pingala||2037 - 2038|
|52.||காளயுக்தி||Kalayukthi||2038 - 2039|
|53.||சித்தார்த்தி||Siddharthi||2039 - 2040|
|54.||ரௌத்திரி||Raudhri||2040 - 2041|
|55.||துன்மதி||Thunmathi||2041 - 2042|
|56.||துந்துபி||Dhundubhi||2042 - 2043|
|57.||ருத்ரோத்காரி||Rudhrodhgaari||2043 - 2044|
|58.||ரக்தாட்சி||Raktakshi||2044 - 2045|
|59.||குரோதன||Krodhana||2045 - 2046|
|60.||அட்சய||Akshaya||2046 - 2047|
The months of the Tamil Calendar have great significance and are deeply rooted in the faith of the Tamil Hindus. Some months are considered very auspicious while a few are considered inauspicious as well. Some of the celebrations for each month are listed below.
|Chithirai||Chitra Pournami & Varusha pirappu are the most important festivals in this month|
|Vaikaasi||Vaikaasi Visaakam is the most important day in this month.|
|Aani||Aani Thirumanjanam or Aani Uttaram for Lord Nataraja is the most famous day in this month.|
|Aadi||A most important month for women. The most auspicious days are Fridays and Tuesdays in this month, these are called Aadi Velli and Aadi Chevvai and the Aadi Amavasya. Aadi Pooram is also a special day.|
|Aavani||An important month with many rituals. Brahmins change their sacred thread on Aavani Avittam. Each Sunday of the month is dedicated to prayers - Aavani Gnayiru.|
|Purattaasi||An important month for Vaishnavas. Purattaasi Sani(Saturday) is an auspicious day.|
|Aippasi||The monsoons typically start over Tamil Nadu in this month. Hence the saying, "Aippasi Mazhai, adai mazhai" - meaning "Aippasi rains are persistent rains". Also Annaabishekam for Lord Shiva is very famous in this month. The most famous Hindu festival "Deepavali" is celebrated in this month. The Fridays of this month - Aipassi velli - are dedicated to religious observance.|
|Karthikai||Another auspicious celebration for Murugan devotees is Thirukaarthigai. The Krithikaa Pournami is the special day of the full moon in the month of Kaarthikai, and the star is Krithikaa. Each Monday of this month is dedicated to the worship of Lord Murugan.Every Monday is called "Somavaaram" when 108 or 1008 sangabhishekam are offered to Lord Shiva and Lord Muruga.|
|Maargazhi||This is another special month in the Tamil Calendar. Temples open earlier in the mornings and Devotees throng the temples early for puja and prasadam - the offering made to the deity which is later distributed to the devotees. Arudra Darisanam (Thiruvaadirai star in Tamil) is the most auspicious day in this month. This is also a very popular festival in Kerala, where it is called Thiruvaadira. The offering made to Lord siva is the Thiruvaadira Kali. Mukkodi Ekathesi is called "Sorgavasal Thirappu" for Lord Vishnu. The Tiruvembaavai fast takes place in this month.|
|Thai||Pongal, which is the harvest festival, is celebrated on the first day of this month. Thai Sukrawaaram is a popular day among Telugu speaking peoples settled in Tamil Nadu. Thaipusam is also a special day for Murugan devotees, who carry Kavadis to one of the Aarupadaiveedu (Literally meaning "six abodes").|
|Maasi||Maasi Magam is the special day of the most famous Mahasivarathiri and Maasi Magam which comes in this Month.|
|Panguni||Panguni Uthiram, the last month of the year, is a famous festival and special to Murugan and Siva devotees. The State Government of Tamil Nadu declared it a holiday, during which offices and schools remain closed. However, shops remain open and do brisk business. The state's active film industry also releases a few new films, and cinemas usually overflow with eager fans waiting to watch the earliest show with their favourite stars on the big screen.|
- The Hindus developed a system of calendrics that encapsulates vast periods of time. For computing the age of the earth and various geological and other epochs, as well as the age of mankind, they still employ a Tamil calendar derived from ancient astronomical data, known as the Tirukkanida Panchanga (cf. The Secret Doctrine, 2:49-51).
- This calendar contains a calculation of something over three hundred million years for the age of the present earth since sedimentation occurred, and a period of somewhat more than eighteen million years since the first appearance of our mankind.
- The 10th Tamil month, called Thai, falls in mid-January each year. It is celebrated with much enthusiasm within the Tamil Community all over the world. Thai is marked by gifts of new clothing for family members and prayers to God for prosperity in the coming year. Thai and the fifth month Aavani are considered very auspicious for marriage and most marriages occur during these months.
- The fourth month Aadi is considered inauspicious, so weddings do not often fall in this month. Aadi is also the month of preparation for the next crop cycle by farmers. Therfore, farming communities avoid major events like weddings in this month. Those members of the tamil community who don't actively contribute/participate in farming take advantage by having important functions like wedding in this month. For example, the business community prefers this month for weddings. Asdi is usually the worst month for business, although when businesses recently initiated Aadi discounts, this situation has changed significantly. Each Friday of this month is set aside for prayer and worship.
- (?) ia an inauspicious month for newlyweds to sleep together because a woman who conceives in this month will have a difficult delivery in May, the hottest month in Tamil Nadu (Agni natchathiram [pinezu] last 7 days of Chitharai and [munezu] first 7 days of Vaigasi).?)
- Purattaasi is when most of the non-vegetarian Tamil people fast from meat for a month. This faith can be considered similar to fasts undertaken by Muslims during Ramadan. Each Saturday of this month is set apart to venerate the planet Saturn.
- Deepavali, is celebrated on the new moon day, in the seventh month Aipassi. The month of Aipassi is usually characterised by the North-East Monsoon in Tamil Nadu, which has given birth to a phrase, Aipassi Adai Mazhai meaning the "Non-stop Downpour".
- Maargazhi falls in winter in Tamil Nadu, and is considered auspicious for unmarried women to find a groom. The Shaivite fast of Tiru-vembaavai and the Vaishnava fast of Tiru-paavai are also observed in this month.
- The total number of days in a Tamil Calendar is an average 365 days and the days of the week are named similarly to those of the western calendar. The Vakiya Panchangam is employed for both sacred and civil calculations. The Trikanitha Panchangam is employed for astrological calculations.
The Tamil Calendar is so important to the life of Tamil-speaking people that most of the Festivals of Tamil Nadu are based on it. Some of Festivals include Tamil New Year or Puthandu in mid-April, Thai Pongal, Deepavali, Panguni Uthiram, Thirukaarthigai, Aadiperukku, Navaratri etc.