Kotin I. Two semesters and two New Years on the Indian calendar

I. Kotin - Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences St. Petersburg, Russian Federation ORCID:
E-mail: igorkotin@mail.ru


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ABSTRACT. This article attempts to look into some Indian calendar festivals, their relations to agricultural seasons and the roles of those considered as New Year festivals by different groups of Indian population. A visitor to India can notice that the formal dates of the New Year there are not one and they are less popular than calendar festivals connected to agricultural activities. This article attempts to trace the origins of festivals connected to the New Year and other important calendar dates. It analyzes Indian calendar systems, lunar and solar months and fortnights, as well as the following festivals: Makara Sanskranti, Vaishakhi (Baishakhi), Holi and Diwali. It is argued that the lunar calendar has been very important in South Asia since the time of the Ancient Indus Civilization. Indians paid much attention to the lunar days, halfmonths and months and days of ‘travel’ of Moon from one ‘star home’ to another. Agricultural seasons were connected in a greater degree to the solar calendar. In the days of the Akhemenid Empire and Alexander the Great’s march to India, luni-solar calendars were introduced to India along with the Zodiac system. At present several calendar systems are popular in India and different days are used as the beginning of the year. Various agricultural stages are close to these dates. As the result several days are recognized in India as the beginning of the year by different groups of the Indian population.


DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2020-2(8)-129-151
УДК 3 9(540)


KEYWORDS: India, calendar, festivals, New Year, autumn-winter agricultural season, springsummer agricultural season, Diwali, Holi, Makara-Sankranti, Baishakhi



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