The Hindu calendar is a common term used to refer to the entire luni-sidereal and sidereal calendar used in ancient Hinduism. The Calendar typically follows the lunar year which consist of 12 lunar months, each having two fortnights.
Over the years, the calendar has been edited and changed with several variations of the Hindu calendar in use today, specific to the various regions of the country. Each version of the calendar has small characteristics that differ them; however, one thing is the same for all of them: the names of the twelve months. The today’s calendar is made up of both solar and lunisolar calendars, and also centres on astronomy and religion, which marks important religious festival and worship days.
Following are the Months as used in the Hindu calendar:
- Chaitra (30 / 31* Days) Begins March 22 / 21*
- Vaisakha (31 Days) Begins April 21
- Jyaistha (31 Days) Begins May 22
- Asadha (31 Days) Begins June 22
- Shravana (31 Days) Begins July 23
- Bhadra (31 Days) Begins August 23
- Asvina (30 Days) Begins September 23
- Kartika (30 Days) Begins October 23
- Agrahayana (30 Days) Begins November 22
- Pausa (30 Days) Begins December 22
- Magha (30 Days) Begins January 21
- Phalguna (30 Days) Begins February 20
(* Leap years)
Significance of Months:
In lunar religious calendars, Chaitra begins with the new moon in March/April and is the first month of the year. The first of Chaitra – is celebrated as New Year's Day, known as GudiPadwa in Maharashtra, ChaitraiVishu and Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The month mark some important festivals such as Ram Navami celebrated on 9th day of Chaitra, and Hanuman Jayanti that falls on the last day (purnima) of Chaitra and Holi, the spring festival of colour, is celebrated on the eve of Chaitra.
The harvest festival of (Baisakhi) is celebrated in this month. VaisakhaPurnima is celebrated as Buddha Purnima or the birthday of Gautama Buddha amongst southern Buddhists or the Theravada school. Purnima refers to the Full Moon.
Vat Pournima is a celebration observed in Maharashtra and Karnataka, India. It is celebrated on the full moon day (the 15th) of the month of Jyeshtha on the Hindu calendar. Women pray for their husbands by tying threads around a banyan tree on this day. It honorsSavitri, the legendary wife of Satyavan who escaped death for her husband's life.
Guru Purnima, a festival dedicated to the Guru, is celebrated on the Purnima (Full Moon) day of the month. Prior to itShayaniEkadashi, is observed on the eleventh lunar day (Ekadashi) of the bright fortnight.
Shravana(jupaka) is considered to be a holy month in the Hindu calendar due to the many festivals that are celebrated during this time. Krishna Janmashtami, marking the birth of Krishna, falls on the 8th day after the full moon. RakshaBandhan, the festival of brothers and sisters, is celebrated on ShraavanaPoornima (Full Moon).
ShravaniMela is a major festival time at Deoghar in Jharkhand with thousands of saffron-clad pilgrims bringing holy water around 100 km on foot from the Ganges at Sultanganj.Shravan is also the time of the annual KanwarYatra, the annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kanwaria make to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch holy waters of Ganges River
AnantChaturdashi is a Jain religious observance is performed on the fourteenth day (Chaturdashi) of the bright fortnight (Shuklapaksha) of Bhadrapad month.MadhuPurnima (Bengali for 'honey full-moon') is a Buddhist festival celebrated in India and Bangladesh, especially in the region of Chittagong. It occurs on the day of the full moon in the month of Bhadro (August/September).
Several major religious holidays take place in Ashvin, including Durga Puja (6-10 Ashvin), Dasehra (10 Ashvin) and Divali (29 Ashvin), Kojagiri festivals and Kali Puja (new moon of Ashvin).
The festival of KartikPoornima (15th day Full Moon) falls in this month, celebrated as DevDeepavali in Varanasi. This coincides with the nirvana of the Jain Tirthankara – Mahavira and the birth of the Sikh Guru Nanak Guru Nanak Jayanti
KālabhairavaAṣṭamī (or KālabhairavaJayanti) falls on KṛṣṇaPakṣaAṣṭamī of this month of Mārgaśīṣa. On this day it is said that Lord Śiva appeared on earth in the fierce manifestation (avatāra) as ŚrīKālabhairava. This day is commemorated with special prayers and rituals.
The harvest festival of Pongal/MakarSankranti is celebrated on this month.
VasantPanchami, sometimes referred to as Saraswati Puja, or the Festival of Kites is a Sikh and Hindu festival held on the fifth day of Magha (in early February) marking the start of spring and the Holi season. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, art and culture.
Most parts of North India see early celebration of the famous Hindu festival Holi in this month. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (Phalguna Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March.