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Encyclopedia > Buddhist calendar

The Buddhist calendar is used on mainland southeast Asia in the countries of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (formerly Burma) in several related forms. It is a lunisolar calendar having months that are alternately 29 and 30 days, with an intercalated day and a 30-day month added at regular intervals. All of its forms are based on the original third century Surya Siddhanta, not its modern form (both forms are used by the various Hindu calendars). World map showing Asia. ... A lunisolar calendar is a calendar whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. ... (2nd century - 3rd century - 4th century - other centuries) Events The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east. ... The Hindu calendar is of two types: the solar calendar or the saura māna the lunisolar calendar or the chāndra māna Both are described in this article. ...

Its lunisolar intercalation system generally adds seven extra months (adhikamasa) every 19 years and 11 extra days (adhikavara) every 57 years, but this is only a rough guide to the results of the actual calculations. The average year is 365.25875 days reckoned from the mahayuga of 4,320,000 years, simplified to 292,207 days every 800 years by removing a common factor of 5400 from the total days and years. This year is slightly longer than the modern sidereal year and is substantially longer than the modern tropical year. The Hindu version adds extra months and days (or removes months and days) as soon as the astronomical formulae require, whereas the southeast Asian versions delay their addition. The Thai/Lao/Cambodian version does not permit an extra day to occur within years having an extra month, whereas the Burmese version permits an extra day only in years having an extra month. Thus there are four types of lunisolar years, of 354, 355, 384, or 385 days. Even though the intercalation cycles imply a tropical year, the sidereal year that is actually used causes the 'cycles' to gradually shift throughout history. The sidereal year is the time for the Sun to return to the same position in respect to the stars of the celestial sphere. ... A tropical year is the length of time that the Sun, as viewed from the Earth, takes to return to the same position along the ecliptic (its path among the stars on the celestial sphere). ...

The month names are Sanskrit (except in old Burmese): Sanskrit ( संस्कृतम्) is a classical language of India and a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. ...

Caitra, Vaisakha, Jyestha, Ashadha, Sravan, Bhadrapada,
Asvina, Karttika, Maragasirsha, Pausha, Magha, Phalguna.

The old Burmese month names were:

Tagu, Kason, Nayon, Wazo, Wagaung, Tawthalin,
Thadingyut, Tarzaungmon, Natdaw, Pyatho, Tabodwe, Tabaung.

Common years have months that alternate 29 and 30 days with an extra day being added to Jyestha/Nayon making it 30 days, and an extra month is obtained by counting Ashadha/Wazo twice. Each month has a waxing half of 15 days and a waning half of 14 or 15 days.

The numbered year coincides with the sidereal year containing twelve zodiacal signs (rasi) so it can begin on any date from 6 Caitra/Tagu to 5 Vaisakha/Kason, meaning the rest of the month will be in an adjacent year. Thus any particular numbered year may be missing some days of the month while an adjacent year has the same set of dates at both its beginning and end. Zodiac signs, 16th century , medieval woodcuts The zodiac (from Greek zoon, animal) is an imaginary belt in the heavens extending approximately 8 degrees on either side of the Suns apparent path (the ecliptic), that includes the apparent paths of the Moon and the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. ...

Four eras were/are used: Anchansakarat (from 10 March 691 BC) (rarely used), Buddhasakarat (Buddhist Era or BE, 11 March 545 BC) (BE–AD of 544 used to be common, but BE–AD is now 543 in Thailand, beginning after April before 1940, then began and still begins 1 January), Mahasakarat (17 March 78) (same as the Saka Era in India, used in Thailand until the mid-13th century, standard in Cambodia), and Chulasakarat (22 March 638) (adopted in Thailand mid-13th century, standard in Burma). All years are elapsed/expired/complete years, thus their epochal year is year 0, not year 1, because a complete year had not yet elapsed during it. The epochal dates only apply to year 0 — modern dates for the entry of the Sun into the first rasi (the beginning of the sidereal year) occur later in the Gregorian calendar due to precession of the equinoxes. The calculations do not begin with zero at epoch — instead an offset of a certain number of whole and fractional days, which can amount to more than one year, must be added to all calculations, explaining the apparent Buddhasakarat inconsistency. Here 544 has an offset of 4 days at epoch whereas 543 has an offset of 369 days. March 10 is the 69th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (70th in Leap years). ... (8th century BC - 7th century BC - 6th century BC - other centuries) (700s BC - 690s BC - 680s BC - 670s BC - 660s BC - 650s BC - 640s BC - 630s BC - 620s BC - 610s BC - 600s BC - other decades) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Scythians arrived in Asia Collapse... 11 March is the 70th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (71st in Leap year). ... (7th century BC - 6th century BC - 5th century BC - other centuries) (600s BC - 590s BC - 580s BC - 570s BC - 560s BC - 550s BC - 540s BC - 530s BC - 520s BC - 510s BC - 500s BC - other decades) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Cyrus the Great conquered many... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... March 17 is the 76th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (77th in Leap years). ... For other uses, see number 78. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... March 22 is the 81st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (82nd in Leap years). ... Events Islamic calendar introduced The Muslims capture Antioch, Caesarea Palaestina and Akko Births Deaths October 12 - Pope Honorius I Categories: 638 ... A year zero does not exist in the Christian Era and thus also does not exist in our current calculation of times. ... The Gregorian calendar is the calendar that is used nearly everywhere in the world. ... A tropical year is the length of time that the Sun, as viewed from the Earth, takes to return to the same position along the ecliptic (its path among the stars on the celestial sphere). ...


  • J.C. (John Christopher) Eade. The calendrical systems of mainland south-east Asia. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995.
  • ———. Southeast Asian ephemeris. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Southeast Asian Program, 1989.

See also

The Thai lunar calendar or Patitin Chantarakati (Thai: ปฏิทินจันทรคติ) was replaced by the Patitin Suriyakati (ปฎิทินสุริยคติ) Thai solar calendar in AD 1888 2431 BE for most purposes, but the Chantarakati still determines most Buddhist feast or holy days, as well as a day for the famous Loy Krathong festival. ... The Thai solar, or Suriyakati (สุริยคติ), calendar is used in traditional and official contexts in Thailand, although the Western calendar is sometimes used in business. ...

External link

  • Thai Time by Anthony Diller
  • Buddhist Calendar Library

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