In Sri lanka, every full moon is celebrated as a commemoration of some event in the history of Buddhism of Sri Lanka. According to this calendar the present year is lunar years after the passing away of Lord Buddha. This is based on the movement of the sun across the celestial sphere along the zodiac explained further in chapter 3. A month in this calendar, is the period of time the sun takes to travel across from the beginning of one of the segments of the zodiac to its end. The new year begins as the sun enters the first of the segments rashi named Mesha Aries.
This takes place in the Gregorian calendar month of April, which coincidentally is also the month in which the lunar calendar of Sri Lanka celebrates its new year. The new year festival held in April celebrates the beginning of the new year in this Sri Lankan calendar. What simulated the Sinhalese Buddhists to celebrate the new year at the beginning of this particular calendrical year rather than the beginning of their own lunar year, maybe the belief that for their agrarian society, the sun is more important that the moon.
The sky and the heavenly bodies have fascinated man for a long period of time. Today these aspects are studied in a rational manner which is called astronomy. Our ancestors looked at these celestial bodies from another point of view. That was with respect to the influence they seemed to have on human affairs. The study of the influence of these bodies on human affairs is called astrology a study mixed with science, myth and magic The April New Year Festival Professor J.
Although the majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese Buddhists in race, the majority are agrarians in profession. Hence, the usage of the Sri Lankan calendar took over the usage of the lunar and Buddhist calendars in ancient history, when it comes to the celebration of a new year day, since it was the sun the most important heavenly body in Agriculture, that was the basis of this calendar.
This is discussed in detail in the next chapter. The usage of the Sri Lankan calendar has a more important significance at present, however. As the entire world knows, Sri Lanka is experiencing a civil war that is simply deteriorating the infra- structure. In a period of conflict, the Sinhalese and Hindu New Year symbolizes ethnic harmony where two distinct ethnic groups celebrate one brand new day in the month of April!
Nature has mystified and fascinated mankind from the very beginning of time. When it came to the celestial sphere, ancient observers were curious on the various routes the celestial objects took during the course of the day. Astronomers regarded the celestial objects to be instruments of measuring time. Through many years of tedious observations, our ancestors constructed calculations to unravel the mysteries behind the movements of natures creations in the sky. However, before mankind looked at the scientific and realistic side of nature, there was a mythological side to the story.
In ancient Sri Lanka, as in many places of the world, the sun was regarded as a god or deviyo. They used their imagination to explain instances where the sun seems to have power over everyone. The sun had the power to make their harvest a good one as well as a bad one depending on their faith. When the sun was provoked, it hid itself, bringing total darkness to the land. Our ancestors had every right to believe that the sun was a god rather than a heavenly body. However, the Sinhalese who were venerating the sun god faced a problem when Buddhism was introduced to the island. In Buddhism, the man is supreme and no external god can help man to find salvation.
Yet, the Sinhalese found the perfect remedy for this situation. The remedy is shown in Illustration 2. By making the sun god pay homage to Lord Buddha the superior of all men, the worship of the sun god would be peacefully assimilated. On its summit is what is believed to be the footprint of Lord Buddha. According to Sinhalese Buddhists this is where the sun god pays homage to Lord Buddha.
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This rite is witnessed even today by the pilgrims who visit this sacred mountain peak. It is rightfully called ira-sevaya service of the sun. The ira sevaya is realistically the sunrise as shown in illustration 2. As the sun rises above the eastern horizon, it seems to move up and down thrice like a worshipper dipping itself in water.
It is a truly picturesque sight as the sunrise casts a shadow of the peak against the plains below the peak, and is cherished by everyone who witnesses the awe-inspiring phenomenon. The interest of ancient astronomers, regarding the path of the sun in diurnal and annual terms probably began with this observation, as the sun can be perfectly viewed without any obstacles from the summit of Adams peak. This maybe the reason why, even during the good old days, as indicated by ancient chronicles the accuracy of determining the new year was maintained, regardless of the difficulty of calculation, during a time where technology was embryonic The April New Year Festival Professor J.
It turned out to be so, because of the lack of certain facts, and the facts that could be found had so many contradictions and disagreements. However, I have tried my best to rationalize, organize and explain the information and at times, turned raw facts into data. I must mention that one should not feel insulted if what they have come up with is considered to be incorrect.
Being in the wrong and being called wrong is not an insult. It is only an expression of bringing one to the right, to prevent further errors. Although this is incorrect in reality, it is the best way to understand the motion of the heavenly bodies in the sky. The following Sinhalese terms were used by the astronomers while staying in this belief:.
This is the imaginery sphere around the Earth where the sun, stars and planets are found. This was considered to be rotating clockwise around the Earth. Today, we know the Kha-golaya as the celestial sphere. In fact, the word golaya means sphere. The imaginery celestial sphere around the Earth was divided exactly into half by the horizontal circle horizontal in the sense with respect to the celestial spheres rotational axis , called the kha-gola samakaya the celestial equator. Out of all the heavenly bodies, as mentioned in the chapter before, the sun was the most important heavenly body for the Sri Lankans.
Hence, the ancient Sri Lankan astronomers rendered extra efforts to observe the path of the sun during the course of a year, which they called the Kranthi-valaya. Valaya means circle therefore, it was considered to be a circular path. The astronomers were smart enough to figure out the fact that this path was tilted with respect to the kha-gola samakaya, since the suns annual rising position could be viewed from top of Adams peak. This varied throughout the year. Therefore, they could but come up with one explanation for this the kranthi-valaya was tilted with respect to the kha-gola samakaya.
However, information could not be located whether the astronomers knew the angle of tilt of the kranthi-valaya with respect to the kha-gola samakaya. Today we know the kha-gola samakaya as the ecliptic. I encountered many conflicts of facts in gathering the concepts behind the Sri Lankan calendar. Before moving further, it is necessary to define the concept of rashi, which frequently appears in describing the concepts of the calendar.
The kranthi-valaya was divided into 12 equal segments by the ancient astronomers of Sri Lanka. Each segment was called a rashi. However, according to present days sense, this does not make any sense at all! Apart from the fact that the Earth did the revolutions around the sun and not vice-versa, later on, Johannes Keppler discovered that the annual path of the Earth was an ellipse and not a circle. The deductions of the Sri Lankan astronomers would have been more accurate if the kranthi-valaya was taken to be an ellipse. Therefore, realistically the angular value of a rashi is not Around the greater curvatures of the ellipse, the rashi would be less than in angle and more than in the areas of lesser curvature of the ellipse.
Nevertheless, we are talking of absolutely ancient times, where discoveries in astronomy were not easy to come up with as today, and with whatever resource that was available the task had to be performed. The following are the names that were given to each rashi segment:.
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The period of a year with respect to these rashi, was taken as the period of time the sun takes to travel from the beginning of one rashi segment to the end of the rashi segment before that one. Yet, the kranthi-valaya is a circle it does not have a specific end or a beginning, and therefore, there came the need to define a specific point to mark the end or beginning for the sake of celebrating the new year.
There was but one choice left to mark a point in the kranthi-valaya by a specific rashi. With 12 segments to choose from, the problem persisted as to where specifically the beginning and the end of the year should be. This was sorted out by referring to the environment. The ancestors of Sri Lanka discovered that the time when the sun enters from the rashi of Meena to the rashi of Mesha was the time when the trees bear fruits and flowers blossom a sign of fertility. Therefore, to have the new year falling upon a prosperous time of the environment, the beginning of the kranthi-valaya was taken to be the rashi of Mesha and the end as Meena.
Therefore, the definition of the year could be re-phrased as, the period of time the sun takes to travel from the beginning of the rashi of Mesha to the end of the rashi of Meena along the kranthi- valaya. The astronomers of Sri Lanka took this period of time to be solar days and 6 hours Since the movement of the sun along the rashi happened in a cyclic sequence, the kranthi valaya is sometimes addressed as rashi cakra cakra cycle. This was taken as the period of time the sun takes to travel from the beginning of one rashi segment to the end of it.
With 12 rashi available, the month would roughly be However, this value varies in reality as discussed later, in this chapter.
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The months of the calendar are named as follows:. Table 3. This is a question that must be raised for every calendar. Why does every calendar have 12 months and not anything less or more? Let me answer the question from Sri Lankas point of view. Sri Lanka has an agrarian society. Part of their profession is to keep track of the monsoon rains caused by the southwest westerlies from May to September, and the northeast westerlies from November to February.
Taking a period of 12 months, rather than 13 or even 11, it is easy to keep track of when rain should be expected. The south-west monsoon rains usually fall in the beginning of the month after the new year vesak , that is in mid-May and then continues till the middle of the month of binara, which is the end of September. The north-east monsoon rains fall around the beginning of the month of il mid-November and continue till the beginning of the month of navam mid-February. Thereafter, the cycle continued once again, after 12 months. Every calendar that is and was used, has 12 months because it was easy to keep track of the environmental changes which seem to cycle after a period of 12 months.
A calendar should serve the purpose of keeping track of the environment, more than anything else. Although it was mentioned in a chapter before, that this particular calendar won versus the rest of the calendars used in ancient times because the sun was more important in the professions of the Sri Lankans, the reason also maybe that it was easy to keep track of the rainy and dry seasons using the rashi system rather than other calendrical systems.
The sidereal year is defined as the period of time the constellations in the celestial sphere take to travel across the celestial sphere and return to the former position. From this definition, it would seem appropriate to call the Sri Lankan calendar a sidereal calendar. According the Sri Lankan calendar, a year is the time that is taken by the sun to travel from beginning the rashi of Mesha, to the end of the rashi of Meena. In other words, in re-phrasing this movement with respect to the sidereal definition, it is the time taken by the constellations that fall along the ecliptic to travel across the path and return to their former positions with respect to the sun.
Here, the original point of the first constellation mesha, in the celestial sphere, is marked by the sun in fact, the former position as mentioned in the definition of the sidereal year. This justifies why the Sri Lankan year is In reality, the sun and the constellations of the celestial sphere do not move. The revolution of the Earth around the sun seems to make the constellations as well as the sun move around it.
Sri Lankan astronomers took the length of a month to be uniform all throughout the year. However, Kepplers laws nullify this fact. To begin with, the suns motion along the kranthi-valaya is only an apparent motion, where in reality the transit of the sun with respect to the rashi happens in the following manner:. Meena Mesha Vrishabha Kumbha Mithuna. Makara Kataka. Dhanu Singha Vrishchika Tula Kanya. The Earth In this position The sun The Earth aphelion the sun would perihelion seem to be in the rashi of mithuna. According to Kepplers laws, the Earth would be covering equal ground within a unit of time in the orbit.
Hence, during the perihelion where the Earth is closest to the sun as shown in figure 3. Aphelion occurs roughly around the 4th of July, and the perihelion occurs around the 4th of January. Hence, the months of the Sri Lankan calendar would not be of equal length. On the 4th of January, the sun would be moving across the rashi segment of dhanu Saggitarius and in July, it would be moving across the rashi segment of kataka Cancer. In January, the Earth would be moving fast along the orbit, where the transit across the rashi of dhanu would be faster. Hence, the month in the Sri Lankan calendar of unduvap mid-December to mid-January , would have less than the average In Hindu mythology the Sun God is the basis of all life and energy that exist in the universe.
In Hindu legend, the house of Sun God is known as Suryaloka, and this sphere is next to the physical world or bhu-mandala. These twelve sons of Aditi are known as twelve Adityas. Lord Bramha selected Savita from these twelve Adityas and blessed him saying only he will be worshiped and all other Adityas will be merged in him. But these twelve Aditayas applies their force separately, which gave rise to twelve months and each of them are said to rule over each month. As a result of this, we have different seasons and climatic changes. The sun god's wife Sanjana was the daughter of Vishvakarma, the space designer.
They had three children Vaivasvata, Yama the god of death and Yami.
Sanjana was having a tough time with the sun, as his light was too strong. One day Sanjana decided to go away from home, leaving her body double, Chaaya shadow. For some time, Sandhya lived with her father and then left him as she took the form of a mare and went to the mountains to pray. Meanwhile, the sun unknown of this fact, continued to live with Chaaya and she gave birth to three more children, Savarni, Shani later became the planet Saturn and Taapti later became a river. After some time sun realised that Chaaya was not his wife and looked for her.
He saw his wife praying in the form of a mare and he turned himself into a horse and approached her amorously. This led to the birth of horse headed twins, Ashwini Kumara, the celestial physicians. Sanjana told her husband that his light was too strong for her. Sun then decided to divide his light into sixteen parts, each of which created different planets, including earth, while the sun was left with one-sixteenth part of his original light, Sanjana came back to live with the Sun. Because of new Information Technology and related easy software, the public are keen to use those valuable ancient sciences in an easy way.
As the literature fond authors and civil citizens, we should encourage the younger generation to pursue those remarkable sciences and related literature to protect those heritages and valuable culture. All rights reserved. Skip to main content. SI TA. Ad Rates Subscribe Now. Gods, Goddesses, Sun, Moon and us: Literature on astrology. Print Edition. Nimal Bandara. The Burmese or Myanmar Astrology.
Visit Kapruka. Low delivery cost to most cities here and free delivery in Colombo. Your name. Leave this field blank. Related Articles. As the main purveyor of human food, the agriculture sector must produce the required quantity of foodstuffs ensuring the quality with the technologies depending on modern knowledge in agriculture to In Iraq, protesters are sick of corruption and foreign influence. Few Iraqis relish widespread recognition and support as Transforming waste to wealth.
The United Nations designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter.
The New Year Festival Of Sri Lanka: Term Project
Unearthing our ancient culture. Culture is a term that describes the entire way of life shared by a group of people. Cultural richness includes diversity in anything that has to do with how people live: music, art, recreation, The rise and fall of a Russian Mercenary Army. After a deadly debacle in Syria, Vladimir Putin has put the Wagner Group in its place—but plenty of other private security firms remain, and they could pose a threat to security in Russia and beyond Nation-building and presidential election campaign.
Our experience of the election campaigns in the past reminds us of an ugly picture. The solemn pledges of the candidates for building the Sri Lankan nation to bring in social cohesion and national Democracy and franchise under scrutiny. The last seven decades of political independence and freedom for political options have seen a plethora of shifting scenarios in the socio-cultural and historical horizons of our dear motherland FernandoHe was a dynamic individualMy father, W. Mithirpala will lose his seat too at the forthcoming election. May be not. Killing is no big deal for him and his flock.
It is just like eating or sleeping for them. The Tamil people keep away from this number. Numerology is a serious business in the Tamil Circles. The Chinese love this number. Something the way the number sounds when spoken. In this era of Science and Technology, where every few weeks a Russian Rocket leaves to the ISS, these past beliefs are just that, beliefs and value systems with no scientific evidences to back it. It is us who give power to them, by believing them. So, I ask you all to forget them and be guided by Scientific Evidence.
I have noted both Sirisena and Rajapaksa wear multiple rings in their fingers obviously. A belief in SL that sun rays being absorbed by gem stones in them, has a beneficial effect on the wearer. Go figure. Astrology, Numerology etc. The nod to China. Comments should not exceed words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours.