Mark Your Tamil Calendar For These 5 Important Events!

Tamil calendar

Let me tell you a story about my old Tamil neighbors. Every few weeks, without fail, they would knock on my door with a smile on their face and a dish in their hands. I always knew that this meant that it was time for another festive occasion on their Tamil calendar (Tamiḻ nāṭkāṭṭi or தமிழ் நாட்காட்டி). As for me, I was more than happy to partake in their delicious offerings!

Their generosity always struck me, and it got me curious about their traditions and customs. That’s when I learned about the Tamil calendar, which is based on the Panchang (Pañcāṅkamபஞ்சாங்கம்), a classical Hindu solar calendar used in several regions across India. Learning about it could be a beneficial language-learning experience for you too. Let’s go over that and more in today’s post!

What Is A Tamil Calendar?

For those who are not familiar with the Panchang, it is essentially a tool used to calculate the positions of the sun (Cūriyaṉசூரியன்), moon (Nilāநிலா), and planets (Kirakaṅkaḷகிரகங்கள்) in the sky. It’s a sophisticated system that is used to mark important dates and times, including religious holidays, auspicious occasions, wedding days, and even farming seasons.

As I delved deeper into the Tamil calendar, I realized what great significance and faith it holds amidst the Tamil community. This daily calendar is not just a tool for marking dates, but it’s also deeply intertwined with Tamilian culture and tradition. It’s a way of life, a way of connecting with their past and present.

Despite technological advances and the modern world, many Hindus still follow the Panchang to mark important occasions and events. Apart from Tamil Nadu in South India, this daily calendar is also used in various states of India, like Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Nepal, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Punjab. Beyond Indian borders, it is followed by the Tamilians in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Singapore too.

Tamil calendar

How Does The Tamil Calendar Work?

The Tamil calendar follows a 60-year cycle that is also very ancient and is observed by most traditional calendars of India and China. This is related to 5 12-year revolutions of Jupiter around the Sun and one that adds up to 60 years and the orbit of stars which are called Nakshatras or Naṭcattiraṅkaḷ (நட்சத்திரங்கள்).

The calendar consists of twelve months, and each month is divided into two parts, known as Paksham. It begins with the month of Chittirai (சித்திரை), which usually falls in mid-April, and ends with Panguni (பங்குனி), somewhere in mid-March. The calendar is used not only to mark important days and events but also to follow religious traditions.

Days Of The Week In Tamil

Want to impress native speakers? Here are the basic terminologies related to the days of the week in Tamil.

EnglishTamilPronunciationSound
Sundayஞாயிற்றுக்கிழமைNyayitru-kiḻamai
Mondayதிங்கட்கிழமைTingat-kiḻamai
Tuesdayசெவ்வாய்க்கிழமைChevvai-kiḻamai
Wednesdayபுதன்கிழமைBudhan-kiḻamai
Thursdayவியாழக்கிழமைVyaḻa-kiḻamai
Fridayவெள்ளிக்கிழமைVelli-kiḻamai
Saturdayசனிக்கிழமைSani-kiḻamai

Months In Tamil

It’s not enough that you know the terms for days, right? Let’s expand your knowledge further by taking note of the translations for the months in Tamil below.

EnglishTamilPronunciationSound
mid-April to mid-Mayசித்திரைChittirai
mid-May to mid-JuneவைகாசிVaikāsi
mid-June to mid-JulyஆனிĀni
mid-July to mid-AugustஆடிĀdi
mid-August to mid-SeptemberஆவணிĀvaṇi
mid-September to mid-Octoberபுரட்டாசிPuraṭṭāsi
mid-October to mid-Novemberஐப்பசிAippasi
mid-November to mid-Decemberகார்த்திகைKārtikai
mid-December to mid-Januaryமார்கழிMārgaḻi
mid-January to mid-FebruaryதைTai
mid-February to mid-MarchமாசிMāsi
mid-March to mid-Aprilபங்குனிPanguni
Tamil calendar

Seasons In Tamil

Planning your travel? Here are the Tamil terms you need to know if you want to visit during a specific season.

EnglishTamilPronunciationSound
Springஇளவேனில்Ila-venil
Summerமுதுவேனில்Mudhu-venil
Monsoonகார்Kār
Autumnகுளிர்Kulir
Winterமுன்பனிMun-pani
Prevernalபின்பனிPin-pani

Important Dates To Remember

Some of the most important occasions marked by the Tamil calendar include:

Pongal

Poṅkal (பொங்கல்) is the most important festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and marks the start of the Tamil month. It is a four-day festival that honors the sun god with great fervor.

Tamil New Year

Also known as Puthandu (Putiya āṇṭuபுதிய ஆண்டு), the Tamil New Year falls on the first day of the Tamil month of Chittirai, which usually falls in mid-April. It is marked with feasts, special prayers, and performances.

Tamil calendar - traditional candles

Deepavali/ Deepawali/ Diwali

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Tīpāvaḷi (தீபாவளி) is a major Hindu religious festival. This five-day festival is celebrated in Oct-Nov and marks the triumph of good over evil with a display of fireworks, lighting lamps, and special prayers.

Thaipusam

Taippūcam (தைப்பூசம்) is a Hindu festival that honors Lord Murugan (Murukaṉமுருகன்), the son of Lord Shiva (Civaperumāṉசிவபெருமான்) and is marked in the month somewhere around January or February.

Navaratri

Navarāttiri (நவராத்திரி) is a nine-day festival that honors the goddess Durga (Turkā tēviதுர்கா தேவி). It is celebrated twice a year and is marked by fasting, prayer, and the worship of the goddess.

Tamil calendar - religious set

Important Tamil Holidays

Tamil HolidayDatePurpose
Thiruvalluvar DayJanuary 15Celebrates Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar’s wisdom
Uzhavar ThirunalJanuary 16Acknowledges farmers’ hard work
Republic DayJanuary 26Patriotic celebration with parades
Telugu New Year’s DayMarch 22Celebrates Telugu New Year (Ugadi)
Mahavir JayantiApril 4Birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir
Good FridayApril 7Christian holiday observed worldwide
Dr. Ambedkar JayantiApril 14Birth anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Tamil New YearApril 14Celebrates the Tamil New Year (Kanni tradition)
Idul FitrApril 22Marks the end of Ramadan and start of Idul Fitr
May DayMay 1Honors labor movement and workers’ rights
Bakrid/Eid al AdhaJune 29Muslim holiday of sacrifice
MuharramJuly 29Commemorated with processions (Taziyas)
Independence DayAugust 15Celebrates India’s independence
JanmashtamiSeptember 7Birth of Lord Krishna
Ganesh ChaturthiSeptember 19Start of the ten-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival
Eid e MiladSeptember 28Birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad
Gandhi JayantiOctober 2Honors Mahatma Gandhi and Tamil Nadu’s role
Maha NavamiOctober 23Worship of Goddess Durga
Vijaya DashamiOctober 24Celebrates Vijaya Dashami (Dussehra)
DeepavaliNovember 12Festival of Lights (Diwali)
Christmas DayDecember 25Celebrates Christmas in Christian tradition

Wrapping Up

The Tamil calendar plays a crucial role in preserving the cultural and traditional values of the Tamil people. It serves as a means of commemorating significant events and maintaining a deep connection with their rich history and heritage. Beyond its practical function, the Tamil calendar is a testament to the vibrant and lively culture of the Tamil community.

I am grateful for having learned about this valuable cultural artifact, and it fills me with a sense of pride to be a part of a society that celebrates its past so vibrantly. The next time I am invited to enjoy the hospitality of my Tamil neighbors, I will relish every bite of their delicious food, mindful of its cultural significance.

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