Why Hola Muhalla is fixed on 14th March in Nanakshahi Jantri
The so called self-styled Intellectual Council of Chandigarh, because of lack of deep understanding of calendars,says that the dates in the Nanakshahi Jantri have been arbitrarily fixed. This is not true. All dates have been fixedaccording to well established principles of calendar making. The original Gurpurb dates have been used, except thatin stead of using the lunar dates (sudis and vadis) we have used parvishtas (solar dates), and then converted them tothe dates in the Gregorian Calendar.
To understand why Hola Muhalla is fixed on Chet 1 / 14th March, one has to understand the lunar calendar first.
The lunar calendar consists of 12 months and the first month is Chet. Each month has 2 pakshas, sudi pakash andvadi pakash. Sudi Pakash begins after amavas and is the light pakash in which the moon goes on waxing andcontains 14/15 days until pooranmashi (full moon). Vadi pakash begins after pooranmashi, the moon goes on waningand is the dark paksha and contains 14/15 days until amavas (new moon).
The months in the lunar calendar are of two types, amanta and pooranmanta. Amanta months are from amavas (newmoon) to amavas, while pooranmanta months are from pooranmashi to pooranmashi (full moon). Amanta meansamavas-ending, and pooranmanta means pooranmashi-ending.
In most of northern India, including Punjab the Pooranmanta system is in use, while in southern India Amantasystem is used.
It can be seen that in Punjab the lunar month of Chet has been split, the vadi half belongs to one year and the sudihalf belongs to the following year, while in South India there is no such split as shown in the Jantris published inSouth India. Sudi pakshas in both systems are the same, while Vadi pakshas differ in name by one month. Forexample the paksha which is called Chet vadi in Punjab is called Phagun Vadi in South India.
This was not always the case. In northern India, though the months were pooranmanta, Chet was not split and theyear ended on Phagun Sudi 15 i.e. Pooranmasi. Originally Holi festival was celebrated on the last day of the year -the New Year Eve - Phagun pooranmashii, because lunar Chet would begin the next day.
Later on myths were attached to the event. The fun and frolic that occurs on the Holi day is a parallel to thecelebrations in all the world of new year eve on 31st December. Hola being celebrated on the day after Holiobviously was the first of Chet (lunar). Since we have adopted Solar Calendar with Chet as the first month, it isnatural that Hola be fixed on the first day of Chet - the New Year Day of the new Nanakshahi Calendar. It is aninteresting coincidence that in 1998 CE, the year when we suggested changes to the calendar, Hola occurred on 1Chet / 14 March, the date on which we have fixed it in the new calendar. It is also another coincidence that the firstHola Muhalla celebrated by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib was on Chet vadi 1, 1757 BKii which was on 14 March, 1701CE Julian.
Since we have already established that in 2100 years Bikrami calendar moves by one monthiii in relation to theseasons and it drags along with it the lunar calendar also, Holi in 2100 years time would occur in April, and againafter a similar period in May, while according to Nanakshahi Calendar, Hola would always occur on 1 Chet / 14March in the spring season. The Rishis, Sages and ancient scholars of the past who devised the Bikrami calendarnever meant these festivals to move in seasons.
Lohri is a festival that was and is celebrated on the eve of Maghi i.e. one day before Maghi - the Makar Sankranti. The sages fixed Makar sankranti to occur on the day when the sun commences its northward journey (uttrayana),when the days would start lengthening. This day was celebrated in communities all over the world. People would sitnear the bonfires to celebrate the beginning of return of the sun from its southward journey. In 532 CE lohri was on18 December, and Maghi on 19 December. The ‘uttrayana’ also started on 19 December. This was the wintersolstice day. Because of the Bikrami calendar’s difference from the year of seasons, Maghi has shifted from 19 Decin 532 to 13/14 January in Nineteen-nineties, while ‘uttrayana’ still occurs around Dec 21 /22. Lohri is a seasonalfestival one day before Maghi to mark the beginning of return of the sun from south, to celebrate ‘barha din’ (bVwidn), it has shifted by about 23 days. What would you think if Lohri were to occur in May in future? Would you sitnear the bonfires to celebrate it or would you have gatherings under air-conditioned roofs?
In the Nanakshahi Calendar we have fixed lohri on 30 Poh / 12th January and Maghi on 13th January permanently, sothat these seasonal festivals should shift no more, and stay in their present associations with seasons. Pope Gregoryinstituted the now current Gregorian calendar with adjustment of the shift of 10 days that had occurred in the Juliancalendar and brought it in line with the originally intended seasonal calendar. We are not making an adjustment of 23days to the calendar to bring it in line with the originally intended seasonal calendar, though I wish we could, we areby the adopted changes making sure that the present calendar shifts no more in seasons. Is not the alreadyaccumulated error of 23 days enough to tolerate and live with? In Guru Nanak Sahib’s time this error was about 16days.
The changes we have done will ensure that the calendar months keep the relationship with seasons permanently, theway these months and seasons are mentioned in Gurbani.
From the foregoing discussion it is clear that the festival dates in the New Nanakshahi calendar have not beenfixed arbitrarily, there is history of calendar behind it, there is astronomy behind it, there is wisdom of theancient sages behind it, and above all we have taken the direction from Gurbani to keep the months accordingto seasons mentioned in Gurbani. i "ihMdI klMfr iv`c nwgrk mnorQW leI puinAW ƒ ^qm hox vwly mhIny vrqy jWdy hn --- ikaNik ieh mhIny gOxmwn hn ies leI mhIny dw 'vdI' vwlw A~DwBwg pihloN AwauNdw hY ies ip`CoN sudI vwlw A`Dw AwaNdw hY [ ies leI swl dw A^IrI idn puinAW dw huMdw hY Aqy pRwcIn BwrqI rvwieq Anuswr ieh PwlgunIpUrixmW (jW holi) huMdI hY [" -- klMfr suDwr kmytI dI rIport, Bwrq srkwr, 1955, pM: 161
“Thursday is the Holi, which in their belief is the last day of the year.” --- Tuuzk-I-Jahangiri or Memoirs of Jahangir, Translated by AlexanderRogers and Henry Beveridge, first published 1909-1914, reprint 1989 Low Price Publications, Delhi.
ii Guru Kian Sakhian (Punjabi) , 2nd edition, p.143, Bhai Saroop Singh Kaushik, Edited - Prof. Piara Singh Padam, Singh Brothers , Amritsar,1991.
iii Nanakshahi Calendar - Pal Singh Purewal, Understanding Sikhism - The Research Journal(Montreal, Canada), Editor-in-Chief Prof. Devinder Singh Chahal, Ph.D., also published in otherresearch Journals, magazines and papers.
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