DIWALI – CALCULATING THE DATE
Hindus and other well-wishers from Guyana and other countries celebrate most of the festivals that are highlighted on the Hindu calendars. In the Indian culture, there was a time when there used to be a festival every day of the year – 365 festivals in a year – because a festival is a tool to bring life to a state of exuberance and enthusiasm. While some of these festivals were prominent others were given lesser attention. Historically, the calendars were constructed by extracting information from the Hundred Year Panchaang and placed in a smaller version which represents a Hindu year. The Hindu year commences on Chaitra (April) and concludes on Phalgun (March).
The Hindu year always commences with the birth of the moon which represents the bright half of the fortnight. The month is divided into two parts, the Shukla Paksha (bright) and Krishna Paksha (dark) half of the moon. All festivals, Sanskaar, ceremonies and other activities are derived from lunar (moon) calculations. The Panchaang has other features representing date, constellation and planets. It’s called Tithi, Nakshatra and Raashi respectively. All calculations and conclusions are determined by these three.
It must be noted that all Panchaang computed for users in different parts of the world is completed based on time and zone. The formulas used by all astrologers are standard and as such all major festivals would carry identical dates. Historically, Guyana was observing occasions with regards to India’s time and zone but with the intervention of astrological scholars, Panchaangs were created to accommodate time and zone of all celebrants. Historically also, the senior pundits and established organizations were privileged to make pronouncements on dates pertaining to festivals here and in the Region, however, now the computed Panchaang are in the hands of the householders and other recipients and has allowed persons to check and view for themselves.
Technological intervention also provides enough guidance for those who wanted to benefit from it. Mention must be made of local organizations who celebrate with their parent bodies from India. For the orthodox Hindus, any single computed Panchaang embraced, will bring an end to any conflicts with dates pertaining to major festivals since standard formulas are used to construct all Panchaang.
Remember, only at the death of yesterday you could have today. All Panchaang are calculated based on ending time and not beginning. That was the main issue in the past in Guyana. It is recommended by all major stakeholders that computed Panchaang be used to avoid any future disagreements.
Pandit Rabindranath Persaud, J.P.,
President Viraat Sabha – Guyana
Commissioner, Integrity Commission