12 Months of the Myanmar Calendar
The Myanmar calendar is a lunisolar calendar which ideally represents the movement of sun and moon together. The months are based on lunar months and years are based on solar years because of this the months of the Georgian calendar and the Myanmar Calendar will differ.
The Myanmar calendar originated from ancient India during the Kali Yuga Era in 3102 BCE. It was recalibrated by King Añjana (အဉ္စန), the maternal grandfather of the Buddha in 691 BCE. In 544 BCE if was again recalibrated by a council of monks to starts a new era commonly known as Buddhist Era (သာသနာနှစ်). Along with new Era, a new calendar system was created, started or epoch on the year of Buddha passing or ပရိနိဗ္ဗာန်စံ. The calendar itself is base on famous Surya Siddhanta, သူရိယသိဒၶႏၲ , the earliest known astronomical principles.
The Burmese chronicles trace the origin of the Burmese calendar to ancient India with the introduction of Kali Yuga Era in 3102 BCE. That seminal calendar is said to have been recalibrated by King Añjana (အဉ္စန), the maternal grandfather of the Buddha in 691 BCE. That calendar in turn was recalibrated and replaced by the Buddhist Era with the starting year of 544 BCE. The Buddhist Era came to be adopted in the early Pyu city-states by the beginning of the Common Era. Then in 78 CE, a new era called Shalivahana era, also called Sakra Era or Saka Era, was launched in India. Two years later, the new era was adopted in the Pyu state of Sri Ksetra, and the era later spread to the rest of the Pyu states. The chronicles continue that the Pagan Kingdom at first followed the prevailing Saka Pyu Era but in 640 CE, King Popa Sawrahan (r. 613–640) recalibrated the calendar, named the new era Kawza Thekkarit (ကောဇာ သက္ကရာဇ်) with a Year Zero starting date of 22 March 638 CE. It was used as the civil calendar while the Buddhist Era remained in use as the religious calendar.
According to Myanmar historical records and Buddhist scripture, there were 7 times years were reset.
1. King Kakarrahna, အာကာရဋ္ဌမင်း, reset their current year 1149785 to a new era.
2. King Kuthala, ကုသမင်း, reset their current year 14938560 to a new era.
3. King Iznna, အဉ္စနမင်း, of Devadaha, ဒေဝဒဟပြည် , reset their current year 8645 to new era, အဉ္ဇနသက္ကရာဇ် or မဟာသက္ကရာဇ်. အဉ္စနမင်း is the father of Mayadevi, သီရိမဟာမာယာ ဒေဝီ, mother of Lord Buddha.
4. After the first Buddhist Council, in မဟာသက္ကရာဇ် 148, King Ajatashatru, အဇာတသတ်, Of Magadha Empire, မဂဓတိုင်း၊ ရာဇဂြိုဟ်, start a new Buddhist Era with the help of Mahākassapa, အရှင်မဟာကဿပ.
5. On Buddhist Era 624, King Thamotedayi, သုမုန္ဒရီမင်း, of Thayakyittaya, သရေခေတ္တရာပြည်, reduced the year by 622 and start the new era, သုမုန္ဒရဇ်သက္ကရာဇ် from year 2.
6. On သုမုန္ဒရဇ်သက္ကရာဇ် 562, the 20th King of Pagan dynasty, ပုဂံပြည်, King Papasawrahan, ပုပ္ပါး စောရဟန်းမင်း, reduced the year by 560 and started the new era, ပေါက္ကံသက္ကရာဇ် from year 2.
The term, ကောဇာသက္ကရာဇ်, may start using since သုမုန္ဒရီမင်း . But we do not know for sure. Many have negative view about resetting the year or သက္ကရာဇ်ဖြို. The truth is သက္ကရာဇ်ဖြို is performed according to the mathematical requirement or to renew or make the number easy to use.
On normal year Myanmar calendar system have 354 days resulting from alternate 29 and 30 days months. In intercalated year, ဝါငယ်ထပ်နှစ်, 30 days 2nd Waso month, ဒုတိယဝါဆို, is inserted after the waso month making 384 days in a year. In second intercalated year, ဝါထပ်နှစ်, not just 2nd Waso month is added, one day is added to Nayon, နယုန်, making is 385 days in a year.
There is a Myanmar proverb: “Look at flowers, if you don’t know the season”. Yes, one can check what the season according to the flowers.
တန်ခူး – TAGU (April)
- Flowers Padauk, Gantgaw, Yinkat, Swetaw, Zalat
- First month of the Burmese Lunar Year
- Burmese New Year Festival (Thin-Gyan Water Festival)
- A time for people to purify themselves and looking forward to a New Year, New selves.
- Shin-pyu procession – the holy novice-to-be
- Cleaning Buddha Statues
- Za Tu Dee Thar Ah Hlu (Food Donation)
- Paying homage to elderly people
- Flower – Gan Gaw (Mesua Ferrea)
- Pa-dauk (Symbol of Thin-Gyan)
- National holidays all over Burma
- Universal custom – the ritual sprinkling of water to family & friends as well as to strangers.
ကဆုန – Kason (May)
- Second month
- Sagar, Sagawar, Chayar
- Nyaung Yay Thoon Pwe – Procession of carrying water to local pagodas accompanied by bands of musicians and dancers and pouring water on the sacred Bodhi Tree (Banyan), the tree of enlightenment to ease from heat.
- Full moon day of Kason marks three-fold anniversary:
- – the birth of Siddhartha (the Buddha –to-be)
- – His attaining of Enlightenment at the foot of the Bodhi tree
- – The passing of the Buddha into Nibbana.
- Universally celebrated as Vesâkha Day (Vesak Day)
- Flower – In Gyin (Magnolia)
နယုန် – Nayon (June)
- Third month
- Mulay (Myatlay), Sapae
- Start of Raining season
- A month of Thunder, Lightning and Rain
- Generally wet, dark skies, torrential rains and storms unlike hot and humid Summer.
- The month “Ser Pyan Pwe” – examinations in the Buddhist scriptures are held for monks and nuns.
- For the best comforts and amenities of the candidates, general community take responsibility of daily alms of food to large number of monks.
- Neik-ban-zaw – the one who organize people to do meritorious deeds (preparing alms)
- Flower – Za Pal (Jasmine)
ဝါဆို – Waso (July)
- Fourth month
- Ponenyet, Rose
- The season of Lent and heavy rains
- Start of holy months. (Last 3-4 months)
- Monks are confined to monastery by Buddhist code of conduct.
- Shin Pyu pwe- novitiation ceremony .
- Busy time for the farmers.
- Full moon of Waso marks the anniversary of the Buddha’s First Sermon of Dhamma Chakka, in the Deer Park at Isipatana.
- It was 25 centuries ago and he preached of the Four Noble Truths.
- Pon-nyet (Alexandrian Laurel)
- Young people roam the woodlands to gather flowers which will be offered to decorate the shrines and pagodas.
- Marriages are not allowed during holy months.
ဝါခေါင – Wa gaung (August)
- Fifth month
- Kuttar, Moesway Pan
- Monsoon is in full swings.
- It is a busy time for paddy farmers to plough the fields and make paddy plants ready to be transplanted.
- Rice planting girls putting on their Tha-nah-ka and transplanting paddy.
- Ser Yay Tan Me` Pwe – “Ma Ha Dok festival” A month for alms-giving by casting lots.
- Donors prepare alms-bowls filled with meal of rice and curry accompanied by nibbles, sweets and fruits which will be handed out to the chosen monk s.
- Flower – Khat-ta (Crinum amoeum)
တော်သလင်း – Taw tha lin (September)
- Sixth month
- Hlay Pyine Pwe – Boat races on the river.
- The time of the Burmese kings displayed not only speed but also s kills and grace.
- 37 styles of rowing skills on record.
- Flower – Yin Mar (Chukrassia tabularia)
- Phaung Daw Oo Fesitval (Phaund daw oo pagoda)
- Karaweik on Lake Inle
သီတင်းကျွတ – Thadin Gyut (October)
- Seventh month
- End of Holy month
- Lantern Festival – to commemorate the ancient celebration of offering lights to the return of Buddha from Tawa dein tha (Heaven).
- Kyar Ban – Lotus (Nelumbum Speciosum)
- Pay homage (Ka Daw) to the elders
- Paying one’s respect to Teachers, one of the five Revered Objects.
- Engaged couples arrange for their wedding.
တန်ဆောင်မုန်း – Ta Zaung Mon (November)
- Eighth Month
- Kawae, Pyi, Shway
- Kathina – Ka Htein Offering of special robes and other gifts to monks (Yellow robe offering).One of the most meritorious deeds.
- Fresh robes being weaved by contest under the moonlight supported by music and dancing are offered thereafter.
- Ta Zaung Dine Festival (Second Lantern Light Festival)
- Hka Weh – Luffa Gourd
နတ်တော် – Na Daw (December)
- Ninth month
- Thazin, Gamone
- Nat Pwe – Ritual feast in honor of 37 min nats (Traditional family guardians) held at Mount Popa ( 4981 Feet above sea level)
- The season of writers and outdoor speeches (Reading Festival) due to dry and sunny days with a touch of coolness in the air.
- Flower – Thazin (Bulbophyllum Auricomum)
ြာသို – Pya Tho (January)
- Tenth month
- Kwar Nyo
- Harvest time – due to good weather, completely free from rain with sunny days and cool, dew-drenched nights.
- Pha Yar Pwel – Pagoda festival completed with stalls of different products from various localities.
- The owner of the stalls are usually travelling from one festival to another – Set Hna Pwel Zay Thel.
- Myin Khin Pwe – In the days of Burmese Kings, this month was the time for military displays – the royal forces, chariots, infantry, cavalry and war elephants were turned up to parade in full color and glory.
- Horse races, polo matches, street sports, war dances featuring swords, spears and shields accompanied by boisterous music.
- Flower – Khwa nyo (Clemantis smiliafolia)
တပို့တွဲ – Ta Bo Dwe (February)
- Eleventh month / Tabodwe La
- Pauklay, Letpan, Suupan
- End of harvest festival
- Htamane Festival – a concoction of sticky rice, shredded coconut, sesame seeds, groundnuts and a generous amount of cooking oil. Commonly prepared by family, friends as well as extended families – fairly large family gathering.
- Pauk pin (Butea monosperma) – usully known as Flame of the forest. Tall large tree with red pedals.
တပေါင်း – Ta Baung (March)
- Twelfth month (Last month)
- Phetsot, Ingyin, Tharaphee
- Pagoda festival – marked by the building of sand Stupa.
- One of the highlights of the month in Yangon (Rangoon) is the Shwe Dagon Pagoda festival – the occasion not to be missed.
- Pwe performance – opera/play usually played overnights accompanied by stalls of delicacies.
- Padauk (Pterocarpus macrocarpus) – a tall tree with rich golden flowers. Stem used in making furniture and parquets.