Saturday, December 17, 2022

India celebrates Astronomy

 India celebrates Astronomy 


It’s true that Vikram Samvat (57 BC) and Saka Samvat (78 AD) are named after King Vikramaditya and Saka King Shalivahan (Gautami Putra Shatkarni), the previous starts on Kartik Shukla 1 and the later on Chaitra Shukla 1. It is linked with their victory over some other powerful King of that time. 


However, we are in face celebrating geographical events in India whether it is Uttarayan, Lohri, Shivratri, Holi, Gudi Padavo, Vishu, Dakshinayan, Navaratri, Diwali, etc. 


The path of the earth around the Sun is ellipse and the earth orbits around the Sun at variable velocity therefore the orbital velocity varies each day. The speed of Earth’s orbit about the Sun not being constant and the speed of the Moon’s orbit about the Earth not being constant either.


Earth averages its orbital velocity at four points in a year; two of them are Solstice points (Uttarayana and Dakshinayans; (shortest and longest day respectively) and two are Equinox (Sun is exactly above the Equator and day and night are of equal length) (Gudi Padvo and Diwali-New Year). Kerala celebrates its New Year Vishu (equal) on 14th April, while commonly we celebrate 22nd March as Equinox day, the Saka New Year Day on Chaitra Shukla 1. 


Chaitra 1 and Kartik 1 are are equinox points. Chatra 1 is vernal equinox (start of spring) while Kartik 1 is autumnal equinox (start of autumn), the loops on the orbital path of the earth around the Sun. The upper loop is the Earths northern path and the lower loop is the Earths southern path. This is the point where we celebrate two different days to start the first day of the year. In either of the case we are celebrating ‘ EQUALITY’ (Equinox) 😁

In Christianity, they celebrate them as Easter and Christmas respectively. 


Being a luni-solar calendar, we follow something both the Moon and the Sun are doing, therefore, the autumn equinox falls on 22nd September but Diwali is celebrated after finishing harvesting, therefore on second new moon after the equinox, that comes in October or November every year. 


We have made all the events and celebrations interesting by connecting them with some mythological stories to involve all sections of the society in the celebration. However, ancient world was smarter, celebrating astronomy while we are celebrating divisions of humans based on religions. 


All days are not celebrations. The point at which Earth has its minimum velocity – that’s about February 20 – that’s the day of Siva (Shava) Rathri (dead night), the Earth is dead slow on this day, therefore, it’s a night of sacrifice and not celebration.


Enjoy the life on earth full of mysteries. 👏


Punamchand 

27 October 2022

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