Dialogue  July-September,  2011, Volume 13 No.1

The Burmese Calendar

Acharya Raghuvira

The Burmese calendar is essentially Indian.

Burmese astronomers use the kali-yuga which commenced in 3102   B. C.

Gautama Buddhas grandfather, King Einzana, is said to have started a new era in 691 B.C.

The religious era of the Burmese starts from the date of Buddhas Nirvāna in 543 B.G.

The Indian Saka era is equated with another, said to have been started by King Thamondarit of Prome in 78-9 A.D.

The common era of Burma was started A.D. 638-9 by King Poppasaw of Pagan. In Arakan this era is said to have been established by King Tharey-arenu of Dinyawadi dynasty. In Chittagong it is current under the name of Magi San.

The book used in Burma as the authority for matters astronomical is Thandeikta. It is based on our Sūrya-siddhānta, but applies its rules only to a limited extent. Sūrya-siddhānta itself was not known in Burma till 1148 B.E. (A.D. 1786). In that year, Bhavani Din, a learned pandit of Banaras, brought it to Amarapura, i.c. Mandalay, in North Burma. Some fifty years later, it was translated into Burmese.

Thandeikta docs not adopt the system of apparent reckoning. Mean years and mean months are still used, but the Burmese translation of the Sūrya-siddhānta was made use of in effecting small alterations in the length of the year and the month; the Metonic cycle was abandoned, and intercalary months were so fixed as to prevent further divergence between the solar and luni-solar years.

The Burmese use many Indian astronomical terms, e.g.: didi frfFk] the thirtieth part of a mean lunation. Adimath vf/kekl an intercalated month.

The Burmese Zodiac is divided into 12 rathi jkf'k] and each rathi into 30 intha v'ak-

The names of the signs are:

        BURMESE            SANSKRIT               BURMESE               SANSKRIT      

        1. Meiktha             es"k                        2. Pyeiktha             o`"kHk

        3. Medon               feFkqu                           4. Karakat                 ddZV

        5. Thein                  flag                      6. Kan                       dU;k

        7. Tu                       rqyk                             8. Pyeiksa                 o`f'pd

        9. Danu                  /kuql~                    10. Makara                 edj

        11. Kon                  dqEHk                     12. Mein                    ehu

Besides the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the ecliptic is also divided into 27 nekkats (u{k=k) representing the 27 days of siderial month. Thandeika gives the following list of nekkats (u{k=k) ―

     BURMESE                 SANSKRIT   BURMESE                 SANSKRIT      

1. Athawani               vf'ouh            2.Barani            Hkj.kh

3. Krattiga                       d`fkdk         4.Rawhani                   jksfg.kh

5. Migathi                       e`xf'kjl~          6. Adara                      vknzkZ

7. Ponnapokshu             iquoZlq          8. Poksha                    iq";

9. Athaleiktha                 vk'ys"kk     10. Maga                     e?kk

11. Prokpa Palgonni      iwokZ QYxquh                                      12. Oktra Palgonni          mkjk QYxquh

13. Hathada                    gLrk            14. Seiktra                   fp=kk

15. Thwati                       Lokfr           16. Withaka                fo'kk[kk

17. Anurada                    vuqjk/kk           18. Zeta                       T;s"Bk

19. Mulathan                  ewyk             20. Prokpa Than         iwokZ vk"kk<k

21. Oktra Than               mkjk vk"kk<k  22. Tharawan              Jo.kk

23. Danatheikda             /kfu"Bk            24. Thattabeiksha      'krfHk"kk

25. Prokpa Parabaik       iwokZ Hkknzink    26. Oktra Parabaik      mkjk Hkknzink

27. Rewati                       jsorh

     Among the days of the week are to be noted:

     Inga Ne                            vkjd             Tuesday

     Buddahu Ne                   cq/k            Wednesday

     Kyathabade Ne           okpLifr       Thursday

     Thaukkya Ne                  'kq                 Friday

      Sane Ne                          'kfu                 Saturday.

  The Burmese phonetics has transformed some words into unrecognisable forms. Change of 'k or l to Fk is evident in the name of the Rangoon district itself - Hanthawadi for galkorh-


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