तत्त्द् गतिवशन्नित्यं यथा दृक्-तुल्यतां ग्रहाः।
प्रयान्ति तत्प्रवक्ष्यामि स्फ़ुटिकरणमादरात्॥
सुर्य सिद्धान्त ॥

यस्मिन् पक्षे यत्र काले येन दृग्गणितैक्यम्।
दृश्यते तेन पक्षेण कुर्यात्तिथ्यादिनिर्णयम्॥

यात्राविवाहोत्सवजातकादौ खेटैः स्फुटैरेवफलस्फुटत्वम्।
स्यात्प्रोच्यते तेन नभश्चराणां स्फुटक्रिया दृग्गणितैक्यकृद्या॥

तिथिर्विष्णुस्तथा वारो नक्षत्रं विष्णुरेव च।
योगश्च करणं चैव सर्वं विष्णु मयं जगत्॥


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Karwa Chauth 2013 October 21st or October 22nd? in USA/Canada

Are we celebrating our festivals on the right date?

Recently I received many phone calls from many parts of Canada and America about Karwa Chauth with people saying “My relatives in India says Karwa Chauth is on October 22nd 2013, but many temples in the USA celebrate on October 21st 2013”. Why is this? What is correct? I told them if you are living in Pacific Time Zone, Mountain Time Zone and Central Time Zone then the Karwa Chauth for you is on October 21st 2013. But if you live in Eastern Time Zone and places east of the Eastern Time Zone Karwa Chauth will be on October 22nd 2013.

The answer is very simple. Our calendar isn’t married to English dates. The Hindu calendar is more scientific and dependent on factors like the Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise, Longitude, Latitude, Time Zone difference from Greenwich Mean Time.  Our Indian Date isn’t 24 hours long like western calendar. Our Indian date – Tithi can be between 19 hours to 27 hours.  It is not fixed. This is because our tithi is calculated is the angular distance between the Sun and the Moon. Each 12 degree distance is called tithi. Now planetary orbit is not circular it is elliptic. Hence amount of time it takes to travel each 12 degree block can vary from 19 hours to 27 hours.

Another important thing to remember is the Tithi, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana end at the same time all over the world. As they are calculated from the Sun and the Moon. The Sun (Earth + 180 degrees=the Sun) and moon don’t remain at the same place in heaven till that tithi appears in USA/Canada. If that happens then there will be chaos in the world and in the field of astronomy.
Other important factors are Sunrise, Sunset, and Moonrise. Now if the earth was flat then the Sun, the Moon will rise and set at the same time all over the world. But the earth isn’t flat right? Hence places closer to North Pole and South Pole can experience longer days in summer than places closer to equator.
Indian Festival dates are decided on these factors. While 70% festivals are observed when the tithi appears at the sunrise time – remaining festivals are decided when the tithi appears or exists at the particular time of the day for example Lord Krishna was born during the midnight hence Janmasthami is observed when Shravana Krishna Asthami appears or exists during the midnight. Likewise the Karwa Chauth and Sankathara Chaturthi is observed when the chaturthi tithi appears / exists during the moonrise time. If Chaturthi appears or exists at moon rise on both the days, consider the first day as Karwa Chauth. If Chaturthi appears at moon rise on a day and does not appear at moon rise the next day, then take the first day as Karwa Chauth. If Chaturthi does not appear or exist at moon rise on any day then take the second day as Karwa Chauth.

I am providing an example of this calculation as per Vancouver BC Canada and New Delhi India.

Vancouver BC
October 21st 2013
Sunrise: 07:44:47
Sunset: 18:08:28
Moonrise: 19:53:00
Chandramasa: Aashvayuja
Paksha: Krishna Paksha
T: Tritiiya 18:36:26

October 22nd 2013
Sunrise: 07:46:22
Sunset: 18:06:35
Moonrise: 20:38:04
Chandramasa: Aashvayuja
Paksha: Krishna Paksha
T: Chaturthi 20:21:56

New Delhi India
October 21st 2013
Sunrise: 06:26:39
Sunset: 17:44:37
Moonrise: 19:28:02
Chandramasa: Aashvayuja
Paksha: Krishna Paksha
T: Tritiiya full night

October 22nd 2013
Sunrise: 06:27:17
Sunset: 17:43:40
Moonrise: 20:14:22
Chandramasa: Aashvayuja
Paksha: Krishna Paksha
T: Tritiiya 07:06:26

You will notice that in Vancouver BC on October 21st Tritiya ends at 18:36:26 and right after that Chaturthi tithi starts and prevails till next day 20:21:56 PM. Now the moonrise in Vancouver on October 21st is at 19:53 PM which is definitely way after Tritiya has ended and at the time of the Moonrise Chaturthi Tithi prevails. Whereas on October 22nd Moonrise occurs at 20:38:04 and Chaturthi has ended before the moonrise in Vancouver at 20:21:56 and hence Karwa Chauth didn’t exist during the moonrise of October 22nd.
As far as New Delhi India is concerned The Tritiya tithi ends at 7:06:26 AM on October 22nd and Moonrise is at 20:14:22 hence during the Moonrise chaturthi tithi prevails hence Karwa Chauth in India is on October 22nd 2013. If you notice Tritiya tithi ending in Vancouver at 18:36:26 on October 21st 2013. Now the time difference between Vancouver BC Canada and India on that day with daylight saving is 12 hours 30 minutes. If you add that to 18 hours 36 minutes and 26 seconds you get 07 hours 06 minutes and 26 seconds on October 22nd 2013. This is because Tithi, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana end at the same time all over the world. As they are calculated from the Sun and the Moon.
So next time when you observe the festival as per dates mentioned in Indian websites or Calendar published in India you might be celebrating them on the wrong day.

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