Other Festivals Too.

Palaniappa at aol.com Palaniappa at aol.com
Wed Apr 9 04:10:45 UTC 1997

In a message dated 97-04-08 01:37:12 EDT, vidya at cco.caltech.edu (Vidyasankar
Sundaresan) writes:

<< On Sun, 6 Apr 1997, JAYABARATHI wrote:
 > The Medeival Tamils followed the Solar calender more faithfully.
 > In the Chola and Pandya inscriptions, we find that the Tamil months were
actually named after the Signs of the 
 > Zodiac.
 > When the Sun was in Aries i.e. MEsha, The corresponding Tamil month was
called MEda NyAyiRu..Taurus(Rishabha) 
 > =Idaba NyAyiRu.; Pisces = MIna NyAyiRu.
 The Malayalam calender still names its months meDam, iDavam etc. As in
 many other things, Malayalam speaking people have preserved more of this
 Tamil heritage than contemporary Tamil speakers. 
In the post-Classical Tamil work cilappatikAram, a specific date for burning
down of Madurai is specified. I am giving it below. 

In the month of ATi (AshADa)
in the dark fortnight
of the kArttika asterism ("azal cEr kuTTattu")
on the day of aSTami
on a Friday
the famous Madurai will be consumed by fire.

It is obvious lunar month was followed here. Considering the fact that the
author of the text iLaGko was supposed to be from Kerala, I wonder what any
one can say about which calendar was used. The present reckoning of years in
Kerala is called kollam era based on the coming to power of some kings near
kollam around 800 AD(?) Do we know what calendar they followed before that? 

Some people from Tirunelveli District also use kollam era (at least some of
my relatives still do) probably due to Keralan rule over parts of Tirunelveli
and Kanyakumari Districts.


S. Palaniappan

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