New Years Day

I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.
– Lord Macaulay in his address to the British Parliament, February 2, 1835

It is interesting to note how the West is so presumptuous as to think “the world” means only them. Like when the West says “the world” celebrates new years day when more than half the population doesn’t even recognize it as any significant event on their calendar. That is, when over at least 3 billion people (across India, China, South-East Asia, Africa, South America) are just asleep on New Years Eve. It bearing no significance that the Gregorian calendar rolled over to 2007: no new years resolutions, no celebration, just another day. That is how I felt when I was in my home town in India this New Year, where people still follow the Tamil calendar which predates the Gregorian by thousands of years. I would say for every thousand homes there would be one home lighting a firecracker or two, the rest couldn’t care less. Indeed arrogant for the media (including Indian media) to say the “world” is celebrating New Years day.

Most indigenous cultures around the world have for thousands of years, observed their new years day at the start of the vernal equinox. For Hindus (a little over 1 billion people) the new years day is computed from the sidereal vernal equinox, at the point when the Sun enters the Aries zodiac. This date is the first day of the month of Chithirai (சித்திரை). This corresponds to mid-April of the Gregorian Calendar. That makes the 1st day of January by Gregorian Calendar as just the 17th day of the month of Margazhi (மார்கழி) in the Hindu calendar this year.

Since the Hindu calendar is based on astronomical observation (and not some arbitrarily fixed date) it is more accurate, and there is a variation of +/- a few days when translating to the corresponding Gregorian Calendar date. For example, the Hindu new year which starts on the first of Chithirai, this year translates to April 15; the next year it may translate to April 14. See Hindu calendar. The Hindu new year has been observed for more than 5100 years.

Just the Arrogance

Note: I’m not saying we shouldn’t have an internationally agreed upon standard date for resetting the year, which for historical and financial reasons came to be fixed on January 1. I’m fine with that, just as we have adopted English as the common currency language even though there are a number languages that are far more refined and elegant, and far more rich in classical literature. What I’m pointing out is how the West superimposes its culture on the result of the world, by saying “the world…” when the only people observing it is them.

How would the West (and even more so Christians) take it if 1 billion Hindus (if they were to own most of the global media) said, “the world celebrates News Years Day”, where they mean Hindu New Years Day in April.

Day of the Holy Circumcision

This was brought to my attention by an American Christian apostate. It appears (and I confirmed it with online Biblical references) that the date of January 1 is not based on any astronomical, financial, nor harvest significance, but religious. January 1 (the eighth day counting from December 25th) is the “Feast of the Circumcision [of our Lord, Jesus Christ]”. So the next time someone celebrates New Years Eve, might just want to ask, did you celebrate the holy circumcision? Not to mention even putting the date of circumcision of Christ on the date is arbitrary. It was done after Christians ousted what it originally stood for: the celebration of Janus, the Roman god “of beginnings, gateways, and transitions”, after which January is named. Even the early Roman Calendar prior to Christianity had their new years day in mid-March.

Chinese New Year Day

[Update 2017] The only non-Christian New Years day that is recognized by global media is the Chinese New Years day. During their New Years time, almost every media announces that today the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Years Day and devote a few minutes of coverage of its fanfare, feasts, parades, fireworks, exchange of sweets, and other commercialization. This is not just because China has become a global power, but because they proudly retained their culture (i.e. they don’t think it is cool or hip to be Western by throwing away their culture and boot-lick Western culture by celebrating things like New Years Day, Valentines Day, and so on), to such an extent that business cannot afford to ignore capitalizing on it commercially. For example, every year in the USA, I’d see Chinese celebrate their Chinese New Year day with great festivity. Every Chinese restaurant and store would be brightly lit and decorated, and full crowd.

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