Just two days ago I was wished by some faculty and staff members a happy Tamil and Malayalam New Year. WHAT!? This is the new year!? What's going on here? Let me review the situation briefly.
January 14, Pongal = Tamil New Year. It's the only Hindu Holiday on the Solar Calendar. There were many big celebrations here and lots of very nice Kolam on the ground. Brilliant stuff. I'm told this holiday has a different name in North India, but still represents the new year. In fact, I think it sort of goes along with the Republic Day (January 26) which is the day of drafting India's constitution. I figure that in some way marks a new year. It wouldn't surprise me if the two are tied together somehow. But as it is, January 14 is the New Year holiday, and January 26 is NOT a new year holiday.
March 16-25 Some New Year's celebration which lasts ten days. I know that this is the new year because Yvonne and I were in Kerala during this time. The music started every morning at 5:00 AM and went all the way until 1:00 AM. It was the most annoying thing ever. It's not that they were playing music so much, but that it was so loud. We were on the 4th floor of a hotel which was near a temple. Through our closed windows the temple's music was louder than the television. I could even hear it in the bathroom. Give me a break! I was ready to go cut the wire to the speaker in the middle of the night! I may have also made it known how much I hate the way Indian women sing. It's god awful. High pitched squealing, basically. OH MY MANY MANY MANY GODS! If this is pleasing to you, will you please send me another god with good taste?
Pardon that interuption... Anyway, there can be no doubt, that was a new year celebration. I asked many people why the music was so loud and the response was, it is a big holiday, new year. Which still didn't answer the question of "WHY THE HELL IS THIS SO ANNOYING FOR 20 HOURS A DAY!?" But it did reinforce the idea that it was indeed a new year celebration...
April 14, Happy Tamil and Malayalam new year? Wait a minute, um what? Excuse me, did you say "new year?" I'm not quite sure I'm hearing this correctly. I don't see any sign of celebration, no new year's signs, nothing of the sort. But yet, we get an institutional holiday because it's the NEW YEAR? Someone help me out here! New year was a month ago, or wait, was it three months ago? I'm now more confused than ever.
My only good guess is that Hinduism is actually the NEWEST religion on the block and their calendar is in the year 27000 because they celebrate the new year ever 6-8 weeks.
I guess when there are only two seasons, a)hot and b)hell then you gotta find some time to celebrate something...
As it is, I'm terribly, terribly confused as to how this calendar works now.