Vikram Samvat – The Hindu New Year
The Hindu New Year falls on the first day after the new moon day in the first month of the lunar calendar, Chaitra. The New Year is celebrated widely in North India and East India and the rituals are observed in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkand, Himachal Pradesh, etc. Vikram Samvat Nav Varsh is celebrated as Bikram Sambat (Hindu New Year) in Nepal.
According to Bramha Purana, Lord Brahma created the universe on this day and it is considered the most auspicious day.
According to the legends, Vikram Samvat Nav Varsh was founded by the greatest emperor Vikramaditya.
The era of the warrior Vikram began from the year 57 BC. It was marked as the commencement of the New Year (Vikram Samvat) by the king, as a commemoration to celebrate his victory over the Shakas, where he conquered Ujjain. Those who believed and followed him continue to celebrate the New Year as Vikram Samvat, which is 57 years ahead of the current year calculated by Gregorian calendar.
How Vikram Samvat is Calculated?
Generally, lunar calendars are categorized based on the position of the Sun in different zodiac houses and position / phase of moon. The duration taken by earth to circle around the sun is calculated as one year. Similarly, it also includes the same duration taken by the Sun to return back to the same position with respect to the position of the stars. When compared with the tropical calendar, the sidereal calendar (Vikram Samvat) is 20 minutes longer.
Vikram Samvat Calendar is based on the waxing and waning of moon. Most of the states / communities in North India follow the calendar based on Amanta and Purnimanta system.
Amanta system calculated from the new moon day to next new moon day. The first day after new moon day is marked as the beginning of new month and twelve months forms a year. The first month begins from Chaitra, which falls between mid of March and mid of April.
Amanta system is calculated on the basis of the moon phase, which determines the auspicious and inauspicious days, festivals, etc.
Purnimanta system is calculated from the full moon day to next full moon day.