Calendars

Comparison of Egyptian and Tamil Calendars

V. Krishnakumar, N. M. Krishnakumar

We try to see the similarity between the Egyptian [1] and Tamil calendars. We have compared the Day 1 of Egyptian calendar with the Alexandian calendar in columns 2 and 3. Note that the Egyptian calendar started on July 20th to begin with, this is shown in the 4th column as Sothic calendar. However, as mentioned earlier, the beginning of the year moved one day backwards every 4 years. Fifth column contains the likely Tamil calendar day assuming 15th of every month in the Alexandrian calendar as the beginning of the respective Tamil month (*) to give a flavor of the overlap.

Order of Egyptian months

Egyptian months

Alexandrian Calendar

Sothic calendar

Tamil Calendar with assumption*

 Tamil months in order

1

1st Thoth

29th Aug

20th Jul

14th Aavani

5

2

1st Phaophi

28th Sept

19th Aug

13th Purattachi

6

3

1st Athyr

28th Oct

18th Sept

13th Aippaci

7

4

1st Khoiak

27th Nov

18th Oct

12th Karthikai

8

5

1st Tybi

27th Dec

17th Nov

12th Markali

9

6

1st Mechir

26th Jan

17th Dec

11th Tai

10

7

1st Phamenoth

25th Feb

16th Jan

10th Machi

11

8

1st Pharmuthi

27th Mar

15th Feb

12th Pankuni

12

9

1st Pachon

26th Apr

17th Mar

11th Chittirai

1

10

1st Payni

26th May

16th Apr

11th Vaikachi

2

11

1st Epiphi

25th Jun

16th May

10th Aani

3

12

1st Mesori

25th Jul

15th Jun

10th Aati

4

 

Supplementary day

24th Aug

15th Jul

The above table should be read as follows. The 1st day of Thoth is same as 29th August of Alexandrian calendar is same as 14th day of Tamil month Avani; however at the beginning of Egyptian calendar, 1st day of Thoth was mapping to 20th July in Alexandrian calendar, more than 4000 years ago and this is what is shown in Sothic calendar. Now that the New Year has moved over years, it has shifted to 29th August.

The names of some of the Egyptian months match very well with the Tamil months. What is more striking is their order also matches at times. Tybi and Mechir in the Egyptian calendar match Tai and Machi in the Tamil calendar very well; they also follow the same order though the calendars themselves are offset by a month. There are several other names that are quite close. When we try to get the best match for the names, the order of the months are not that well preserved, though a partial order can still be assigned. First we show the best matching of names in the following table.

Order of Egyptian Months

Egyptian months

Matching Tamil month names

Chronological position of Tamil months

1

Thoth

Pura-ttachi

6

2

Phaophi

3

Athyr

Aati

4

4

Khoiak

Kaarthikai

8

5

Tybi

Tai

10

6

Mechir

Machi

11

7

Phamenoth

8

Pharmuthi

Pankuni

12

9

Pachon

10

Payni

Aani

3

11

Epiphi

Aippaci

7

12

Mesori

Markali

9

We could match only nine of the names with order partly preserved. Further removal of Pura-ttachi and Aati gives us the cyclic order of months- 8-10-11-12-3-7-9. If we swap Aati and Aippaci, we get eight of the months into order- 6-7-8-10-11-12-3-4.

Final conclusion:

The similarity of names and the occasional similarity in their order suggests that the Tamil and Egyptian calendars have commonality beyond coincidence.

Bibliography 

[1] J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, A study in Magic and Religion, 3rd Edition, Macmillan and Co. London, 1914

 

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One Response to Calendars

  1. Narasimha says:

    This is interesting

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