Vikram Samvat New Year 2024

2 November 2024
Gujarat    Regional holiday

Vikram Samvat New Year is a regional public holiday in the western coastal Indian state of Gujrat. In Gujarat, this new year is observed on the day after Diwali, which falls on the new moon in the eighth Hindu month of Kartik.

Ever since the first caveman grunted that it was getting a bit chilly outside, every culture in human history has had a go at measuring the progression of time. For some it was more important than others - if you didnt need to administer large empires, you could probably get by with only a sense of the seasons passing to mark out time to help with agriculture.

If you lived at higher latitudes, you could rely on the celestial movement of the sun and stars to indicate the months and years. Closer to the equator, it was trickier as the sun doesnt seem to move as much, which is why the moon is more often used as the basis for a calendar in those cultures.

However, those who used the moon werent lacking any astronomical skills, they knew that the 28-day cycle of the moon was at odds with the approximate 365.25-day cycle of the sun. Some like the Islamic calendar is fine with the difference. For others, such as the Vikram Samvat calendar, the solution was to add an extra month every four years.

The Vikram Samvat is named after the legendary King Vikramaditya of Ujjain, who by tradition started this calendar back in 57BC, though this is no historical evidence of the calendar being used before the 9th century.