Today's Nepali Date

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The Vikram Samvat calendar, also known as the Bikram Sambat calendar, is the official calendar used in Nepal. This lunar calendar has been in use in the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding regions of Nepal for over a millennium.

Origin and History
The Vikram Samvat calendar is based on ancient Hindu tradition and was founded by the legendary king Vikramaditya of Ujjain. According to legend, the calendar commemorates King Vikramaditya’s coronation in 57 BCE. The calendar thus starts from 57 BCE, making Nepal Samvat year 2080 at the time of writing this article.

Over the centuries, the Vikram Samvat calendar became an integral part of Nepali culture and society. In 1903, the calendar officially replaced the Saka era as Nepal’s legal calendar under Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana. Since then, all official matters in Nepal, from legal documents to national holidays, have used the Vikram Samvat calendar.

Cultural Significance
The deep-rooted Vikram Samvat calendar is interwoven into Nepali culture and traditions. It holds socio-cultural significance and influences major festivals like Dashain, Tihar, Maghe Sankranti, and Chhath as well as auspicious ceremonies like marriage. The calendar thus brings together people of various ethnic groups across Nepal.

In addition, the Nepali New Year starts on the first day of Baishakh month per the Vikram Samvat calendar. People celebrate New Year’s Day with feasts, family gatherings, and various cultural programs.

Features and Structure
As a lunisolar Hindu calendar, each month of the Vikram Samvat calendar begins with the new moon. A year consists of 12 months of 29 or 30 days and includes Adhik Maas or intercalary month every three years.

Some key features include:

  • Solar and lunar synchronized months Intercalary month to align with the solar year
  • Correlation with Gregorian dates
  • Seven-day weeks with specific weekdays

Thus, the structurally sound Vikram Samvat serves as an accurate and culturally significant calendar system for all Nepalis. Its usage is seen in all aspects of Nepali society, thereby also promoting cultural unity in diversity across Nepal.