This year, the Hindu calendar has an extra month – called the lunisolar time reckoning system – an effort to correctly reflect the apparent movements of both the Moon and the Sun over long periods of time.
According to Hindu system of recording days and months, the calendar's solar strand is primarily based on the length of what is called a tropical year, that is, the time it takes the Earth to revolve around the Sun. Its primary lunar reference is the lunar month which is the time it takes the Moon to orbit Earth. This is different from the Western Gregorian calendar of 12 months in a year.
Since a tropical year is about 11 days longer than 12 lunar months, the calendar features two different correction mechanisms: leap months and leap days. In the western calendar, every four years, there is a leap year which is an extra day in the year on Feb 29.
In the Indian or Hindu calendar, there is an extra month every three years. The extra month is called (Adhik Maas or Purushottam Maas). Scientific reason is that we count days according to the moon but it becomes lesser comparatively to sunny days to cover the period. So this extra month comes in every 3 years.
This month started on 16th of May and will end on 13th of June. According to lunar days it becomes 10-11 days shorter to solar year. So to make balance in the years, every 3 years there is this extra month ( Adhik Maas ).
In this special month, Hindus take care of water though we have 70 % water on earth but the percentage of drinking water is less so in this month we save drinking water also .
This is very important month for Hindus. Many of them keep fast, sleep on earth, eat one time pure vegetarian food (and don not use onion and garlic), pray to their God and Goddess, chat mantras, perform havan pooja, etc. They tend to pray to Lord Shiva.
This month is specially for Lord Shiv pooja. On Shiv Lingam cow milk, bhaGod of destroyer so he may give his blessing to us in this extra month.
Pawan Upadhyay is ICDN national correspondent in India; he writes on diaspora issues