Indian customs question

Growing up in an area with a large Asian Indian population I thought I had heard of a lot customs and traditions. This is a new one for me. Not surprising given the size and diversity of cultures there.

A friend of mine is getting married soon. His fiance is Indian. They are having a ceremony here and then traveling to India to meet her family and have a traditional ceremony. He was told that the first time he visits her father it can’t be on a Tuesday. When he asked if they can arrive on Monday and leave on Tuesday he was told that’s not good either. Other friends then told him that they were given a hard time when traveling in the country on a Tuesday. My friend is a bit frustrated because he could not get a good reason from his fiance. As mentioned earlier this is the first time I have ever heard of this. Is it bullshit? Is it a local custom? Is it a known tradition?

If you Google “Tuesday inauspicious” that’ll get the ball rolling. I’m not Indian, so I can’t speak authoritatively, but I do work a lot in the Indian community, and auspicious and inauspicious times can be a big thing depending on the particular region and group. It comes up in weddings (my industry) all the time.

Did India traditionally even do 7-day weeks? How common is the “week”? Obviously over there it’s not named after the Norse God Tiw.

Traditional Hindu calendars have a seven-day week and a twelve-month year. Both the week and the month are (as in western calendars) based on the phases of the moon, whereas the year is solar. The Hindu calendar therefore faces the same problem as the western calendar; the solar year is actually longer than twelve lunar months. In the west, we solve this problem by adding a few days to each month, so that our months are no longer quite lunar. In the Hindu calendar, by contrast, they stick with lunar months but insert an additional month every two-and-a-half years or so to bring things back into phase.

Of course, for civic, official and business purposes the western calendar is now used in India, but traditional calendars would still be employed for religious purposes. As far as the seven-day week goes, though, that’s common to both calendars.

The days of the week are not, of course, named after Norse gods in Indian languages. They have different names in different Indian languages, and they are mostly named after celestial objects (as some of ours are). There is a day of the week in Hindu calendars which corresponds to Tuesday in the western calendar and, if you’re discussing a Hindu calendar in English, it is correct to call that day “Tuesday”, since that’s the English name for that day.

I thought this thread was going to be about import duties and duty-free limits. :smack:

I am Indian (from Bangalore), and while I’m not religious at all, Tuesdays (Mangalvar, the day owned by Mars) is traditionally considered inauspicious for most things. Weddings, buying new things, wearing new clothes - you name it, and my grandmother would advise against it.

This also includes haircuts :D: Yahoo | Mail, Weather, Search, Politics, News, Finance, Sports & Videos

But since India is such a large and diverse place, you’re always going to find someone who says the opposite. Tuesday in North India is actually a good day, and is when Hanuman is worshipped.

I’d wager a small amount of money that your friend’s in-laws are from South India, which explains their unwillingness to meet him on Tuesday. It isn’t bullshit, and it’s a local custom, but I would advise him to go along with it for the sake of family harmony. It’s what I used to do when my grandmother advised me against things.

I appreciate the answers. I passed along the link in the second post to my friend.

When translated for Indian newspapers, Garfield the cat always hates Tuesdays.

So it goes along with martes/mardi, and with Tyw being a war god as well, it all ties in when you go back enough.

Nor were the original seven planet/deity-derived weekday names, which were developed by Hellenistic astrologers in Greco-Roman Egypt beginning around the second century BCE. The weekday identifiers spread with Greek horoscopic astrology throughout areas of Greek and Roman cultural influence in Europe and Asia: the names assigned to the deities changed depending on the local pantheon, but they always had the same basic astrological associations with (in weekday order) the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn.

So yes, by the mid-first millennium CE or so the seven-day week was standard in Indian astrology and calendrics. Tuesday, being the day of Mars which is generally considered one of the maleficent or inauspicious planets, is more shunned in some Indian communities than others.

All of ours are. The weekday names have the same astronomical associations in all cultures that adopted the classical 7-day week before the modern period, because they all came from the same basic ancient astrological system.